Writer / Calligrapher
Spent his high school years in Bangkok. Majored in cultural anthropology at Waseda University and studied Thai branding. After graduating from Waseda University, she worked at a local hotel in Thailand, where she was in charge of public relations, banquet planning and arrangements (weddings and parties), passenger and travel services, and corporate sales for general companies, as well as serving as a guide for government officials, celebrities, and corporate VIP clients.
After returning to Japan, she worked for a Thai government agency in Tokyo as an interpreter for the minister and was in charge of marketing and branding to promote trade between Japan and Thailand. She has been living in the UK since 2017 due to her husband's relocation. She has been living in the UK since 2017 as her husband was transferred there. As a writer, she writes about travel, daily life, and current affairs.
During her stay in the UK, she was fascinated by the beauty of hand-drawing and began studying calligraphy at Sutton College. In 2020, she launched "Surreymay Calligraphy" in order to spread the appeal of calligraphy, and has been working on collaborations between different industries such as graphic designers, artists, and English teachers. She has been working on the cover title of "Colorful Animals," a coloring book by artist KENTA AOKI.
Member of the Calligraphy and Lettering Art Society (CLAS), UK
DAYS / Purleymay Column
"What do you think of when you think of England?
"...a song about London...
This was an exchange on "Japan with Sue Perkins," a program on the British public broadcaster, BBC.
Sue Perkins, a comedian, actress, and writer, was asked about geisha in Kyoto.
Sue was unhappy that in England, where there are so many iconic icons, the only one chosen was not even London Bridge itself, but rather the "Song of London.
He was also shocked when he was told that "Americans and English people are the same.
As someone who lives in Japan, which is so far away from Europe that it is called the "Far East," my image of England is not much different from that of a geisha, and at most it is the Union Jack.
It was one of the countries I wanted to visit as a travel destination, but I never thought I would live there.
This is exactly what I meant when I said, "I never dreamed of it.
As we had spent our bachelor days in India and Thailand respectively, Yangon was rather familiar to us geographically, and we were fine with either. Although Yangon is now in trouble due to the military coup....
Around this time four years ago, in June, I landed at London Heathrow International Airport with my child.
June in the UK is already early summer, and I can now recognize it as the best season of the year to spend time in.
In fact, the driver of the car service I used from the airport told me, "It's hot again today, it's already summer..." As a newcomer from Japan, I was shivering from the cold wind blowing and had no idea how it could be "hot and summer.
It may seem persistent, but I can now say that "summer in England" is beautiful and refreshing, with sunny days and blue skies.
However, this is only a small part of the overall rainy season, and in fact, it is common here to have a sunny day, only to have rain the next day.
This year, for example, we were so excited about the unseasonably warm weather in March, but the next month it was back to winter.
It used to snow every week.
After noticing this fickle weather pattern, I became incredibly grateful and uplifted when the weather cleared up even a little. This is something that I have consciously acquired, a kind of wisdom for living.
The house we were planning to move into was still occupied at the time, so we decided to rent a house that my husband had moved into earlier.
The house was usually used as a share house, so it had a lot of rooms and bathrooms and was very spacious.
However, at that time, this vastness was too much for me.
Since I had just come from Japan, I had no idea to turn on the heater in June, but at that time, the heater itself was set to be off due to the season.
However, as a habit I acquired later, in the UK, the time to turn on the heating is when you feel like it, regardless of the season.
At that time, it was cold enough to turn it on.
But I didn't know that, and I was shivering on the sofa every day because it was always chilly and dimly lit inside the house even though it was sunny outside.
I basically didn't have any long sleeves because my belongings hadn't arrived yet.
Although the house was fully furnished, there were still no familiar cooking utensils or cookbooks, and as I could not cook without recipes, the unsatisfactory food and unfamiliar ingredients literally made me feel unappreciated.
To make matters worse, there was no electricity in the bathroom, and although it was summer and the days were long, it was still dark by the time I took my bath every night.
I had to grope my way around in the dark, but fortunately the bathroom on the third floor had a window, so as long as I could get to the bathtub, I was able to get by with the little light that remained outside.
I still didn't know the geographical composition of the house, so I didn't know where it was located, but the view from the window was of a garden and beyond that, a forest covered with trees.
The only other houses that peeked out from time to time were roofs, and the rest of the houses lined up toward the hill were visible in the distance like paintings.
What is this fantastic scenery?
It's like something out of a fairy tale, a Western-style house that suddenly appears in the forest!
While admiring the scenery, I felt sad and sad.
I hadn't decided on a school for my children yet, and I didn't know anyone nearby. The only people I talked to outside of my family in the past few weeks were my landlord, the principal of the school I went to visit, and the engineer who came to repair the electricity.
It was as if we were living a reclusive life in anticipation of our "stay home" at the Corona disaster that had been going on since last year.
When we turned on the TV, all we could see was a report of the terrorist attack on London Bridge the night we arrived.
Ten days later, the Grenfell Tower, which was said to be the deadliest building since the end of World War II, was ablaze.
At the time, the United Kingdom had decided to leave the European Union (so-called "Brexit") the year before, and in a bad way, it was attracting attention in Japan. And then I came here and found myself in this situation. I overreacted even to a casual message from my parents, and even thought of unrelated things like, "Did my family bring bad luck from Japan? I was even thinking about something unrelated.
Let's go outside.
Let's go out.
On the weekend, I left my child with my husband and walked around the city by myself for the first time.
I noticed a lot of churches. As if invited, I wandered in and was approached by a smiling woman.
It was the first time I had a private conversation with a Briton, not a "business meeting.
There, I learned that the church held weekly gatherings for parents and children, which acted like a children's center in Japan.
For the first time, I made a mommy friend.
In July, I participated in a picnic for the first time.
I was invited to a home for the first time.
Visited a local festival for the first time.
In August, I bought a bicycle.
Until then, I had walked everywhere, except when my husband drove.
It took me a long time to get around with a toddler.
On the weekend, I rode my bike alone for the first time and went shopping.
With just one pedal stroke, I was sliding forward.
My vision suddenly became as high as the driver's seat of a truck.
The early summer breeze cut through my whole body, and it felt good.
This is England.
I put all my energy into my pedaling feet.