2011 October – December

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I love you… XoXo…

Friday, October 7th 2011

G’day Bella. Another letter to you, and another moment contemplating “what if?” Another moment of silence, eyes closed, heart open, thinking of you. Another letter, another FAST FACT, another WICKED QUESTION, another DO YOU REMEMBER, but few such entries posted, just “saved” for a rainy day. There are letters I post via snail mail (Japan Post), but do they arrive in the intended hands? Have you been receiving them? Do you collect them, store them some place special, reread, and count them from time to time? I’m not sure if you’re receiving the letters I have posted in the mail. There’s no reply, no acknowledgment from your Mother, no hint that they’re reaching your precious birthday hands.

So instead, I write alone. I write in hope, I write with you in mind. It’s my own personal therapy. One day I’ll post all of these letters on a blog, hardly ideal I know, because then they’ll be in the public eye… but I’m not sure I have an alternate option Phi. What would you do if you were in my situation? What if you were denied any form of communication with your only child? Am I right, or tragically wrong? Should I just walk away, fade into the distance, or should I persevere to show you how much I care about you? Should I continue to write, hoping you’ll understand? Should I continue to log these letters hoping they form the bridge to us rebuilding our relationship? And the next question I guess is: how do I reach out to my Phi, without risking the wrath and anger of your Mother? How do I smooth her apprehension, her misconceptions, her misunderstanding?

I guess I won’t mind friends and family reading our letters, but the thought of strangers reading about the precious moments we’ve shared, presents a few questions. It leaves an unavoidable unpleasant taste in my mouth, but my problem is circuitous; it brings me back to how can I communicate with you. I know your Mother will probably take these letters the wrong way, even feel threatened by them. I imagine she will expend a good deal of negative energy reacting. Based on past experience, my guess is, she will attempt to block the site that houses these letters the first chance she gets. But I also know, one day, you’ll find the site… I hope. And that’s a chance I must take.

I feel an intolerable empathy for you Phi, knowing you’ll feel exposed, as it is, to the public gaze like this… but I’m also hopeful that my letters are so personal, they’ll bore the pants off anyone who does not know our pain.

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With Kita San in Numz

As it is Phi, we must soldier on, hugging our pain to ourselves… Ganbaro ne!

I love you Ophelia Hirakawa-Morice …and now, Ophelia Ishijima, as your Mother now refers to you.

Dad… XoXo… Hope you like the quote from Gilda below – says a lot about our situation…

WICKED WISDOM

“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.” – Gilda Radner

 

Thursday, October 13th 2011

Bella, Bella! How are you? You must have had a busy week preparing for your undokai this Saturday. Dad’s going to take a day off school & coaching. I have x-country finals with my students on the same day. I’d rather not miss the finals, because our team stands a great chance. But I know what I want to do, and that is to come and cheer you on.

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Your sixth birthday…

Late this afternoon after school, we went to visit my lawyer. It went okay, I guess. The good news is, according to the lawyers, the Family Court usually presses hard for fathers to be allowed to see their children when the Mother seeks to prevent it, unless of course there are extenuating circumstances. To this point, however, the Family Court of Yokohama doesn’t seem to be doing you & me any favors in terms of visitation. The double-whammy bad news is that the Court can only recommend that we are able to see each other, and it seems your Mother has been building a case against me. According to her lawyer, you’ve been feeling unwell after our visits. It turns out, your Mother has been collecting medical reports that somehow or other reflects poorly on me. I’m not sure of the details as yet, but we can envision the obvious… and it does not spell good.

I showed my lawyer a 10 minute photo/video presentation of our time together since the court took custody from me 2 years ago. It’s a bunch of happy shots together… I hope the Court sees how genuine our relationship is too.

I love you, I always will… Dad… XoXo… Happy birthday for Saturday Phi!

WICKED WISDOM

“A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.” – Lao Tzu

 

Monday, October 17th 2011

Hey there Fi-Fai-Fo-Fum, how’s trix? I think Dad may have stuffed up… I’ve just been to Noribaba & Yutajiji’s to pass on your birthday present… more of that later.

