2010 April – June

Phi, the day we stop playing, is the day we grow old…

Easter Sunday, April 4th 2010

Happy Easter Phi! I’m on my way to pick you up in Tokorozawa! Happy days Bella! We’ll be skipping, swirling, laughing & hugging in just over an hour! After some playful catch-up & banter, we’re going to Bonnie’s for a play. It should be a grand day as it’s Mae’s b’day and Cindy & Lee are over from Beijing, China for a week.IMG_2314

And so starts another massive missive to my darling daughter. These letters are for you Phi. They’re Dad’s way of keeping in touch. My thoughts start in my heart and flow down to my fingers. My journal is written in English, so my hope is that the gift of bilingualism has not vanished by the time you discover these letters. I guess even if your English becomes a little rusty, if nothing else, these pages upon pages will give you lots of practice reading in English. BTW, whenever you feel like reaching out, you can contact me at: moriceg@hotmail.com or gedmorice@gmail.com or through Facebook: gerardmorice

This morning I spoke with Nandee & Pa, your wonderful Aussie grandparents. They miss you so much Ophelia… so very much. Yesterday, Richie told me Nandee has been most unwell. I sensed she wasn’t too good as she has looked frail and not as “genki” on Skype recently. She had pneumonia earlier in the year and apparently the chronic fatigue coupled with the low white blood cell count has returned. With her immune system down and her fears for you and me in this Family Court fiasco, I also sense depression is creeping in. This morning she broke down and cried… I just so wish I could be in two places at once. But I cannot. Japan has been our home, your home and my home. Its people have been very kind to me. I am grateful for so many memorable experiences and as such, I must believe that the Family Court will side with truth.IMG_2319

Years ago, Nandee had chronic fatigue, and it really knocked her around. When she had it last it destroyed her happy, energetic lifestyle but she was determined to recover and she eventually did. She tried everything, including shocking her body by emerging herself in the freezing swimming pool of your grandparents’ home in the middle of winter. According to some physicians, evidently the physical shock enables her to feel relatively normal for a few hours before the lethargy and listlessness returns. Pa took her to see loads of doctors and specialists, but little they offered in advice brought about much positive change. Then she changed her diet to cut out all wheat, dairy and alcohol, and gradually she improved.

I worry for her Phi because despite her bravado, her energy and love, her genes are not renowned for their long lives. Her father died in his 30s, and my Gran (Nandee’s Mum) died in her early 60s. I was in grade 6 at the time of her death. I remember Gran as a warm-hearted & caring soul. She had photos of all her grandchildren around her home, but somehow I always felt rather special. In her eyes I was her first grandchild, so she had me believing she was very proud of me. She used to make special mention of how I was voted as one of the 3 captains at school. So that was my Gran, your great grandmother, but right now, your paternal grandmother’s health is waning. My hope is that Nandee will live many more years, certainly long enough for you and her to reestablish your beautiful relationship. You both share a very special bond, but I fear for the next 10 years your mother will do everything she can to prevent you from visiting Australia and seeing your grandparents, your aunts & uncles, and your cousins.

I don’t know if I should tell C about Mum… why wouldn’t you, I hear you ask. Yes, I need her support. Yes, I need her love. But truth is I’m scared of being hurt again. I’m scared of making that commitment of marriage that could lead to my heart being broken again. Once your mother left, despite the shock, I was strangely content and perfectly happy just to be your Dad. Scared of being hurt I didn’t even contemplate relationships for some time.

I was frightened with R too, but fortunately, as horrid as it sounds, I discovered that my love for R was conditional, conditional upon you being a member of our family. When the court proceedings started and it seemed obvious I would lose you, I realized I couldn’t love R and be a proper father to her 3 girls. I felt a terrible sense of guilt, a real villain. I still feel guilty about leading R along that path, but in reality, we’re both better for it. She was a wonderful woman, so supportive and caring.

If I didn’t break off with R I would never have met C. Often I think I love C too much. I find myself thinking I should hold back, but I keep loving and dreaming that everything will be bliss; that together we can be as happy in love and friendship as Nandee & Pa. Chinami has said some beautiful things to me, words that I want to believe will come true. A love that I pray will stand the test of time. She too is afraid of being hurt, and perhaps for that reason sometimes I feel she is holding herself back.


