Monday, October 12, 2009

Day Thirty-five - Now would be a good time to write

If you have been following my blog and wish to comment, now would be a good time to do so. After this weekend I am emotionally exhausted. On my way home yesterday, one of my MK friends called and we talked for an hour while I was heading home. It definitely made the ride home go faster but she shed some light on a few things.

First thing she said that I thought was interesting was that we don't share the same culture with our children. When I asked her to clarify, she said she was observing a friend of hers who was relating to her children. The woman was born and raised in the USA, as were her children. Her observation reminded her that she never shared the same culture as her parents. Her parents were raised in the states and later moved to Japan with their profession. She reminded me that my parents also were raised in the states and so were my kids. Thus a unique phenomena, being a third culture person, not having the same culture with your parents or your children. This is quite unique.

She also commented that in order for us to feel shame we must be isolated. I thought that was an interesting observation because that was exactly how I felt this weekend. Isolated and alone and yes a lot of shame. Yes, I chose to isolate myself from others, but this is more insidious than that. Isolation for manipulation. The creep I dated in college did that very well.

One thing I realized this weekend was the difference of writing a blog and writing a book. When you are writing a book you are actually just writing for yourself, unless you share it with another person. Until you share it with another, it is still private and you can write things that you know no one else is reading. It almost gives you more license and freedom because you aren't experiencing the emotions that you do when you are writing for the world to see.

When you are writing a blog, you know that when you post it, people are reading it. As a result, for me it makes me a little more tenuous in my writing and careful about what I share.

On the other hand, when you are writing a book you can stop at anytime and no one would know. So, when the going gets tough, you can quit. Where as, at least for me, when I started this blog, I knew I couldn't quit because once I started this ball rolling, I didn't think it would be fair for my readers for me to quit. It also gives me incentive to continue. That's why it would be good if you wish to comment now. That gives me encouragement to continue and encouragement is what I need.

I'm moving into the end of October, ASIJ's response and my communications with Jack. If you want to read more, let me know.

You can friend me on facebook, write me an email at or you can comment on my posts. Let me know.


  1. I for one would like to say thank you for writing this blog, although I can understand how emotionally draining it must be. I will continue to read and comment as long as you want to write.

    Like I said earlier, my story is different than yours. I ended up pregnant at 14, by my boyfriend ~ so it was something that I did willingly, though to be sure, didn't think it through all the way. Wanting to be loved, wanting to be somebody and not having much self esteem brought me to a place where when he was born I was not able to have any say as to what happened in all of our lives. He was given up for adoption moments after birth and at the end of the school year my boyfriend was sent to the States to live with his brother ~ "so this wouldn't happen again" ~ as if the experience was positive enough that I would want to do it again!

    I felt isolated, alone and certainly different than everyone else at school. No one wanted to talk about it ~ though to be fair, I'm sure my friends didn't really know what to say. It sure wasn't a "hot" topic ~ I'd embarrassed my folks who were missionaries as well and my dad being a minister in the church. My mother kept telling me "why did you do this to me?!!!"
    And unlike your story, EVERYONE knew what had happened. Please understand that I am not trying to equate my story with yours, my doesn't even come close to what you have and still endure.....

    Where it all seems the same to me, is the feelings we both vulnerable we were, how involved our parents were with other things other than us and how alone we both felt.

    I had to chuckle when in one of your posts you wrote about wanting to be liked by the "cool" kids.....that is always how I thought of you ~ but I never seemed to fit in. Not that it matters now, for heavens sake, but just that had we somehow been able to get past the ASIJ/CA thing or whatever, I do believe we could have found a lot of comfort in being friends.

    Your MK friend is real asute about us being raised so different from our parents and children. I made a conscience choice to raise my daughters in the same town/school from kindergarten on, because of my experience of moving around the States and then overseas. I am SO very thankful that they both have best friends that they have known since kindergarten. I couldn't even tell you the name of one of my classmates from kindergarten. One of my daughters has lived in New Zealand and is engaged to a man from there. I do believe that she will become "global" and I am happy about that. My other daughter though, just bought her first house in the town she was born in and she plans on living their until she dies....I worry about her "non-globalness", but am equally as happy for her strong feelings of home ~ which I don't have.

    Life doesn't come with an instruction manual ~ I have certainly looked for one!!! I admire your strength and courage to have done all that you did and continue to do, but also know that whatever you do, do for you....

  2. Janet, since you're asking for comments, I will try to express what I've been feeling while I've been reading your blog. I'm class of '69, and although I am not an MK, I was at ASIJ from Kindergarden through graduation. (Nursery school too, since they amalgamated!).

    I remember Mr. J, and although I was not in JLAP, I do remember disliking him because he had so blatantly his favorites. I was not surprised when I started hearing rumours about him! First and foremost, I feel profound respect and admiration for your strength to get through what you did, and to make it public as well! As a father and grandfather of girls, exposing this is something near to my heart!

    Although I said I was not surprised to hear about Mr. J, this is from the perspective of an adult. When I was growing up in Tokyo, I was enjoying myself tremendously! I had nothing but the greatest respect for ASIJ, and had often told my wife that I wish we lived in Tokyo so that I could have put my kids in that school. Having said that, I am appalled and disgusted that the administration did NOTHING despite being warned as early as 1977 of his activities.

    Over the years since I left Japan, I have had discussions with my parents about life there, and although I was not aware of it, the 'normal' events were taking place around me - adultry, divorce, etc. I have heard former classmates relate stories about the rides on the trains and the groping, etc. As a kid, though, I though I lived in Pleasantville, where none of these things happened. So, looking back, it is not only Mr. J's actions that disgust and anger me, but even more the administrations. Of course, we are all hearing now about how various churches (with the Catholics leading the way, but certainly not the onl denomination) went out of their way to protect the paedophiles in their ranks. So it should not have shocked me that ASIJ did this too ... except that I knew these people. I knew the headmaster, I knew the teachers there, etc. I feel like a wing of my family has let us all down!

    While I didn't know you from those days, I certainly knew Michelle and your sister, and you are all amazing!

    By the way, the comment about third culture kids being different from both their parents and their children struck home! My parents were refugees who grew up in China, I grew up in Japan, and my kids are growing up in Canada!

    Ze'ev - '69

  3. Dear Janet

    I love reading your blog, it has brought back a lot of memories and they are not all good. I admire your courage....keep writing.

  4. Janet,

    Thanks for your courage. As one of your "brothers", I feel your pain. I am angry beyond words. And I am humbled by your strength. And, I am truly encouraged to know that now, at least, there are those who can begin the healing process, knowing they are not alone, as you are not.


  5. Dear Janet,

    I was talking with David, my husband and my overwhelming feeling is so many of us knew, and in some ways we are all responsible for the abuse going on as long as it did.
    It really is horrifying how manipulative "Mr. J" was and what a hold he had on the Middle School. Also, being a minister and being married to a minister, I am and hope have always been conscious of my own children's needs instead of having the notion that somehow "God's going to excuse my absence from their lives". However, I am amazed at the price we pay for prioritizing the well being of our children.
    Thanks for writing, we all need to hear these stories. We were all hurt by him.

    I love you! Jean