Of course, it was your birthday Saturday, but it was also your Undokai. I had x-country finals out at Tama, but I requested a sub teacher to take my place instead. My students were a bit upset because they’ve had a very successful season, perhaps the most successful ever at St. Maur, but when I explained it was my darling daughter’s sports’ day, my captain said, “That’s totally understandable Coach Morice.”Photo 24

Anyway, Saturday we woke to rain, so C called your school, Tosai ES, only to hear your festival was postponed. Ordinarily Saturday mornings, I ride my bicycle to arrive at Saint Maur at 6.15am, to meet the students, and be on the bus departing at 6.30am. So Super Dad/Coach raced to the station and took three trains out to Minami Tama. After a hectic rush, and plenty of running myself, I managed to get to the American Base just in time to cheer my Middle School Boys’ team up “Killer Hill.” They were happy to see me, and I was glad for something to do, so I wouldn’t dwell too much on not seeing you.

We later checked your school’s homepage, and the information indicated the undokai would be postponed until Monday. I called my principal and spent a few hours preparing lessons for a substitute teacher to take my classes. I wanted a day if not with you, to be in a position to see you; to if even for a moment, feel a part of your life. Then, in wonder & anticipation, this morning I took the train out to Akitsu. Unfortunately, there was nobody at your school… your undokai was Sunday… but I didn’t know… I’m sorry Phi. I’m sorry I wasn’t there. I’m sorry to have stuffed up.

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Your very own creation…

Anyway, a lovely elderly nun noticed me wandering around. I had only been at the school a minute. She came over to me & introduced herself. She was very kind, and when she realized I had taken a day off work, and had traveled from Yokohama, she took me to the front office manned by a single secretary. The nun asked the secretary if she could take me to your classroom just for a glimpse. It was grand we found your recycle project with its ocean theme. Inside a water-tight container you had created a sea floor scene complete with shells and sand. We then found your locker, and guess what Dad discovered??? The Magic Tree House book Dad had given you at Xmas… I even took a photo of it!!!

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The book Dad gave you… XoXo…

Leaving your school alone and without seeing your gorgeous smile was tough. I had presents from Nandee & Pa, and presents from C & I with me. I called C and she suggested I visit Noriko San & Yuta San to request they pass over the presents to you. A damn good idea I thought.

I couldn’t work out which bus to take from Kotesashi Station so I jogged out to Noribaba’s. When I arrived I was a bit nervous, especially when I realized your mother’s house was connected. I imagined you must have lived there before your mother married Kyuu Chan; I had been thinking you were living at Musashifujisawa. Anyway, I pressed Noriko & Yuta’s buzzer and announced myself. Noriko answered as if she wasn’t the least surprised by my presence. She quickly came to the front gate. She kindly agreed to handover the presents to you. I shouldn’t be surprised, but, she was actually quite nice to me. I asked her if I could talk with her & Yuta Jiji at a time convenient to themselves. She agreed and went inside to telephone Yuta. She returned a moment later and said Yuta couldn’t find time today or tomorrow, but he agreed to find time soon.

I was about to leave when Noriko said, “Ima, sukoshi hanasu?” It was very kind of her. I gladly agreed. She said she had received the letter I posted, but was unsure how to proceed. I felt some genuine empathy stemming from her; she did seem most concerned about the situation. I was just about to show her some photos when your mother suddenly came from the house.

I was very surprised to see her. She asked me to leave. I said I had only come to pass on your birthday present. As calmly as I could, I also said that we have a responsibility to communicate as parents. She said discussions will be carried out at the Family Court this Friday. She asked me to leave. I looked at Noriko, nodded and left. I managed to walk about 50 metres before I grabbed a tree and broke down crying.

Oh Phi, I’m so confused… what am I doing? Love Dad.

