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【New Book】Heart of the Dying

27 Dec

Heart of the Dying”

(POPLAR Publishing Co., Ltd.)

By Yumiko Sato

1/10/2017 (Release Date)

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I’m happy to announce that my second book “Heart of the Dying (Shi ni yuku hito ha nani o omounoka)” will be published in January, 2017 (The book is in Japanese).

Since returning to Japan three years ago I’ve met many people through my work as a hospice music therapist. What I’ve learned from them is that Japan faces unique challenges on end-of-life issues, and that one way to address them is helping families whose loved ones are dying.

I don’t know what he is thinking about any more.

I’m doing the best I can, but he is always angry at me!

It’s so hard to be with her, because there is nothing I can do.”

These are the words I often hear from them. Being with the dying is difficult, and losing our loved ones is one of the biggest crises we face in life.

In this book I examine the emotional and spiritual changes of the dying and how we can help them.  Over twenty case examples included in this book are the experiences of my former patients and families- some are Americans, some Japanese. They’ve taught me that death, dying, and loss are universal experiences through which we can grow. This book is dedicated to them.

 

Story of Mutsu: The rescued dog

12 Jul

snowMeet my dog, Mutsu.

He was abandoned when he was about 1 year old. While running through a forest road near Mutsu City of Aomori, he happened to find me. Curious and adventurous, he enjoys exploring!

I just started a new blog called “Story of Mutsu” to share his story and encourage people to adopt pets. I’ll write it in both English and Japanese.

Please visit “Story of Mutsu” to read about his adventures in Japan!

The Last Wish of a Woman Who Survived The Battle of Okinawa

21 Jun

ハイビスカス“I have one regret,” said Tokiko one day.

“I wish I had written down my story. ”

I was surprised to hear that, because Tokiko, a survivor of The Battle of Okinawa, had lived her life without telling her past even to her son.

I met Tokiko in the summer of 2009. At 79 she suffered from heart disease and was recently diagnosed with depression. When she suddenly stopped eating and talking to everyone including her family, she was admitted to hospice care. It seemed that Tokiko had lost interest in everything, and no one knew why.

A hospice nurse referred her to music therapy, hoping that it would help ease her depression. The nurse also knew that I, too, was Japanese. Over the course of therapy that lasted for 3 months Tokiko revealed her past to me in a way I had never imagined.

While I sang Japanese folk songs such as “Hamabe no uta,” she listened with a calm expression on her face, but she was hiding a painful past.

“My life was complicated. I was…I was the only one who survived the war.”

She looked at me with her piercing eyes.

Through musical therapy I learned that her father and younger brother were killed in Okinawa, and that her sister was killed in the Nagoya raid. At 15 Tokiko became an orphan.

After the war she fell in love with an American soldier, even though she initially had anger toward Americans. She got married and moved to the US. The marriage brought her the happiness she had longed for, but her husband was sent to Vietnam twice, and by the time he came back he was a “different man.” He became alcoholic.

Tokiko’s life was affected by wars, yet she never complained or expressed anger toward anyone. The only thing that haunted her was a question: Why did I survive?

By the time she had finished her story, her condition began to improve. She started eating again and talking to people. In the beginning of fall she was removed from hospice care.

On our last session we sang “Hamabe no uta” together. She liked the song very much, since it reminded her of Okinawa. Even though it was the place where unimaginable horror had taken place, it remained a special place in her heart. The song brought back to her memories of the blue sky and the wide, beautiful ocean.

“I wish I had written down my story. ”

She said when the song ended.

“I haven’t told my story to people, because I didn’t think anyone would want to know it. But I’ve realized that it is important to share it.”

I promised her that I’d write her story one day. More than 5 years later I’ve written her story in my book, “Last Song.”

June 23 marks the 70th anniversary of the end of The Battle of Okinawa. I wonder what comes to your mind on this day. As for me, I’ll be remembering Tokiko and all those who perished in Okinawa.

“Not to trasmit an experience is to betray it.” ~Elie Wiesel

むつ物語

Story of Mutsu  

Yumiko Sato Music Therapy

Journey Into Wholeness

Discover Japan

Explore the wonder of Japan: culture, history, language, scenary, art & music

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