Dad and Allie

So Bella, have you been in love yet?

Go with care Phi… Love Dad… XoXo…


  • I don’t like natto much, you don’t like vegemite much
  • We used to ride down to the river in Numazu to run amongst the koinobori flags flying during May (Children’s Festival). As huge as the flags & kites were, they were shorter than the longest kite ever flown: 1034 metres


Tuesday, April 6th 2010

Well Phi-Fai-Fo-Fum, wasn’t Easter Sunday fun? I’ve got a few minutes to write my thoughts before I catch up with a bunch of colleagues for a hanami party in the Honmoku Park. This afternoon I raced home from school, grabbed a few goodies from the supermarket and still have a few minutes before I have to run out the door. Fancy coming along? It’s not too cold… yet. We could rug you up warm and take along the blanket Nandee made for you; you know the green one with pictures of Australian animals on it? Do you remember? It’s very cool, lovely and warm too.

Anyway, back to Easter Sunday. I met you at 11am in Tokorozawa and we headed straight for Jiyugaoka. Cin, Lee, Aisha & Ezra were there from China, and of course Bon, Phil, Kate and the birthday gal Mae. We met under the cherry blossoms and then walked back to Bon’s. All the adults marveled at your long legs as you raced ahead with Mae hot on your heels, and warned me you would be trouble with the boys in years to come! How are the lads treating you by the way? I wonder how old you are as you’re reading this… perhaps there’s a lovely lad sitting next to you this very moment lending his support; or a special lass… I truly don’t mind, as long as you’re happy Bella.IMG_2276

Back at Bon’s in Jiyugaoka we had a quick lunch and then raced outside for you to show off your skipping. You really are quite good. Everyone was impressed. Lee & I got out the long rope and we tried to teach Aisha to skip, but it proved a tad difficult. You on the other hand, smarty-pants jumped 101 times! Well done Phi… very proud of you.

You had a grand party with Mae and the gals. You all ate together, and you my darling daughter had perfect manners.

Before we knew it though, it was time to head back to Tokorozawa. Quite unexpectedly a lovely man on the train gave you a Disney bag with a Snitch cup in it… what a wonderful ambassador for Japan! It’s moments like these that make one truly appreciate Japan and its wonderful people.

See you soon gorgeous… love & licks, Dad… XoXo…


  • If I gave you $20, what percentage would you – really – save?  If I gave you $200,000, what percentage would you save?  Should there be a difference? Not that I’ve got a spare $200,000 floating around, but I’d be happy to fund an airfare to anywhere in the world, provided we could catch up… write to me soon Phi… I miss you so very much… XoXo.


Wednesday, April 14th 2010

G’day Bella! How’s trix? By now you will have experienced your first full week of Grade 2. I can hardly believe my baby is starting Grade 2… what an amazingly mature and well-adjusted child you have become. I’m very proud of you.

Despite your parents making it as difficult as possible for you, you seem a very balanced and happy child. You laugh, you dance, and you talk openly & honestly. You sing and help me tidy up, you even lend a hand in the kitchen, but sometimes I catch a glimpse of confusion in your manner and worry for you. I can’t put my finger on that hesitation that sometimes seems to grace your lips, your heart and your mind; perhaps it’s just shyness, a lack of confidence, or simply good manners. I so wish I could put your mind at ease, comfort your heart, and nurture your soul. I just wish we were afforded the time together, so you could talk, and me, well just listen to what’s truly in your heart. It’s important to be honest with oneself. Sometimes I feel you’re stoically hiding something, something you can’t talk about. I don’t want you to hide anything that might be tormenting you. I so wish there was an avenue for you to open up in a safe and unthreatening manner. Please let me know if I can help… it’s never too late Phi.

Today I thought of you often as my Grade 4 class was invited to watch the Grade 1 class presentation on the countries they come from. I’m pretty sure I wrote to you about similar presentations last year as it made quite an impact on me. I remember thinking – any one of these kids could have been you, your friend, your classmate. The children had each prepared notes and pictures to accompany their speech about their country. It would be so perfect for you to be a part of such a multicultural process, particularly as many of the students have one Japanese parent, the other parent international. Just like us! In so many varied and embracing ways Saint Maur International is the perfect match for a family such as ours. The students’ backgrounds are so diverse, so unique and yet because they’re so different, there’s no need for anyone to feel isolated because of their ethnic, cultural or religious background.

