The island of Okinawa shimmers beneath the wing of our plane, a dark green smudge on the azure seascape. I can’t see it well, ensconced as I am in the aisle seat, already subconsciously distancing myself from this visit. But my daughter, on the other end of the row, peers out the window with wide eager eyes, hungry for a glimpse of her first home.

Back in the summer of 2012, I bid an admittedly enthusiastic sayonara to the island I had called home for three years. My time on Okinawa was a challenging one. I never took to the oppressive humidity, the relentless typhoons, the many and prolonged absences of my husband that his job had entailed. Yet, somewhere in the middle of it all, a child was born. A blond-haired, full-blooded American girl who would leave the island as a toddler but who’d remain in Japan, growing increasingly curious of her adopted culture. And who would one day, inevitably, show interest in the island of her birth.

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