MIGHTY THOUGHT

“But better to get hurt by the truth than comforted with a lie.” – Khaled Hosseini

 

Thursday, October 20th 2011

Phi, today I learned that C went out to Tousai ES to wait for you earlier in the month. She thought she would let you use her phone so as you could talk to me. She waited 3 hours, but apparently the G3 students went home early on this day. C does beautiful things for us… we’re very lucky… luv & licks, Dad… XoXo.

FAST FACT

I only got my first mobile phone 3 years ago… you probably have one already… do you?

 

Wednesday, October 26th 2011

G’day Princess, how’s trix? Last night I returned from Miyagi Prefecture, Tohoku. It was an experience I’ll never forget. A party of seven I had organized drove up from Saint Maur international School Saturday afternoon. Our first night we spent in tents behind the volunteer centre near Watari/Yamamoto. Sunday morning we rocked up to the volunteer centre to be assigned our jobs. We were assigned to a strawberry farm in need of some cleaning up. It was tedious work cleaning the seedling tubes of strawberries, but we joked all day and at the end of the day there was definitely a feeling of accomplishment, even though our muscles didn’t ache. During the course of the day, we were told that prior to the tsunami there were 170 strawberry farms in the region, as of last weekend there were just 17 trying to get back on their feet… exactly 10%…IMG_3746

Monday we fronted up to the volunteer centre for more of the same. Monday too, we were assigned to a strawberry farm. Again it wasn’t the back-breaking work we had hoped for, instead we spent the morning replanting seedlings into bigger containers, while the afternoon saw us pinching “runners” from the thousands of grown plants inside the green house.

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Nakahama Primary School

Then Tuesday we had been invited to attend Yamashita Elementary School’s International Day. Last Thursday I had asked the committee to okay the spending of 80,000 yen on gifts for the students at both Yamashita & Nakahama Primary Schools, so I had gone to Costco and bought all sorts of goodies. When we arrived we were taken into the principal’s office for pleasantries and a lovely coffee. Shortly thereafter, we were taken to the gym to be introduced to the students. Each of us gave a short introduction, and then the kids, who had prepared their own name cards (meishi) lined up in front of us to introduce themselves and trade meishi. It was just fantastic.IMG_3825

At the break we took the opportunity to play a bit of soccer with the kids during their morning recess. After the break, we went to different classrooms to give a 45 minute lesson on our country. I had grade 6 and had a great time. I started with an i-Movie that of course featured my glamour daughter!

By midday it was time to move on. We had to be at Nakahama Primary School at 2pm, so we took the time to visit Nakahama’s original school building just 200 metres from the coast. As we were trying to find the school amidst the desolate waste land, from about 1km away, we sighted Nakahama PS; it was the only building standing for many kms. The devastation was incomprehensible. The height of the highest tsunami had reached 12 metres measured against the school gym, but as I was to later discover, there were not two tsunamis, but 4. The principal told us that the 3rd tsunami was by far the worst. Despite the fact that all the faculty and students were on the roof of the second floor, the wave came within 30cm of them. 52 students and their teachers, and neighbors who wisely decided the school presented a safer option than the designated evacuation centre, waited all night on the roof. In all there were 92 people, no food, no water and no toilets. At 6am the self-defense forces arrived in 4 huge heli-lifts to rescue every single student and teacher. Not a single student or teacher was taken by the tsunami. But as we discovered many of the students’ parents had been taken. Some students had no parents left, and one 6th grader lost his Mum and the 4 month old baby sister she had in her womb.

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The volunteer centre

And now, it’s 8.40pm. Dad is in a wine bar in Shibuya. I should be chatting to the two gals opposite, but I think I’m too old for that, besides, I had this chapter in my life to tell you about.

Good night Bella… I miss you… XoXo.

TRAVEL ADVICE

“To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” – Bill Bryson

 

Sunday, October 29th 2011

Hey Super Star, how was your day at your school’s Bazaar? I hope you had a grand time with your friends. Actually I was there today, but we didn’t see each other… at least I didn’t see you. When I arrived I telephoned your mother to see if I could say hello to you, but she never picked up the phone. I wondered around admiring the assorted handmade handicrafts, the food, and the joy and laughter of your peers.