I hope someday you are able to celebrate your identity openly and proudly. I hope you will grow to love who you are and to be proud of your background.IMG_2264

I love you… and I’m very proud of my one and only Ophelia Hirakawa-Morice. That’s your name, Hirakawa-Morice, it’s a part of who you are and where you’re from. And as much pain as the Hirakawa name is putting me through, I could never change your name. It’s not right to change your name. It’s not fair nor just. Your name tells you who you belong to and where you call home. It’s precious and should never be stripped from you. So Ophelia Hirakawa-Morice, sleep well, sweet dreams, may you rest easy.

Love Dad… XoXo…


  • Life moves pretty quick, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you may miss it! (Uncle Hayd (Hadyn Hewitt) & Uncle Tim (Timothy Lawson))


Friday, April 22nd 2010

G’day buddy. Another chapter in our distant communication. Sometimes I wonder is this tragedy all true. Why can’t we behave like similar families all over the world. What’s stopping us from both loving you? What’s stopping us from both supporting you? What’s stopping us from communicating as caring parents? It is our duty of care. So, why is your Mother making us jump through all these hoops just to see each other? The Family Court states we’re allowed to see each other at least twice a month… but it rarely ever happens; your Mother always finds a means to prevent our meeting. Oh, Phi, we miss you… XoXo…IMG_2299

Anyway, back to you and me… fortunately Wednesday eventuated! We had such a lovely time during those few precious hours. I picked you up at 12.30pm and we walked to Kokukoen. You’d already eaten lunch so I ate a few of the peanut butter & vegemite sandwiches I had prepared for our picnic while you showed off your new skipping tricks. You’ve really improved, skipping with real rhythm, doing cross-overs, running as you skip and you’re not far off a successful double. Impressive kiddo, that’s my gal!MVI_2261

While you were concentrating on your skipping I took the opportunity to scatter Easter eggs everywhere, 20, maybe 30 of them. I was chuckling away because I had worded you up on an Easter egg hunt and you were dead keen, but you were so engrossed with your skipping you skipped over several eggs without knowing. Just like a movie scene, suddenly you spotted one, and then we spent a blissful 30 minutes searching here, there and everywhere. Most of our Easter eggs were hidden in clumps of grass, but several were placed in crevices around the trunks of trees and three of them had found their way up a perfect climbing tree. With an Easter egg goal you found some courage and ventured further up the tree than I thought you would… good for you brave Phi. You were clinging tightly to the trees limbs, but there was a sparkle in your eye at achieving something akin to conquering your height demons.


There were even Easter eggs up the tree!

Exhausted after all the intense running around, we enjoyed an egg or three and a cool drink. Next we headed for the Aircraft Museum. We walked around the exhibits and then drew Mickey on a plastic card that was shrunk in a toaster oven to make a key ring.

Before walking back to Tokorozawa Station, you opened not one but two cards from Nandee, and I read you a book titled: Gruffalo, which Pat had just forwarded.

Thanx for a great day kiddo! I miss you Gorgeous! More than yesterday, and more than the day before… XoXo… your Dad – Gerard Morice.


  • There’s no excuse for giving up on your goals… keep climbing trees, especially if there are Easter eggs in them!
  • Write down the advice of her/him who truly loves you… though you like it not at present


Sunday, April 25th 2010

Ophelia, Ophelia, Ophelia, well, wasn’t that fun! In years gone by I would normally read you three books each night around this time. Tonight I can’t do so, so instead, let’s pen you a letter.

Our first sleep-over in an eternity! Thank you for being who you are, my beautiful, beautiful daughter… You my wonderful Phi, had an absolute blast… so much so that you didn’t want to go back to your Mother’s… Can’t blame you, I didn’t want to go home alone either.

This afternoon I dropped you off at Ikebukuro (2.30pm). We spent the night with David, Yoko & Luka in Tsujiido. Their gorgeous apartment is only about 200 meters from the beach! We arrived there yesterday at about 4pm and raced straight to the beach. It was sunny and only about 15 degrees, but that didn’t stop us from tearing our shoes & sox off and dipping our feet in the cold surf; not really surf, but there were a few waves and a few die-hard surfies in the mix. In and out we raced, you getting deeper and deeper until a big wave crashed in and you got your undies wet too! We skipped along the sand trying to warm up and then we made three huge sand castles. The warm sand on our cold feet felt heavenly.

