Posted by: mariabro | October 20, 2012

My IQ, Interesting Quotient

I’m afraid I’m losing my interesting and exotic quotient, gained entirely on my pre-during-post life abroad.

In the beginning our friends at home thought we were adventurous and maybe a little crazy for heading off to a new life in Tokyo with two babies and a not-so-happy pre-teen in tow.

Then our visits home during our seven years in Tokyo ensured we always had great cocktail party conversation.

“Yes, there really are Harajuku girls, capsule hotels and love hotels, slurping is considered a good thing, trains run on time and they’re rarely as crowded as they’re purported to be, the sun does indeed rise very early, there are vending machines on every corner with every sort of convenience you could imagine, and the list goes on while your interesting quotient rises.

Then when you leave Tokyo you have a good year of stories and guarantees of being the exotic new friend wherever you move to. It was my daughter who warned me about the potential life-span of the post-Japan cool factor. She left Japan for college the year before we did. She told me how it was great in the beginning to introduce yourself as the new girl from Japan. Often followed by the “you don’t look Japanese line.”  But after her first year she began to feel a bit silly saying, “I just moved here from Japan. Well, actually it was a year ago.”

SO last year.

It made me realize that by now most of our friends back home have heard most of our stories. Fortunately we moved to a new city where we still have a shelf life for our stories and right now are still new and interesting. But I feel time running out. I’m trying to figure out a plan to earn some new interesting and exotic stripes. As my husband says, move up or move out.

But for now I’m happy to rave about Japan and our life in Tokyo for at least another six months and I’m looking forward to the Christmas cocktail party circuit (while I still have something interesting to say).


  1. Great post, Maria! I’m totally feeling what you describe. After 4 years in Tokyo and 3 years in Toronto, we landed back in Jacksonville, Florida. Home of Lynyrd Sknyrd. Although thrilled to be back in the glorious beach weather, I too miss that exotic Ex-Pat life.
    In many ways I miss Toronto even more than Tokyo (and I loved Tokyo). I know it is your home, but Toronto is one of the coolest places on the planet.
    I keep a Canadian $5 bill in my wallet just because. I like it because it has 2 young girls playing hockey on the back (no woman on any US currency) and it reminds me I am a plane ride away. TO Rocks.
    Regarding US Politics; we need Hazel McCallion!

    • Thanks nancy!! I am so happy you enjoyed your time in Toronto. I was just telling my kids about hazel mccallion yesterday! She is the same age as my mother. I was wondering if she was still in office?!

  2. I read a great article about Hazel ziplining in Italy last summer. She’s still mayor of Mississauga and not taking crap from anyone. She is fantastic.
    I hope your Mom is doing well. I remember meeting her in Tokyo. I hope you are enjoying Boston. My folks live 25 miles north of the city in a little town called Boxford.

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