Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Lani Hattori, together with her children, has been living in Japan for almost nine years. Though once wary of the Japanese, given all the negating impressions, she found at last her new home. Admittedly, Lani said her previous life choices made her go and work in Japan, thinking about her two children back then. That is why on February 4, 1999, she left the country and ventured on what could have been her destiny.
Apprehensions have been present at first, yet she find those unimportant since she’s doing it all for her family. And in the end, what she thought as a twist of fate turned as a life meant to be lived. Adjustments in terms of food and culture moreover language had kept herself at bay yet after awhile, she learned them all gradually. The people and their culture made her appreciate the kind and character the Japanese had in them. “At first ...I thought the Japanese are bad or ill-mannered yet in time, I proved how generous, caring, loving and showy they could be. They even said that the Japanese are once like us 50 years ago…very family-oriented, if there are changes those could have been due to time and upbringing.”
Through the years, Lani adapted the Japanese way of living. Being married to Japanese herself, she easily adapted with the changes. She gladly recounts how certain practices differ with that of the Philippines. For instance, during Valentine’s Day where we commonly know of guys being the ones presenting gifts to women, in Japan, it’s the other way around. It could have been weird for us but Lani was quick to advise that come March, there’s the so called “white day”, where the men finally give presents to women.
Another memorable experience she had was learning the language itself. She mentioned how fun and interesting it could be at times especially when it comes to uttering and learning both the good and bad words. About the food, Lani admits not liking them raw and uncooked; that her constant exposure somehow managed to change the idea and finally ending up liking it. Being a mother to four wonderful kids, the Japanese way of eating healthy has been part of their system ever since. How her kids love eating veggies and as to how the Japanese value said consciousness.
For now, Lani feels that her future stays with Japan. She is presently living there with her biological children and is a hands-on Mom. As if her family was not enough, she plans to adopt two more kids from the Philippines as her way of helping out.
And for those who wanted to try their fate some place else, Lani has these words to say, “I encourage them actually to come here and work. Surely, mas masarap sa sariling bansa but when given the chance to earn and live comfortably, once you see yourself achieving something out of hard work, you’ll easily adapt.”
She surely misses a lot of things…from the good old balut, bagoong, dinuguan and halo- halo to the buzz of the ever reliable jeepney and endless traffic in Manila. These are some of the reasons why Lani visits the Philippines once a year to re unite with friends and relatives. Yet for this mother and daughter, Japan had been her past as witnessed by those thriving years… her present together with her loving kids… and also her future where her life fittingly ends.