At about 5.30pm we grabbed some things for David’s and met him and his family, and Beth & Jo (two Australian sisters who teach with Dad at St. Maur). You were ever so polite and immediately won over everybody with your cheery and gentle nature, especially Jo.MVI_1483

Before dinner, the Dads and Beth took the kids to the playground over the road. You’re becoming more & more confident at playgrounds and the like… it’s wonderful to see. We ran around, playing on the swings and slides and coming back to Luka to check on him and his toddler play.

David made a yummy oven roasted salmon and udon dish; it was really quite tasty (I’m going to try the recipe too). After dinner you watched The Wild. You were ever so good. All weekend the adults commented on how polite you are… I’m ever so proud of you Phi. I read you an Enid Blyton story from her short stories, and then we bedded down in David & Yoko’s bed. I felt very awkward in their room, but they insisted and insisted, so eventually we relented and slept we did.

In the morning Dad was up at Sparrow’s Fart (that means very early, around 6am), so I went for a run with David for 45 minutes, and just as I had guessed, you were still asleep when we returned. It didn’t take long for you to wake after that, and then David & Dad put together a yummy-scrummy BIG breaky! We had a lovely fruit salad with yoghurt, toast with scrambled eggs and German sausages, a glass of milk, and cinnamon doughnuts!!! Mmm…

After our slap up breaky we went over to the BIG park. It’s enormous! After about a 15 minute walk we arrived at this amazing playground, where everything but the monorail cycles was free. The first thing we went on was the monorail. We both pedaled but soon caught up with the slow coaches in front of us. “Hurry up” you mischievously whispered as we came closer and closer, until we were very nearly nudging their rear. After our first ride we practiced riding a normal bicycle around a miniature little town complete with roads, stop signs, and even traffic lights. Next you jumped on a four-wheeled cycle (twice) and raced around. Then we played on two big playgrounds before our final ride, once again on the monorail cycle. A great morning of exercise for father and daughter!

Time was getting away from us, so we walked back to David’s to say our goodbyes. The others were readying themselves for a fancy Italian lunch in Kamakura, and you my darling were having such a wonderful time you were eager to join our friends. But we had to go, and despite a few tears that escaped your brave heart, again you were stoic. You cuddled into me and brought tears to my eyes, as there are now.

I love you so much, and despite not being able to read to you every night, play with you every weekend, help you with your home learning every day, in so many ways, having a perfect daughter like you makes me feel very lucky.

We jumped on the bus and had a lovely little lunch at a bakery called Little Mermaid by Tsujiido Station. We bought you and your Mother an extra hash brown to go with Beth’s ginger nut cookies, and some hazelnut cookies from Yoko Barrett. So, your afternoon tea with your Mother will be a yummy one this afternoon. Anyway Gorgeous, it’s time for Dad to jump off the train… see you soon, I hope… I miss your presence already. Your laughter & love inspire me to keep dreaming, dreaming that one day we’ll be able to see each other when we wish… LOVE always, forever & ever, Dad… XoXo.


  • Don’t you think it’ll be a great day when our schools have all the money they need and the air force has to hold a cake stall to buy another bomber?


Sunday, May 10th 2010

G’day Bella. How’s your weekend been? I’ve had a lovely weekend, albeit without you. Friday night we had a Quiz Night at school. It was great fun and your Dad’s team, “Universally Challenged” came in second, the second year running. Shame we didn’t go one better this year as one of the parents who works for Rosignol donated three gortex ski jackets as the winning prize. One of the jackets I had my eye on… it was the perfect fit too… must study my trivia for a better shot at the title next year!

Saturday I jumped on the slow train for Numazu and headed for Troy Shanks & Aya’s. As I arrived Troy was stocking the bbq. I walked by Ooka Park, the same park I used to take you and Riku to, pretty much every day after we moved to our new home in Numazu. Being at that park brought back some sweet memories. The grass is patchy (we didn’t mind), the paths well worn and the locals were friendly enough. We used to take the Frisbee and a plastic bag for Riku’s kaka of course. He would get so excited at the prospect of racing after his Frisbee he would sometimes have to plop & drop a kaka midcourse. You would run around with him then plod over to Dad and reach up for a hug. Then together, with you perched on my hip, we’d watch crazy Riku exhaust himself. Laugh we did. We would shout, “Great catch!” and sometimes he would even have an audience to cheer him on. What a dog hey!