I spotted your mother and stepfather before long, but I had been advised by my lawyer not to approach. I noticed Noriko & Yuta too, but I kept my distance because I didn’t want to create a scene. They knew I was there because they kept looking in my direction. I prayed Noribaba or Yuta would come and talk to me, but they didn’t. I never saw you… it was like they were all shielding you from me. All I wanted was a chance to say hello, perhaps see some of your class work… just a few minutes to be with my beautiful daughter. After 2 hours I gave in and wandered back to the station.

I’m not sure I’ve ever been sadder in my life why are people so cruel?

I love you and miss you so much… but I fear I may be prevented from seeing you until you’re old enough to decide for yourself. The scaremongering instigated by your mother will haunt you forever… I just hope you’re old enough to remember our many moments together…

Perhaps it’s best you don’t remember me, because if you’re anything like your Dad, you lie awake at night and reminisce about the good times we shared, and dream and wonder what might have been… it’s a terrible burden on your pure heart. You’ve done nothing wrong, nothing at all… your only problem is being loved by two families.

I just want you to be happy…

I love you… Dad.

WICKED QUOTES

If you want to truly understand something, try and change it (Kurt Lewin)

 

Tuesday, November 15th 2011

Hey Phi, here’s my letter to the Australian Embassy. I haven’t given up on trying to see you…

194-9-406 Oguchinaka – Machi

Kanagawa – Ku, Yokohama

221 – 0003 Japan

 

         My name is Gerard Morice. I am an Australian citizen living and working in Japan.

Here is my story in a nutshell:

         On March 7th, 2004 the Japanese mother of my daughter Ophelia, was asked to leave our home after she admitted to [deleted]. Shortly thereafter I gained full custody of our daughter.

         Outside of court my ex-wife and I mutually agreed that I would be the primary carer of Ophelia. In addition to the official Japanese documentation regarding custody, an English/Japanese custody agreement was entered into. Article 5 of that agreement states: “Gerard & Aa agree not to take any legal action against each other over the custody of Ophelia” The contract was agreed to and signed by both parties, and both sets of grandparents.

         At the time, Ophelia was 17 months of age. I agreed to stay in Japan to ensure Ophelia had regular contact with her mum. Ophelia lived with me and we went to and from kindergarten by bicycle, cooked and sang together, and read stories every night. We danced and we laughed

         In 2008, the mother of Ophelia re-married and unbeknown to me, began planning to take custody of our daughter.

         I was starting a new position at Saint Maur International School in August 2008. I knew I would be busy in my new position, so I reluctantly made a verbal agreement with [name deleted] that would enable her to look after Ophelia until December 2008; at which time Ophelia & I planned to go to Australia for the Christmas break. Ophelia was enrolled to start in the Montessori program at Saint Maur from January 2009.

         On Friday, August 15th 2008, at Shibuya Station, I foolishly handed over Ophelia’s Japanese passport. A few weeks previous I had signed documents that [name deleted] said were necessary for her to properly care for Ophelia in case of sickness. It was an enormous mistake on my part. Up until this point Ophelia had been on my insurance card. After a word from my new school, I had become uneasy about the signing and requested the return of Ophelia to my health card. [name deleted] reacted violently and Ophelia was pulled from my arms on the platform of Shibuya Station. I did little to resist because I could see the fear in my daughter’s eyes. I just kept saying to Ophelia that everything would be okay.

         From this point on, it’s been a battle for me to see my daughter. I spoke with [name deleted] often on the phone trying to find an amicable solution through to December 2008, and all along she hinted that Ophelia could still attend Saint Maur from January. I should have brought in a lawyer, but our initial agreement (article 5 above) and the thought that we are responsible for this mess, kept me hoping that together we could communicate & overcome. 

         On November 26th, 2009, several months after [name deleted] had taken our case to the Family Court of Yokohama, custody was taken from me.

         And now, October 2011, the mother of my child is once again manipulating Japanese Family Law to cease all visitation.

