I remember when my wife and I were still dating back when I was a university student. It was 2004. We were both young and excited about the unlimited opportunities ahead. Our whole future in front of us. One night, sitting at a restaurant in Hawaii, we came up with the idea of opening a bed & breakfast. We both liked cooking. We loved meeting people. It would be great! Meeting visitors from faraway places. Sharing good meals and stories together. It really made a lot of sense. Someday…
Fast forward to 2014, I had now been teaching full-time in Osaka for several years. My pregnant wife was at home taking care of our three-year-old daughter. That little dream of starting our own bed & breakfast had now almost disappeared. Regular life had taken over, but something seemed to be missing.
In March of that year, I planned a trip to climb to the top of Omine-san in Nara Prefecture. Over the years, I had built a special connection to the village Dorogawa Onsen nearby that mountain. I would occasionally travel there and had become friends with the locals. It was sort of a spiritual escape for me. During this specific visit, I had plans to make my way up to the temple and pray for the healthy birth of our second daughter who was due in May. I was able to do so, but badly slipped and fell in the snow on my way down.
After falling, I was trapped in the snowy mountain for several days without food or fire. I did everything I could to get out, but could not. After one week of surviving in the bitter cold, I thought my time on this earth was over. I would never be able to see my children grow up. I would not be able to see my wife again. Despair set in.
But then a miracle occurred. Even though, I was incredibly weak after a week in the elements, I was able to climb back up the mountain and find a trail back to the village of Dorogawa Onsen. My family was there waiting for me. Being reunited with my pregnant wife and daughter was the happiest moment in my life. It really was a life-changing experience. I think even destiny.
A few months after the accident, my wife and I decided that life is too short and the future is unpredictable. Therefore, we should follow our dreams. We decided now was the time to start our bed & breakfast. Once we decided to follow our dream, everything fell into place.
Six months later, we moved to lovely Wazuka-cho with our two little daughters. We opened our bed & breakfast in 2016. We have had many visitors from faraway places. And we have been enjoying sharing good meals and good stories with our guests ever since.
(Michael, Ikuko, Olivia, Margaret)