thank you hokkaido kudasai

Recently, I completed my 100th blog post, and I owe a big, warm Thank You to a very good friend of mine, who – has been and still is… an inspirational person in my life. She just finished up her 1000th blog post! (Congratulations Pamela!)

My friend and I met in college, in the rural town of Macomb, Illinois, about 35 years ago. At the time, she was an adventurous recreation major. In her free time she juggled stitching projects, studied other languages and immersed herself in different cultures (just for the heck of it). She did all of this while training for some future running event (usually a marathon). I am happy to report she hasn’t changed very much over the years.

You might expect this person to be something of a type A personality, multitasking all sorts of activities in a non-stop, go get ’em fashion. Maybe this is in her, but I never noticed it, to me, she was (and is) a kind of  “type U” personality, the U meaning – unique and unusually interesting, in a ‘busy as a bee’ sort of way.

What I found to be the most interesting about this friend, was her ever present demeanor of calm. While others around the campus were chugging buckets, lushing it up at lakers, and generally freaking out about the future, her friendship offered an alternative peaceful escape I found meditative and grounding. Whenever she would return from whatever recreation challenge she had recently completed, I couldn’t wait to visit and listen to her stories.

With great anticipation, I would knock on her dorm room door and she would answer with an invitation to come in and stay for a cup of tea. As the electric pot heated up, she would show me her latest stitching project. We would then sip the freshly brewed tea and she would update me on her various travels, projects and studies. With her soft, gentle, and subtle type of energy, I was inspired, not jealous, never shocked, but richly moved and enticed with the accounts of all she was doing in her life. She never seemed to get overwhelmed or anxious with deadlines or roadblocks, she just managed to always hold steady. (I often wondered…was it the tea? No, it had to be the stitching!)

I am not a stitcher. But, I am intrigued and fascinated with the world of creating pictures and objects with thread. For anyone who stitches, this is the blog for you. I love to watch her daily creations take shape. Across the miles, her blog is my cup of tea – an energizing, dependable and quirky brew, steeped in Hokkaido habits, mildly infused with Japanese culture.

Fast forward to now. Over the years we have kept in touch even though our lives have taken very different paths. In my phone book there are several pages of her addresses and I am happy to report she has never stopped adventuring, learning new languages, or immersing herself in different cultures. Imagine my awe when I received a letter saying she was moving to Japan with her husband. At a time in life, when most people are settling in, they were selling everything and going to Hokkaido. Wow! Who does that?

Map of Hokkaido from wikipedia

In the following months, I received an email…my friend had arrived in Hokkaido, in the middle of a very snowy winter. She had also managed to secure a job teaching English as a second language and had started a new blog. How awesome, and so like her – daring and doing, without wasting a precious minute!

These days, I read her blog faithfully, I feel as if I am given the opportunity to have a visit, to stay in touch and to learn about life in a very different place. Her blog is at the center of a large stitching community, but it sheds light on so much more…life in Japan;  its people, its culture and its geography. If you are intrigued by this story, this is my friend’s blog…Hokkaido Kudasai.

If you don’t mind, I’d like to share some of my favorite posts….

Her story begins on this snowy road, in December, somewhere around that half century mark of life.

Pamela’s new town

I am happy to report she is still in training… on exercise equipment in a new and different language. I can’t imagine!

Pamela’s treadmill in hokkaido

In the awful March weather, when I was stuck inside my basement, on my elliptical, I couldn’t wait to check in on the progress of one of her many stitching projects… a summer garden. I imagined I was walking through it – entering the gate, pausing beneath the trees, stepping around the masterfully planted gardens. I couldn’t wait for spring!

Pamela’s garden

Last year, when I decided to retire, I mentioned to my friend I was thinking about starting a blog. She was so very supportive. She doesn’t know she is a secret mentor for me, the kind of mentor who softly kindles or awakens a spirit in another person. My friend inspires by doing. I’ve discovered her mission – to continue to always try and make this life a grand adventure.

To me, blogging is kind of like stitching. To have a vision, then, begin to create the thing- stitching together thoughts and ideas. Patiently tacking words with pictures, fastening it all together daily. It is in this way, my friend has completed her 1000th post. I wish her the warmest congratulations and a big thank you for sharing it all. I am so happy for her and still…a little bit in awe. As Helen Keller would say “life is a daring adventure or nothing at all.”


4 thoughts on “thank you hokkaido kudasai

  1. Karen, Thank you so much! You are the best! I have such great memories of our time together and am so glad we’ve managed to stay friends after all these years. I’m sorry it’s taken so long to respond, the surgery has set me back a bit, but I am trying to catch up!


    1. I can’t believe you are past 1000 posts! (Oh wait…yes I can.) Congratulations! I guess when it rains it pours, hmmm? Your trip, the surgery, the blog – sheesh. I look forward to all the good reads. Speedy healing my friend.


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