Counseling can be casual
Born in Osaka in 1985.
After graduating from University, dreaming of living abroad, I started to work for one of the American major IT companies located in the Philippines. Returned to Japan due to international marriage and childbirth, I have worked in a variety of occupations such as a recruitment consulting company, an IT venture company, and a medical institution. After being a single mother for a while,I remarried a japanese man. Now while working as a full-time employee, I also provide English lessons on weekends, and am working to spread counseling service and create a new community where people can support each other.
Make counseling accessible
My goal is to make counseling more accessible and approachable.
When people hear about psychiatry and counseling, they feel wary.
The high barrier to counseling in society is also depressing.
The cost of counseling is often incredibly expensive, even if someone wants to receive it!
Furthermore, there is a societal stigma and reluctance to openly admit to taking counseling.
Social labels and the feeling of not wanting to acknowledge one's own vulnerability contribute to the lack of widespread acceptance of counseling.
However, the number of people experiencing mental distress is increasing rapidly each year.
I want to change this situation!
My goal is to popularize counseling services to the level of hair salons and convenience stores in society!
Days in the Philippines
In one winter, at the age of 22, I impulsively decided to go to the Philippines without any prior experience of working.
The view of Manila from an airplane in the middle of the night was surprisingly gorgeous, and a mix of anxiety and excitement overwhelmed me. I just thought "I can do this!" without any reasons.
However, a few hours later, reality hit me hard.
I was shown a space with a toilet and a large bucket, and told, "This is where you shower."
I awkwardly scooped cold water from the bucket, which had tiny dead insects floating in it, and washed myself while feeling a bit disgusted.
I saw insects I had never seen before in my life.
I encountered cockroaches of sizes I had never seen before in my life.
I heard local languages that weren't even Tagalog which I studied a bit before coming to the Philippines.
There were roosters crowing since 4 a.m. every single morning.
The electricity supply was unstable most of the time.
The food didn't agree with my taste.
Suddenly, my body broke out in hives.
I already wanted to go back home.
However, since I had defied my mother's strong opposition to coming here, I couldn't just say, "I can't handle it anymore," and come back to Japan.
I just survived day by day.
The Filipino friend who worked with me at that time and took good care of me is still a cherished friend to this day.
Struggling with an abusive husband
I was fortunate enough to be approached by a major IT company from the United States to work as a help desk representative in Makati.
Afterwards, I got married a Filipino and returned to Japan following the birth of my child.
I brought him to Japan, and our family life with our child began.
However, my Filipino husband had a problem with alcohol. When he got drunk, he became uncontrollable.
I grew tired of his behavior and our fights became frequent.
Now I can understand that he also had his own stresses living in a foreign land.
But it reached a point where toys and dishes were thrown at me, and eventually, he even threw a laptop at me...
I refused to be defeated by such unjust violence! I retaliated by secretly tampering with his food and whiskey bottles in various ways, using methods that I can't openly discuss here.
In the end, he threatened me with a knife one night, and the next day, after he left for work, I secretly took our child and returned to my parents' home.
Even after that, we had legal battles over divorce and custody due to visa issues, which took several years until the divorce was finalized.
Since divorce is not allowed in the Philippines, we are technically still married according to the local laws in the Philippines...
Having experienced single motherhood for a while, I remarried and began considering of having another child with my current husband. While juggling work, I calculated the timing and took into account my physical condition, as I had suffered from a hernia at the time.
But as time went on and I thought, "I thinks it’s time", we struggled to conceive a child. I was 33 years old at the time. I had believed that I would get pregnant quickly, so I started to feel anxious.
Every time I heard pregnancy or birth announcements from friends, I became more anxious and irritated. It felt like a blow when a younger colleague at work revealed her pregnancy. She sent me an ultrasound photo through message to share the news, but I couldn't genuinely congratulate her due to my own emotional state.
I would feel down every time I saw someone's pregnancy announcement on social media. And then there were thoughtless comments like, "You already have one child, so isn't that good enough?" I understand that from the perspective of someone struggling with primary infertility, it may seem like a trivial concern. But it hurt me deeply.
That's why I never told anyone about my struggles with infertility. I couldn't bring myself to say it because I knew it would hurt. Sometimes, when I saw someone online posting about their struggles with secondary infertility, I would silently scream in my heart, "I feel exactly the same way!"
In the end, even at the age of 37, I couldn't conceive, and both physically and mentally, I came to terms with it and gave up.
Currently, I work as a full-time employee at a medical institution. On the side, for the past few years, I have been teaching English one-on-one at a cafe on weekends and have my own students and organize small English event.
I will continue my studies in mental care and counseling because I believe that learning is a lifelong journey.
This year, I am planning to take a more active role in the counseling field. I want to actively accept clients and create a place or community that can be everyone's "third place" in some form.
I am genuinely committed to creating a society where everyone, regardless of nationality, age, gender, religion, or background, can actively thrive and lead a fulfilling life.
The courage to take the first step
In my twenties, I acted on youthful impulse and charged ahead.
It was a period filled with intense challenges.
However, I have absolutely no regrets!
If I hadn't gone to the Philippines, if I hadn't married a Filipino, or divorced, if I could have a second child... I wouldn't be the person I am today.
I'd rather have the regret of trying something and failing than the regret of not doing something and thinking, "I should have done it back then."
Even if you fail, you can always recover and make things right later!
I encourage you to take a bold step forward.