         Regards,

         Gerard Morice.

I’m not sure if it’s another dead end, but it’s worth a try…

FAST FACTS

  • You were 51 cm long/tall when you were born. The shortest mammal in the world is the hog-nosed bat measuring just 2.8cm as an adult
  • My favourite place is probably Cathedral Range. It’s a rocky mountain about an hour from Nandee & Pa’s; some day we’ll hike it together

 

Monday, November 21st 2011

G’day Phi, I’m just finishing up at school. It’s been a great start to the week with my adorable grade 4 class. We’re working on procedural texts, so this morning we used the interactive bbc site:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/teachers/ks2_activities/english/instructions.shtml

It’s a cracker. One of the tasks involves jazzing up a pram/stroller so it looks like a crazy sports car. The voice asking the questions and then the weird & wonderful multiple choice options was quite the UK Rastafarian type; my students had a good giggle.

After collecting key points for writing a recipe or set of directions, the kids unjumbled a recipe for fairy cakes. They then started on posters: What makes good instructions.

In the coming days they’ll create a revolting recipe (my example is a slimy sandwitch to feed 3 hungry witches; ingredients include 501 grams of dandruff, 2 pairs of rats’ eyes, 13g of toe clippings, a teaspoon of bats’ blood…) and a snack recipe for a friend. On Friday they’ll bring all their ingredients and we’ll set up a toaster, mixer, oven, cutting boards, etc., in the room and they’ll follow a peer’s instructions to create their own morning recess snack. Sounds fun hey!!??

This afternoon the grade 3 classes presented at assembly… I couldn’t help but think that you were enrolled at Saint Maur, and you could have been standing among them on stage. They did a whacky skit about occupations and respect. The opening scene was set in a classroom and the students were boasting about their parents… one claimed his mum was the queen of England, another kid’s dad was a rock star, and somebody else’s an astronaut. One little chap was embarrassed that his mum & dad were farmers, so then the grade 3 students took us down the path of respect. They even pumped out Aretha Franklin’s RESPECT! It was a truly great performance.

I hope you and your fellow grade 3’s get up to as much fun & creativity when it comes to performances.

Hope dinner tonight is a yummy-mummy-curry! Enjoy!

Love Dad.

P.S. I love you more than your cousin Christopher loves his new swimming pool!

FAST FACTS

  • It has been over 2 months since I’ve seen you
  • You used to bring the biggest smile to my face when you were keen on helping. When we moved to our new house in Numazu we dug up the weeds and laid lawn. You were right there next to me, puffing and sweating. There’s a grand photo of us standing with our hands on hips admiring our work. You’re even sporting a tradesman’s crack (that means you’re showing a bit of your bottom)

 

Sunday, November 27th 2011

Evening Princess. Today has been a lovely day… would have been perfect if you had joined us. This morning I cycled into Saint Maur because it was our Xmas Bazaar, yes, quite early for Chrissy I know, quite a bizarre bazaar!

I met Alice, who is a Peace Boat representative down at Motomachi Station and accompanied her to school. She did a great presentation for us about Peace Boat’s effort with the tsunami stricken region of Tohoku. I quickly helped her set up her things and then I popped up some Movember posters to raise awareness about depression among men and prostate cancer before racing off to the Irish coffee stand.

Later in the day C & Dad went to the Enoshima Spa. You and I have actually been to Enoshima twice, once to visit the aquarium and David and his family, and another time we went for a swim. Anyway, it was our first trip to the spa and it was out of this world. It was huge, and from the outdoor rotemburos you gazed across the bay at the mountains. We could also see mighty Mount Fuji and an amazing sunset as the whipped cream on top. We had a glorious time together… but you were still missed!

But the main reason I wanted to write to you before I curl up in bed with Great Expectations (by Charles Dickens – I’m loving it) is because Uncle Rich called. He called to say he wanted to sit beside me on December 16th in the family court. That’s the date that your Mum & Dad are back in court. He’s a gem your Uncle Rich. A quiet achiever of remarkable integrity. Your Dad is a lucky man to have the family he does… your family!

