Following Inner voice
After graduating the college, I started to work for Panasonic Corporation.
Before starting working, the company sent two books written by Mr. Konosuke Matsushita, founder of Panasonic. It was an assignment from the company to read them and write what I thought. I read the books and got very impressed by the philosophy of Mr. Matsushita.
The section I was assigned in the office was very tough. The place was like battlefield every day. My section was dealing with all facilities to build a factory such as air conditioners, condensers, batteries and other equipments. Our agencies, which our section was working with, were not only selling products of Panasonic but also the ones of other companies, so their requirements on the delivery terms and prices were very demanding.
I was surprised to receive unreasonable requests from clients often, which made my minds very tense. All workers in my division were stressed out. A person in HR Division was surprised that all male workers in our division were requesting HR Division to be transferred to other divisions. I also heard my division was one of the harshest places in the company.
A head of the division was a severe but compassionate man. One day he told to female workers, “You should not stay here too long.” He meant it would make our characters harsh. I could see it was already happening to me.
One Sunday morning, I noticed something was wrong with me I could not focus on what I was doing at all. I did not have energy to do anything. I felt I was on the edge.
I was on the way home from church and I was waiting at a crosswalk. Then, a man on the bike stopped just in front of me. He was waiting for signal. I was surprised to notice that he was also an employee of Panasonic and he was a man who recommended me to apply for the company.
I said hello to him and he was surprised. I told him, “I need your advice.” We promised to get together soon. Later, I met him and told my condition.
He said, “If you wait too long before starting, it will be too late. Earlier would be better if you make a start your new life.” With his advice, I could push myself to go to the next stage.
I decided to leave the company. It was a big decision to give up a position of a regular employee in such a big company. The moment I decided, I felt a big umbrella covering me was taken away but at the same time I felt being released and free.
After leaving the company, I was so happy to have my own time to study. I started to study feverishly and teach English to students as well. My mother told me, “Your eyes were sharp like a triangle when working in Panasonic. Now you got back round and gentle eyes.”
In my division of Panasonic, I did not have any chances to use my English skill. I wanted to start my study all over again, and accumulate knowledge and make strong base of English abilities. I wanted to be a bilingual who can communicate with all kinds of topics with people from all over the world. It was the vision where I wanted to be.
At that moment, I was not clear which direction I would go to, but I always had some feelings inside. After the vision of the Earth was lit up in my mind, I was trying to follow it and listen to my inner voice that leads me there.
I studied long hours a day. I might have studied about 10 hours a day. Finally, I was feeling pain in my back. My mother was worrying about me. Other girls in my age were interested in cosmetics, marriage and fashions, but those things did not attract me at all. My focus was to get good foundation of skills and knowledge in English. I was always at my desk studying.
My mother was not a person who got angry easily, but one day, she finally did. She forcibly took me to a shop nearby and bought me a cute dress. I thanked to her, and rushed back home with the dress, and went back my desk and sat again to study. It was the last time when my Mom took some actions to wake me up to feminine matter as long as I remember.
After two years intensive study, my parents started to sympathize with me. They finally gave me a permission to go abroad, which I was asking from before. They had never allowed me to do, but finally they did.
I chose Canada. I still think it was a good choice for me as the first foreign country to experience.
I wanted to go to the area where not many Japanese students were. I did not want to stick to Japanese groups being abroad. I think it is a waste of good opportunity if we just stick to only Japanese groups all the time despite the fact that we venture to go abroad by spending huge amount of money energy and time. I really wanted to be immersed in English speaking environment.
I found the English School at the Queen’s University. It was in Kingston, Ontario. The University was famous for a place in “Anne of Green Gables”. Kingston was located in an east side of Canada. I liked the rule that the English course has, which requires foreign students to speak only English and does not allow them to speak their native language while they are staying.
The night before of my departure to Canada, my family took me to dinner. First, we had a good time. On the way to home, however, my father started to become emotional and show his sad feelings about my going abroad. I was very sad.
The night, I had a wonderful dream. It was full of lights and they were expanding to all over the world from a location where I was going. There was BGM in the dream. It was a very popular music at that time. The words go like this, “Say your word, say it loud. It is too late when you die.”
When I woke up in the morning, I was full of bright energy. Actually, the first morning I had in Kingston after my arrival of previous night, I went in the café in the town and the very same music was played as BGM there! That really cheered me up to start new life abroad.
My host mother’s name was Melody. She was a German Canadian. She was working in Queen’s University. The host father was Fernando, a Portuguese Canadian. He was a photographer, an artist and a movie maker. They had me stay at a comfortable room where I could see a back garden filled with flowers from the window of the room. They cooked very delicious food. They also taught me English culture and languages.
After my English course was finished, I decided to travel all over Canada by myself. Before starting my trip, Melody said to me, “Wherever you are in Canada, contact us if something happens. “ I really appreciated her saying and told her, “You gave me so much. How can I give you back?” She said, “You do not have to give us back. You give something to other people. By doing so a big helping circle will be made and it will surround the whole world, right?” I was so moved with her board vision.
Her words have been staying in my heart.