From Ooka Park I continued my walk down memory lane to the big Seiyu supermarket; it’s where we also went shopping frequently (pretty much every day until we moved to the cul de sac near the Suruga Bank & S-Spot). The same huge green kids’ shopping carts that support the carry baskets were still being enjoyed by the toddlers, just as you had. You used to love marching up to one, swinging the door open and climbing in. Then you’d pull the door shut behind you, and peer out the window as if to encourage me to get a wriggle on… “C’mon Dad, push!”

It was a lovely evening back at Troy’s, so we sat outside until around 10pm. It was a bit surreal being back at Numazu with people we used to see together. You and I were a set; the pair that picnicked on Kanuki Yama, the team the sought Totoro, the couple who frequented S Spot & Seiyu, always so happy, always together… you on the back of the bicycle with your helmet on, or equally comfortable in the booster seat in the back of the big orange car (Honda HRV actually – it wasn’t really that big, but as “The Wiggles” had a big red car, we thought we better have a big orange car!) It was a nice bbq with Aya & Troy, you would have loved nibbling on the spare ribs… thanx Troy & Aya!


With Troy & Geoff

Sunday morning, Geoff & Fei, Helen & Sophie came down for a play and lunch. Of course both Helen & Sophie asked about your presence. It was lovely to see them. Sophie has just started grade one at Katoh. At 3pm I jumped on the slow train bound for Tokyo / Yokohama. At the moment I’m stuck in Tsujido with all the drunk hikers returning after their hikes. There’s been some sort of accident, so the train has been stationary for 40 minutes! I guess that kind of explains why the hikers are so drunk… there’s a vending machine opposite (on the platform) and they’re indulging in as many cans of beer as possible… funny, they all have such lively, cheeky red faces; I’m not sure if the rouge is from intoxication or their sunny day hiking???

This week it’s Golden Week for most, but as the international schools skip such public holidays, it’s back to work for Dad. C has taken the opportunity to venture to the city of her dreams, Paris. She lived, studied and worked there for 5 years and I feel a good part of her heart is still there. I’ve missed her terribly, but she’ll be back tomorrow. I can’t wait to see her!

Last weekend we had a special weekend together. It kind of began Thursday, as Thursday was a public holiday in Japan and St. Maur held their Food Fair. It’s an awesome day of delectable food from all the corners of the world, and a wicked raffle. And guess who won the Grand Prize??? Your Dad!!! I haven’t told you yet, but we won a night’s accommodation at the Sheraton out by Disneyland in the Treasures Room, 8 tickets to Disneyland or Disney Sea, a Rosignol bag and a digital camera! Pretty cool hey! Can you believe our luck? I spoke with Uncle Rich and he seems pretty keen to share in our luck by venturing to Japan to join us at Disneyland or Disney Sea; imagine that! Wouldn’t it be grand to show your cousins around Disneyland Bella!? Oh, how I miss you…

Anyway, the digital camera we won in the raffle I gave to C as she didn’t have a camera and was leaving for France on the Monday. C came out for the Food Fair and enjoyed the assorted food so much that that evening she hardly touched the fritatta I prepared for dinner. Friday was a normal workday, but by Saturday we had met up again. This time we met after her French translation class in Odaiba.

She’s very good to me. She commutes from Chiba just about every weekend. It’s a long, long trip, and more often than not she takes the 10.12pm bus from #303 every Sunday night into Yokohama Station. She arrives home well after midnight. For dinner I cooked up a storm, entrée, main and even dessert. Sunday we jumped on the train and went down to Enoshima. We dined at the same Italian restaurant you and I had eaten at on one of our trips to David’s. Do you remember? I’d brought along a colouring book with stickers, and some of the stickers you plastered onto Dad’s cheeks for a photo. It was a beautiful day and we were fortunate enough to dine on the terrace… alfresco. Thereafter we walked out to Enoshima Island. It was quite a walk, but a gorgeous afternoon and splendid views. At the top we lay down on the grass and Dad placed his head on C’s belly and spent a delightful 20 minutes dozing.