Good night Bella! I hope one day I can read Great Expectations to you, at the very least Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, or perhaps some traditional tales like Rumpelstiltskin, Hansel & Gretal.  

P.S. I love you 1,000,000 times more than the silly woodchopper in Hansel & Gretal!

FAST FACTS

  • Your Dad spent over 90 minutes in the Enoshima Spa this afternoon; most likely a record for him
  • Not all our best fish ‘n’ chip memories are in Oz. Some of the best were on our return from a beach day at Shimoda. We would stop off at the South Café with the Thorpes, Hamers & co.

 

Monday, November 28th 2011

Phi, Guess where Dad & C went yesterday? Numazu! We met Kita San (one half of our friendly mechanic team) for lunch. First we visited their garage, directly opposite our first house in Numazu… do you remember? Each time we visited Kita San & Miura San after we had moved out, you were keen on marching in to have a look. One day the new owners invited us in to view the renovations they had completed. They seem lovely people, and yesterday we shared another chat. Before lunch we visited our former neighbors, Sato San. Mrs. Sato was so happy to see me she very nearly cried. Unfortunately Mr. Sato passed away last year of cancer. We had a good talk and reminisced your bright presence in the street. Then I showed her the letter C had translated. She was shocked to hear what your mother has done. Kita San, Miura San & Sato San all promised to write a letter in support of our visitation rights…

C & I were both keen on sushi, so we went to a sushi restaurant that you, I, Nandee & Pa have been to several times. Kita San has never been a fish fan, so he ordered beef! Fancy ordering beef in a fish restaurant!

After lunch Kita San dropped us off at your old school, Katoh. I had some letters for your former teachers informing them of our present dilemma. Being Sunday, nobody was on campus, but hopefully, they too will write on our behalf.

From Katoh we wandered to Shimomura, C’s favourite clothing store. Dad bought some cycling tights for the commute to school. Since we moved to Myorenji I’ve been riding to school each day. It’s a great course that takes me through the port area, by the morning fish market and then Minato Mirai. It’s less than 10km, and takes me only 25 minutes; so it’s much quicker than the train, and it keeps me reasonably fit combined with a jog or two and some push-ups.

WICKED QUOTES

After you’ve done a thing the same way for two years, look it over carefully. After five years, look at it with suspicion. And after 10 years, throw it away and start all over (Alfred Edward Pearlman)

 

Sunday, December 4th 2011

Apa Kabah Phi? How’s trix Ophelia? December already… have you helped your mother put the Christmas tree and decorations up? Dad & C haven’t got around to it yet, but we will, in the hope that you’ll be able to open your presents beneath the tree as we once did together every year…

Yesterday we attended a meeting in Tokyo regarding co-parenting & visitation rights. Just as well Dad skipped his Japanese class in the morning as it was all in JP… exhausted after 3.5 hours! It was very interesting however, and C was able to interpret the tricky parts. One of the guest speakers was a Buddhist monk who provides a visitation place, where she, or a third person oversees the visit. Not a bad idea in our case, especially with your mother accusing me of not feeding you, and making you sick… really? Our only problem is convincing your mother that we should see each other.

What do you think Bella, worth a go, yeah? Luv Dad.

FAST FACT

You’ve always been patient and able to entertain yourself. One time when you were 2 and not quite toilet trained, we were on our way to meet your Mum or Noribaba up at Lake Yamanakako and it started snowing buckets. At the time Dad had fashioned a set of tyre-chains from Yuta’s old set. We were stuck and weren’t going anywhere until Dad fixed the ill-fitting chains. Periodically I checked on you, and at last some 60 minutes later with barely any fingers left (no gloves for silly Dad) I climbed into the warm car to be greeted by an almighty smell. You were grinning! I asked you had you done Kaka, but you said “no”. I couldn’t believe it, so we checked your nappy only to find you’d saved a second fart just for Dad! You funny gal! I promise not to tell any of your boyfriends this story!

