I was born and raised in nowhere special. A rural Michigander– a real bumpkin whose feet were always black and leathery in the summer. Culture to me was living on a washboard dirt road and playing in the woods.
That is, until a mysterious flyer about an exchange program appeared in our rural route mailbox. This little piece of paper, a piece of junk mail really, brought a girl named Yuki to our house. The year was 1979. In short order this petite girl from Tokyo and I became best friends.
This is how it all started for me. I was still in high school when I first traveled to Japan, to stay at Yuki house, and it was mesmerizing. I had only known Japan from old encyclopedias and post war history films. Shoot, I thought Japan was all geisha and rickshaws! But when I got there I could not believe all of the technology, cute character goods like Hello Kitty…and culture up the ying yang!
Everything seemed to have significance and meaning. Instantly I was hooked and set out to immerse myself and somehow become Japanese. And as misfortune would have it, before even leaving Japan, I met a Japanese man who was more than willing to teach a naive American teen how to do things the proper way and two years from that day I married him. Unbeknownst to me he was in fact, a vile pedophile.
While I was still a child really, a free-spirited Michigan white pine of a girl, I would be retrained to do just about everything the proper Japanese way and over the span of the next decade I regressed. I became much smaller in mind…constantly worried about getting too old for him and doing things just so.
By the time I managed to break free from the wires that controlled my branches and the tiny pot that bound my roots, it was clear to many that I was not well. From that point my poor choices cost me nearly everything; but worst of all, it cost someone very important much more.
The book, The Six-Foot Bonsai, is my attempt at piecing together what occurred– what I saw, my warped thinking…and what, in the end, I had to admit. I was a failure in every way.
“I’m Stacy and I’m a recovering Japanaholic”– a selfish person who binged on a culture because it suited me. For what should have been the sweetest years of my life I chased moon rabbits and danced with demons as the seed sewing monkey sat on its haunches and watched. To the detriment of everything I wanted my drug.
“The Six-Foot Bonsai: A Soul Lost in the Land of the Rising Sun” is available through Amazon.