Monday, May 18, 2009

Farewell party

Last night, Tetsu and I went to a Farewell party for our good friends Kohei and Marlene Yamada. Gosh, we've known them for over 15 years! When I first arrived in the nearby city someone asked me if I knew Marlene.

"She's American just like you and is married to a Japanese man." Nope. Hadn't met her yet.

A month or so later someone else asks,

"Do you know Marlene? Her kids are about the same age as yours." Nope. Our paths haven't crossed.

And then months later,

"Do you know Marlene? Her husband does judo just like yours." Not yet.

When I finally met Marlene I felt like I knew all about her already!

After getting to know the Yamadas the two husbands started a judo club for children and every Thursday I'd take Takumi and Leiya to judo and then go to Marlene's to chat for a couple hours. All of our children and the two daddies would do judo and Marlene and I would cook dinner together and after judo we'd all eat together and chat until very late at night. I really loved those Thursday nights! It was nice to just talk in English and to compare stories and be assured that what I thought was strange about Japanese life didn't mean I was weird. Marelene more often than not felt the same way! In the past 15 years our two families have celebrated Thanksgiving together (American style!) and consulted each other about raising our families in our unique bicultural atmosphere.

But this month Kohei is heading off for Hong Kong with a change of jobs and when Marlene finishes up her commitments she will be joining him, so an informal farewell party was planned with take out pizza, pot luck dishes, cookies and cakes. It was a great international party with people from Poland and France and America and Japan. Three of the American kids put on an impromptu skit which floored Tetsu to think the kids could be so imaginative and uninhibited in front of all the adults.

Later in the evening we played ping pong and had a great time. No stuffy speeches and ceremony, just old friends and new friends and a lot of laughter.

Well, Marlene isn't planning to leave for a few months (another tanshinfunin wife in the making!) so I'll be seeing her off and on for awhile longer.


Rae Ann said...

It's so wonderful that you found a life long friendship with the Yamada's. I'm sure you will be sorry to see Marlene go, but who knows when your paths will cross again.
Rae Ann

Connie W said...

Sounds like a wonderful shared friendship among your families and it's sad to have to see them move, I'm sure. The farewell party photos look like lots of fun was shared.

Mrs. Goodneedle said...

That's the BEST kind of party, relaxed and fun for everyone. I know you'll miss your friends when they move, you've enriched each other's lives for a long time. Best wishes.