I miss her, almost as much as I miss you… XoXo… sweet dreams Possum!


  • If someone could tell you the exact day and time that you are going to die, would you want them to tell you?
  • Do you still hold your breath when you go through tunnels?


Sunday, May 16th 2010

Bonjour Bella! How’s trix? I’ve just dropped you off at Ikebukuro Station. Nori Baba came to meet you. It was truly great to see her. We both gave each other a genuine smile… I felt something very positive when I looked into your maternal grandmother’s eyes; it was as if she understood my pain. It must have been close to two years since I’ve seen her, and it was perfect timing because in the last month or so I seem to be somewhat coming to terms with my life. In fact I wrote a letter to your Mother this morning requesting some time with you this summer so as we can visit Disney Sea & IMG_2317Disneyland, stay over at the Sheraton, etc. I told your mother that I hold no grudges, and told her I’m fit & healthy, enjoying my running, and that recently I’m into yoga. It’s true, I did a few sessions with Nandee last July and really enjoyed it. Aunty Den sent me a DVD, and I’m reading a book titled Yoga for the West at the moment. I’m also reading another book titled Eat, Pray, Love. It’s had quite an impact on me. It’s all about presuming good intentions, harvesting good thoughts and not worrying about what you cannot change. Baba gave me a photo of you in a kimono she had made. You’re just adorable; I’m using it as my very special bookmark… it’s taken over from the one C gave me! C gave me a postcard of her days as a cheerleader… funny… she’s far more attractive now at 38 years of age than she was at university; she’ll be 39 next month, and your dinosaur Dad will be 42 this month!!!

Anyway Bella, I picked you up at 5pm, after your soccer club and we trained it to Motomachi and rode the bicycle back to #303. On the way back we picked up a few groceries at the busy, busy OK supermarket, and then together we cooked up a storm. You boiled some asparagus and tomatoes, and I poached some eggs and placed them over the asparagus, sprinkled over some fresh parmesan cheese and dribbled some homemade mustard sauce over the lot. Then I made some hotdogs and we settled down to watch The Lion King. Another of our favourites that we never tire of watching, but I think Spirit is still your number 01! Now, as you’re reading our journal, can you recall these events? Do you still remember Spirit and Lion King and Black Beauty? What about Play School & Humphrey? Do you remember your Dad…

Just before bed I read you 2 Allen Say stories. He was born here in Yokohama and writes some beautiful cultural narratives of hardship, homesickness & success. We read My Grandfather’s Journey, and the story of an Asian child who is adopted into a Caucasian family, titled Mae. The pictures are amazing, so emotive and powerful, the plot and setting so perfect for us… you & me, one family…

For breakfast we cooked pancakes together; you created a bunny and a teddy bear, then smothered ‘em both in so much maple syrup that you couldn’t eat them, they were just too sickly sweet. We had strawberries, kiwi fruit and banana as our yummy toppings. After our showers, Dad did 250 push ups as happy as a pig in mud and you, you little jockey, jumped on my back for heaps of them… when you’re around I feel as strong as Hercules! We built a farm out of duplo lego and Jimmy and his family visited the farm to ride on the horses, giraffes, elephants and even feed the tigers.

Later we jumped on the bicycle and rode into Minato Mirai, stopping off at the JICA building. We spent 30 minutes looking over the displays based around Japanese immigration. Feeling a little peckish we ventured to the Immigration Museum cafeteria for a bite to eat for lunch. After a bit of a run around, it was basically time to ride back to Motomachi for the trip back to Ikebukuro.

