When I woke up this morning at home it was Saturday morning and I remember thinking that this whole adventure I was about to take just didn’t seem real. As I lay in my bed, I knew that all the planning for my trip had been done and today was finally the day. I kept saying to myself “just think, tonight you will be going to bed in Japan.” It was just hard to imagine. I’d never traveled this far before. (Saturday, September 25th, 1965)
Fresh from college, a young girl from rural Washington State travels to Japan in 1965 to teach occupational therapy to the first graduating class of Western-trained therapists. This autobiographical travel journal follows the author’s exploration of a new culture, friendships, and religious beliefs, all against the backdrop of the embassy culture of Vietnam-era Japan.
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At 8:00 Tom and I were on our way to Tokyo. We got a seat. Tom had emphasized our luck but I didn’t realize the significance until at each stop the train started filling up, with most of the people having to stand in the center aisle. We were packed in like sardines. … Tom and I got off in Tokyo and caught a taxi to the Embassy. I was impressed. His office looks like President Johnson’s complete with flags and United States seal. Thelma Whitehouse, a close U.S. friend of the Murfins’ met me at the Embassy and together we set out for the next step in my day’s experience. … We asked several places and soon found the Japanese Red Cross. My first day in Japan and guess what—I was representing the American Embassy and ended up at a Singer sewing machine sewing baby kimonos. (Monday, September 27th, 1965)
“It was early summer 1965 and I had just recently turned 23 years old. The previous year I had received my B.S. in Occupational Therapy from the University of Puget Sound and had finally completed the internship requirements to become certified. To become registered I still had to complete another hurdle, the dreaded registry exam. The world was out there waiting for me. I was excited and apprehensive at the same time. An OT classmate of mine, who had recently worked as an OT in Japan, encouraged me to look into doing the same. My uncle, Tom Murfin, was the Consul General at the American Embassy in Tokyo at the time, so that was a plus. With his help and that of my immediate family, the possibility became a reality. In late September 1965, I boarded a Northwest Orient plane for Tokyo.”
—Ann Murfin Coffey, excerpt from the Preface of Japan Remembered
"…it evokes a picture of a romantic and simpler time and recounts her wonderful adventures as the niece of the Consul General in a truly foreign culture. Ann Murfin Coffey’s innocent yet perceptive narrative of her stay in Japan makes a charming read."
"Ann has brought these pages to life…. It was a wonderful read… I would recommend this book to anyone. It opens a world that many have not thought about."