Happy New Year, son. My thoughts were with you at 15:00 GMT yesterday when the year turned in Japan. Every good wish for 2018. I mailed you a New Year card, below along with receipt, a couple of days’ ago so it should be with you soon. New Year is not as big in the UK as Japan and the store did not have a New Year card as such; the best I could find was a card of a cat peering at a fish in a fish tank.
Also below is a photo of the family lunch in Hythe on 10 September last year to mark your Grandad’s 89th birthday, about which I posted last summer. Also below is a photo taken just after Christmas on 27 December just gone showing Dad/Grandad, my brother and sister and I. It is very rare that we meet up alone together and I cannot remember when we last did so but it must have been when I was a very young adult – I don’t think that there has been a photo like this of just the four of us since I was a teenager. We were only able to catch a few hours together but it was very pleasant.
I saw the news a couple of days back that Japan proposes to change the age of majority from 20 to 18 from 2022 so that will cover you as you will turn 18 in 2026, which doesn’t feel all that far off now. I hope that this reform will help in a small way to embolden you to contact your family in the UK that much sooner. You are welcome to do so of course at any time as you are hugely missed here. You will be standing on your own two feet before you know it and will be able to make decisions for yourself. In the meantime, however, I wish you every happiness and success in year 2018.
Happy Christmas, son. Today marks your 7th Christmas in Japan. Here’s wishing you a very happy day. I mailed some items (see photographs below) to you on 6 December, the Post Office’s last posting day for Japan. According to the tracking, the package arrived, a bit on the early side of Christmas, on 12 December. I will post another message for you around New Year time. God bless you.
It is my 40th birthday today. I was aged 30 the day that you were born in late 2008. I have tried to “involve” you in my day today: the first thing that I did today was to once again visit the spot at Heathrow Airport where I last saw you. After that I took the train to Paddington from where I walked to the nearby Regent’s Park. This is one of my favourite places in London and I remember being taken there by my own parents when I was a similar age to you. I have now come into work for a few hours but plan to leave early to visit the National Portrait Gallery, Westminster Cathedral and the theatre later today. Below are some photographs that I took of the Park.
Happy 9th birthday, son. Another year has gone by. I hope that your day is filled with joy. It is almost impossible to believe that you, a two year old and the threshold of becoming a 3 year old when you were taken from the UK, are now halfway to adulthood. Time passes very quickly and the older you get the greater appreciation of this you will get.
When I was about your age one of my uncles bought me a digital watch. This was back in the late 80s and I even remember, although it did not occur to me to do so at the time, that it was a Japanese brand. Anyway I hope you like the watch I chose for you; I tried to choose the best one I could find.
In the package, I also enclosed a camera device which you can do lots of things with. I am sure that you can make much better use of it that I would – there are so many things I cannot do on my phone and PC. Your great Grandma gave me a camera (her own) around the same time as I got the watch so again I thought that this would be a good time to get you something similar.
I hope the package makes it to you today, if it has not already done so – the tracking (see below) seems to suggest that it has been stuck in Kawasaki since Saturday although based on past experience the tracking service is not properly updated in Japan.
Have a good day. I will post a message again to you soon.
Update: 4 December 2017: The package was delivered at about 5pm local time on your birthday itself, 28 November 2017 (see immediately below):
Today marks 5 years to the day since this blog was established (itself 1 year to the day after my son was taken). Prior to events of 6 years ago it had never occurred to me to write a blog. Probably the best piece of advice that I was given however, by an Irish left behind parent soon after my son was taken, was to set up a blog so that is what I did on 20 November 2012 having by then spent a year apart from my son. As I wrote at the time, the blog had two objectives: to re-establish contact with my son and to raise awareness of the issue of international parental child abduction.
In terms of the first of these objectives, I have been unsuccessful. I have not seen or heard from my son in, now, 6 years. That is a constant source of sadness and anger, neither of which yields with the effluxion of time. With each day that goes by and with each Easter, Father’s Day, my own birthday, my son’s birthday and Christmas I have to tell myself that my son is still too young to contact me directly. I don’t know what his proficiency in English is or even whether if, any internet restrictions at home permitting, it would as yet even occur for him to research the circumstances of his presence in Japan online. I know not what if anything he has been told about me and how this translates into whether he would if he could contact his father. Although I have some doubts about possibly ever seeing my son again and even were I to not until he is well into his 20s, I hope that this fear may be misplaced. I hope that one day he will find and read these frozen in time posts.
In terms of the second objective, I have perhaps been if not successful then certainly helpful. I have been contacted by not only fathers and mothers who have had their children abducted but also by people fearing that their partner might abduct their children. Providing what guidance I can has I hope made some difference. In responding to such contacts, it has certainly made me feel that a small amount of good has come out of all this.
When I started blogging, the expectation that Japan would, finally, sign the Hague Convention was reaching fever pitch and, indeed, Japan did accede to the Convention on 1 April 2014. Had my son been abducted 14 months later I could have got him back. As it is I cannot. Despite the accession of Japan to the Convention issues of abduction and lack of parental contact remain real and widespread ones in the Japanese legal system so I shall continue to update this blog whenever I can and continue to welcome contact from left behind parents and those fearing that they may become left behind parents.