Thanx for a great weekend Bella… gros bisous, Dad… XoXo…


  • You are closer than you were yesterday… especially as you’re reading this… I love you…


Friday, May 21st 2010

G’day gorgeous. Ten days until Dad’s birthday. As a present pray that your Mother will see reason and begin to communicate with me. She can and will with your support. She needs your help now and in years to come. Your Mother is very fragile. Her fragility makes her insecure, and though she knows it not at the time, she sees darkness where there is not. Phi, help her see light and truth…

Today was our end of year concert in the auditorium at Saint Maur. Kind of early hey? I’m not too sure why they hold it so early, seeing as there’s another three full weeks of school to come. In any case, it was another cracker performance, and again as I watched on proudly, I couldn’t help but think of you constantly. The children’s performances were outstanding from an audience point of view. The performances were so varied, so diverse, so mixed & multicultural. There were French songs, a song from Guana and all the songs had a multicultural aspect to them. Of course the students were from all around the world, and as I peered at the sea of faces in the audience, it was also characterised by its diversity. We as one audience shared smiles, delighting in the achievements of the students. The finale captured everyone’s attention as the Grade 4 & 5 choir took to the stage to sing three songs celebrating difference.

Tomorrow I hope to see you at your Sportsday… but I’m not so sure… I’ve called your Mother’s phone everyday this week, but there’s been no answer… I think I’ll come along anyway, even if there’s just a slight chance of seeing you… some chance is better than none.

Thinking of you always… good night & sweet dreams, Dad… XoXo.


  • The great revolution of the future will be natures revolt against man (unknown)


Saturday, May 22nd 2010

G’day Phi. How’s my dancer, my artist, my singer, my writer, my daughter?

This morning you picked up the phone and excitedly told me that today was to be your Sportsday. I asked you if it was okay for me to come. You said, “Yes!” and then told Mum Daddy’s coming. It felt great, so I excitedly packed the peanut butter and some assorted goodies you just love, such as melon, strawberries and a conyac jelly or three. Then with a skip in my heel, I readied myself for the trip out to Akitsu.

It was quite a warm day and a good crowd had assembled by the time I arrived. You came a creditable 3rd in your running race, but most pleasing of all you seemed to be enjoying yourself. Actually, compared to the other strained faces in your race, you seemed to have a bit left in reserve. Perhaps next year you’ll come second, or fourth; it doesn’t matter. Just give your best and enjoy yourself.IMG_2324

A little later on you had a sort of sack race, only the sack had no bottom and you raced relay style with a partner. At 11.30am it was time for lunch. Your Mother went to collect you, and then you noticed me standing out of the way beside the big tree and toilet block in the corner (where I always stand). I guess your Dad stands out a bit… sorry pud (pud as in pudding)! You raced up to me and leapt at me. We had a great hug. Oh, Phi, holding you is like being in heaven. I felt ever so proud and lucky to be the father of a child such as you. You suggested that I join you for lunch, but I sensed I might spoil the harmony that your Mother and Kyuu Chan are trying to build for themselves; besides you were the only member to greet me. I did try and say hello to your Mother… So, anyway, we had a short chat and then I left for Yokohama, a tear or two escaping on my way back… I miss you so much!

Love Dad… XoXo…


  • Be bold & courageous Phi… Don’t be afraid to take a big step if one is indicated. You can’t jump a chasm in two small jumps (D. L. George)
  • Dad has the best job in the world, not to mention the best daughter! To teach is to touch a soul forever (unknown)


Saturday, May 29th 2010

How’s my gorgeous geisha? I’ve just dropped you off in Tokorozawa. Your maternal grandfather, Jiji met us at the station. It was good to see him. We shook each other’s hand nice and firm, looked at each other, talked golf and running for a few minutes. It was genuinely nice to see him. I haven’t seen him for three, maybe even four years, maybe even longer. As I write to you, I feel quite emotional now because I believe he felt something too. He seemed worried that I’ve lost so much weight, but I told him it was mainly from the running. It’s true I did lose 8 kilograms almost immediately after your Mother and I separated, and I haven’t been able to put much back on. But that’s okay. I feel pretty healthy and the yearly Japanese health check always comes out super positive. I guess when your Jiji knew me I was always about 80 kg, but for about 6 years now I’ve hovered around the 72 -75 kg mark.

Anyway this morning I contacted the Komaki family. I taught alongside Mrs. Komaki at Sayamagaoka high school, tutored both her children and even went to Kyushu with them to stay with Mr. Komaki’s mother way back in the summer of 1992. I haven’t contacted them since the divorce, so it was a big surprise for them to hear from me. They opened their home to us, fed us lunch, and Masako (Mrs. Komaki’s daughter) dropped in to see us. After lunch we went to Masako’s apartment and you played with Mariko (10) and Saku (5), cooked cookies and played, played, played…

I had a great chat with Mr. & Mrs. Komaki and now only wish I had contacted them earlier. They even telephoned their son (Tasuku) who spent a year in Australia and I had a chat with him. In the near future I’ll contact Mrs. Kano, Mrs. Sakai & Mrs. Sakanaka. They are all in their 60s now, but when I first arrived in Japan at the age of 22, they were like mothers to me. I’ll never forget their kindness and hospitality.

