/ stories


It isn’t necessary to look very far to see how much we all are really alike.

When we first arrived in Koriyama we visited City Hall to register for our foreigner’s registration card.  While there we learned that in Koriyama, a city of just over 300,000 people there are only about 1900 foreigners living here.  We were also told most of the foreigners live in condos or apartments and we were very unusual in that we live in a house in a neighborhood amongst the people.  As we go about our day to day life shopping at the grocery story or at the malls we see mothers making their sons try on coats for the winter, selecting produce at the market, trying to decide on the best meat or fish at the best price.  Not unlike us. When I run early in the mornings I see people walking their dogs, couples out for morning walks or men tending their vegetable gardens. But the fact we are all very much alike was made evident to me by a coworker one Friday a couple of weeks ago.

On that day as we were talking he shared with me that his mother’s doctor needed to speak with him that evening.  His eyes gave away the worry and concern he was feeling.  The following Monday I asked how his mother was and if he would like to tell me what her doctor had said.  He hesitated briefly. As the worry returned to his eyes he began, “My mother is very old.  Next month she will be 87 and her heart is not so good.  The doctor told me that with winter coming and warm one day and cold and then warm again was not so good for her health.  He advised me to put her in the hospital.  I spoke with her about that during the weekend and she said no.  She explained she is comfortable in her home.  She has friends and neighbors that look in on her. And then she said, “In the hospital I will not be free.”  - Chas