Letters II



Dear Dad,

We just got off the phone. OR, to be more accurate, we just finished skyping. I’m watching some English pop music videos, relaxing in Chika’s kitchen house. I’m just writing lots of people letters, from pages torn from my sketchbook. Sometimes, I wonder why I write anybody letters anymore, since I rarely get them in return. I’m teaching myself Japanese & Italian online.

The fellow next door, who used to WWOOF (volunteer) here, moved here a while back to build a house nearby. A great sign that this place is a stable, positive environment that makes people keep coming back. I’ve been rather lazy the past few days, just reading, drawing, watching TV, with the exception of morning chores, I feel this is a much needed break.

I have a large silk piece I’ve been working on but haven’t taken on lately, for fear of the mold that spreads everywhere in this neverending humidity. There are as many people on this island as there were at Reed College: ~2,000. So everyone knows everyone else’s biz, and the likelihood that I’ll be dating anyone in the next few months-year are very low.

Speaking of romance, or lack thereof, I’m grateful that you shared your current situation & frustrations. Fortunately, it seems you are surrounded by family & friends. Plus, business is booming.

You have healing hands.

Your daughter,

Kaori Freda



Dear Aunt Jennifer,

And Robb, Wyatt, Teagan, Toni-bell, & puffy dog:

HOW ARE Y’ALL! I write to you from a remote island in the middle of the Pacific – a 25 hour ferry ride from Tokyo harbour. I’ve been volunteering here, building houses, and it’s pretty perfect. So, since I can’t be home in Portland to celebrate the holidays with our big Freda family, let me send you this handdrawn letter instead. Wyatt, I’ve been listening to this UK pop band named Clean Bandit, and I think you would like their song & music video called Rather Be. Antonia has really matured since I’ve been in PDX. I heard Robb got a slick new car, and I bet Teagan is popular @ school, as always. Jennifer, I mis you oodles and your famjam! How is Bodhi? Calmed down any from ecstatic puppyhood?



PS: The ants here smell like cherry pepsi when crushed.

PPS: Pelan Village, where I live in Chichijima, Ogasawara, grows starfruit, coffee, wingbeans, papaya, oranges, passionfruit! Dnd they bake amazing bread in a Dutch oven over an open fire!

PPPS: I’m using Duolingo & Memrise to teach myself Japanese & review Italian. HOORAY! Now my mom can stop asking me if I speak fluent Japanese, already.

PPPPS: Please write back telling me about your lives.


 Dear Grandpa,

I’m so glad you’re resting up at a plush spot next to the river. I want to hear more of your crazy photography stories. Can we Facetime soon?

You remind me of this goofy cartoon character from a popular children’s show called Adventure Time. Stay icy!

Love you oodles of noodles,



PS: I’m writing to you from an island far from Tokyo. I’m planning to visit China and India before returning in 2017. I’ll write you more often!



Dear Mom and Karen,

Happy Holidays! What will you do, where will you go, what aromatic foods will you consume? Thanksgiving is no big deal here so I’m eating a lot of chocolate to make up for it. $50 worth, to be exact. I’m listening to some classical tunes. I’m mostly glued to my computer screen in my free time. Especially if its raining. Otherwise, I’m reading, napping, or drawing. Or swimming, snorkelling. It’s a leisurely life. Sure, I have to do 6 hours of work a day, but I think it is worth it, especially if I can manage to accrue more freelance writing gigs. Enough about me & my thoughts. Here’s a volley of question you need to answer in an email (or LETTER!)

Mom: Tell me a story your mother told you when you were a young girl. Who was your first crush, and why did you like him? Which food did you hate as a child? Tell me more about how you first joined your church. And finally, tell me more about how you tortured your first cat, Milk.

Karen: How do you feel about going back to Reed next semester? Which middle school cafeteria food did you hate the most? Do you enjoy my letters?




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