Anyway Princess, I hope you enjoy your weekend. Love Dad… XoXo…


  • Joy is found with simple awareness.  What does your joy look like today?


Saturday, June 5th 2010

Bonjour Mademoiselle Ophelia Hirakawa-Morice,

Well, that was a quick visit. I just met you at 7pm at Tokorozawa Station, raced down to a Thai restaurant where you had stir fried noodles and some fried rice. It was a warm evening and you were full of news from school… I just wished we had longer to talk… shoganai I guess. You were happy, so that’s the main thing.

I’m sorry Bella… I’m all choked up. I miss you more & more. Being separated from you never gets any easier. Every time I leave you it feels like a part of my heart is torn from me. What can I do besides my push-ups, chin-ups and sit-ups? I run to exhaustion with you in mind but it never brings me any closer to you. I stay civil and polite in the Family Court even though my mind is screaming and my heart is burning at the injustice of it all. What can I do? Should I give up & return to Australia… without you?

Bisous, Dad… XoXo…


  • Your opinion of YOU is what’s important
  • A dirty child is a happy child


Sunday, June 27th 2010IMG_2387

Hi Phi. I’m so sorry it’s been so long since my last missive. True, I haven’t written, but every day I have thought about you. I could have written, but I’m afraid I might have penned thoughts about your Mother that later I might have regretted. My family & friends find her actions incomprehensible. I know she loves you, but what she is doing is senseless. She’s destroying hopes, dreams, lives… There, enough said. I’m sorry… I’ll say no more… only, perhaps it was worth waiting those long torturous weeks to see you, especially after what you said to me last night.

In any case, what a lovely weekend. I’ve just dropped you off at Ikebukuro at 4.30pm after spending much of the day at Zoorasia. This morning we took the bicycle to the station, jumped on a train and then a bus out to the zoo. It’s a great zoo, and to cap things off you found a playmate. At the playground a grade 1 student from Saint Maur came running up to your Dad joyfully shouting “Mr. Morice, Mr. Morice!” So I introduced you to Nina from Germany and within 30 seconds the two of you had raced off and started swinging like monkeys, sliding like penguins and chatting like baboons. Before long another lass, this time from Brazil had joined you and for 30 glorious minutes you were in English and loving it. But as is often the case, we had to make our ren de vous with your Mother; again you accepted the halt to your play with maturity beyond your age… you’re amazing Ophelia!!!IMG_2399

Last night we took a cruise aboard the Royal Wing in Yokohama Bay. The cruise lasted almost two hours, so we grabbed a bento and ate on the sundeck as the sunset. It was beautiful watching the lights of the city come to life. As the boat passed beneath the Bay Bridge the wind picked up and you became a little cold, so you climbed onto my lap and snuggled up for the rest of the cruise. It was a magic time for me. I sang you all your old favorite nursery rhymes and a few of Dad’s classics too. On the way back, you said three magic words to me… I LOVE YOU… Ophelia, thank you. Thank you for the joy you have brought me as your Dad. Thank you for being you, my beautiful, beautiful daughter. I will never ever forget those words and where we were when you said them. Though you have told me many times before, last night was simply the most perfect moment possible to tell me. It’s just as well you were sitting on my knee and looking out to sea as you brought tears to your Dad’s eyes. Thank you Ophelia, you truly make me feel special and the luckiest Dad in the world.IMG_2411

From memory, the last time you told me those magic words was at #705 in October 2008. Kano, Saya & Risa were sleeping and I had laid down next to you to sing you songs just like yesteryear in Numazu… I’ll never forget that moment either, THANK YOU Phi!

Love Dad… XoXo…


  • The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention. A loving silence often has far more power to heal and to connect than the most well-intentioned words (Rachel Naomi Remen) Thank you Phi for listening to your Dad’s heart… XoXo…


    Phi, her gorilla & another gorilla!

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