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From Tokyo (Part 1): My treasure box

January 8, 2010

This is my grandmother. (1979)

On January 2nd, 2010, my grandmother went to sleep and her eyes were never open again next day.

My 10-hour flight has never felt so long before in my life.  It took forever to return to my home in Tokyo, but when I entered my grandmother’s room, everything was the same just as I remembered. Peaceful and warm. It seemed like only time had stopped. I saw some oranges and her favourite cookies on her table as if nothing had ever happened.

While I was spending a lot of time at home, I found lots of old photo albums in her storage that I’d never seen before.  It’s fascinating for me to see her not being “my grandmother” in those pictures. I’m amazed how well the photos have been kept all this time and how stunning they all are.  Her tiny storage room has suddenly become a big treasure box for me.

(My grandmother in the middle at a tea ceremony class.)

(She loved to travel to many historical places in Japan. Always enjoyed composing haiku whenever she felt inspired. )

(From left: my grandmother, her father, her mother and her sister)

(Her sister, left and my grandmother, right. My grandmother was the oldest of 4 sisters and 2 brothers.)

(She was a lady with many hobbies and talents. She enjoyed tea ceremony, japanese calligraphy, haiku and watercolour painting. I lived with my grandparents when I was very little and I always followed her everywhere she went. She was like a mother and a teacher to me in my life and I treasure all the memories of her.)


12 Comments leave one →
  1. Dane permalink
    January 9, 2010 2:36 am

    Thank you Natsumi. Very Beautiful and thank you for sharing. Thinking about you a lot.

  2. January 9, 2010 4:07 am

    She sounds like a remarkable woman. I am so sorry for your loss.

  3. January 9, 2010 4:31 am

    these are so beautiful! she looked like she lived a wonderful life. how beautiful is her bookshelf and brushes. i’m sorry for your loss. thank you for sharing these.

  4. January 9, 2010 4:46 am

    Such a lovely post Natsumi. I know there are no words, but sending you my thoughts. xox, n.

  5. January 9, 2010 6:51 am

    Beautiful. Your words are also very beautiful.

  6. Lena permalink
    January 9, 2010 7:23 pm

    these are beautiful Natsumi. . . .so sorry for your loss and thinking of you over here.

  7. January 10, 2010 1:27 am

    Thank you so much for your kind and warm words, everyone.
    Much much appreciated.
    I feel touched.


  8. January 10, 2010 2:32 am


    Thanks you for having the grace and generousity to share these intensely personal memories with us all. I am honoured.

    You have become such a wonderful writer and with a truly remarkable eye for beauty, and an awe-inspiring ability to locate wonderful moments in history and translate them for the readers of this blog. Your writing is funny and informative, and, as is the case here, sometimes achingly poignant and heartfelt.

    Just the other day my own mother was remarking on how much she enjoyed reading your work.

    I’m sure your grandmother was proud of what a wonderful woman you’ve grown up to be. I sure am proud to know you.

    With much love and admiration,


    • January 13, 2010 3:04 pm


      Thank you very much for your thoughtful words.
      I’m also proud and fortunate to know you.


  9. Dane and Veronikas Dad permalink
    January 14, 2010 6:38 pm

    Donna and I send our sincere condolences. Your inner beauty shines through, hurry home.

  10. January 19, 2010 6:49 pm

    natsumi, i’m so sorry to hear about your grandmother. she was really beautiful, and i’m sure she adored having such a wonderful and curious and amazing granddaughter. xoxo

  11. February 7, 2010 10:56 pm

    this is sad, i know… i´m sorry.
    it´s so beautiful to see how much you love her.
    you have touched me.

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