 

 

Monday, December 5th 2011

Hey Phi, guess what I found out tonight? My dear C has organized for Kerry & Deirdre to be here for our next mediation on December 16th. Dad… XoXo… isn’t that lovely…

FAST FACTS

  • No more excuses…
  • Dad’s best time over 10km is 33 minutes… you’ll beat that won’t you!

 

Sunday, December 11th 2011

Just a quick one Phi ‘cause I’m old & tired and need some sleep! This afternoon I attended a meeting at the Asian Friendship Society’s office out of Ikebukuro. It was a meeting to discuss and draft a letter to The Diet to urge them to sign the Hague Convention on Children’s Rights. 88 countries throughout the world have signed, including China, but curiously Japan is the last remaining developed nation to sign. Signatures to The Hague Convention acknowledge that joint custody & frequent visitation are positives, as all the research suggests…

Just thought I’d let you know, Dad hasn’t given up the fight… XoXo.

WICKED QUOTES

“The only way out of the labyrinth of suffering is to forgive.” – John Green

 

Sunday, December 18th 2011

How’s Dad’s Dear Princess?

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Your Nandee & Pa hoping to see you…

Your Nandee & Pa left Japan today. They’ve been here since last Sunday evening. They were so hopeful that your mother would show some humanity, civility and kindness by allowing them to see their darling first grandchild… it was not to be. Yesterday morning after your mother had again rejected our wish for contact with you, I put my faith in Noribaba, in the hope that her wisdom might intervene. I was hopeful Yuta & Noribaba’s commonsense and common love for a first grandchild might be enough to grant Nandee & Pa’s prayer… I telephoned; her coldness however brought tears to my eyes… C came to me as soon as she realized my shock… Nandee & Pa stayed down the other end of the apartment with their fingers’ crossed… but they also feared the worst.

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Your Xmas gifts…

Your Nandee & Pa had flown from Melbourne to support us at Friday’s mediation in the Yokohama Family Court. We requested their voice be heard. We were hopeful the panel would recognize the significance of their request. Initially there was a hint of promise, but they stated they would need to consult your mother… she denied their hope and instead accused Nandee of shouting at her… in all my years, my Mum has never shouted at any of her children, nor my guess, any of her students over a 45 year professional teaching period.

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Did you receive your Xmas presents?

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C helped me with the hiragana…

In court your mother reconsidered somewhat, and instead of cutting off visitation completely, she suggested three meetings per year, each meeting in her presence… we said “no…” and we’ll be back again in February for more mediation in the family court. My memory of what happened in that courtroom during the taxing 4 – 5 hours is fuzzy; it’s strange, because I recall part of it as if it happened to somebody else.

Anyway Princess, enough of the miserable stuff… the best part about Nandee & Pa’s visit was C’s presence in my life… she’s done so much for me, for us. I wish you could see the passion & commitment she has for seeking a means for us to meet. C might as well be my lawyer for all the research she has done, the translating, the organization of meetings with different help groups, and all the documenting & organization of my files, notes & documents.

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Merry Christmas Ophelia… XoXo…

Nandee & Pa witnessed her determination and the support she has for us, and instead of heading back to Melbourne miserable as I had feared, they were so grateful that C is in my life. She’s one of a kind, and I know one day soon, you my dear Ophelia, and you my beautiful C will be best of friends.

Everyday I have to try and prevent the poison that sits in my mind from spreading outward and hurting the people I love. When your mother left us, and you were only 17 months of age, I was so bitter. I was so strict with poor Riku (our lovely red heeler dog), I shudder at the rage I held inside, and yet you were my calming influence. The way you ran to me at the end of a kinder day nurtured my tenderness and healing… thank YOU Ophelia… xoxo… thank you.

FAST FACTS

  • Tomorrow C & Dad fly to Malaysia… wish you were coming!
  • Friday we presented Bob Munro’s research report. He’s a psychologist and former mediator in the Australian Family Court. The panel was actually quite interested in the points he raised… you can read it one day if you like.

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