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Rose in AkanA month after Rose moved to Hokkaido, Japan, what was widely considered the most powerful earthquake in the world that year shook her, stunned, out of bed.

While it’s distance from the island was considered a mitigating factor in the lack of destruction, most news sources agreed that it was mostly because “Eastern Hokkaido is barely populated, with no major structures.”

In the tiny towns of the stunning island, there was almost always only one English teacher, and therefore, we started to refer to ourselves as [Name] in [Town] or [Town] [Name]. And thus, for two years, I was Rose in Akan.

Today, life couldn’t be any more different. I’m far more concerned with taxi attacks than bear attacks. I don’t have to worry that when I open my curtains in May, my car will be covered in two meters of snow. I don’t drive at all, let alone eight hours to my best friend or a Starbucks. That doesn’t make me long any less for the days when I didn’t have to spell my long, foreign last name out to everyone. I can be, simply, Rose in New York.

For events, reviews, and stories about my new neighborhood, Astoria, head on over to Rose in Astoria.

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