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This is my Nanowrimo for this year and also my first story on this site. Take note that this is the unpolished first version draft and I'm adding it as I go along. I'll come back to edit later. In the meantime, if you spot any mistakes, feel free to point it out. Enjoy.


Chapter 1

“Stop sulking, Alison,” her mother muttered disapprovingly. Alison shrugged and gazed mutely at the scenery outside the plane window. She was angry, yes, but she didn’t have the courage to go up against her tigress mother who had once taken Taekwondo classes back in Japan. It wasn’t her fault her parents had to choose this time of the year to move all the way across the globe to the US. Just because they felt stifled by the Japanese society didn’t meant that they had to do something so drastic. Couldn’t they have just moved to some nearer- Africa- maybe? She would probably have had more fun playing with the hyenas than staying in boring old US.

“America is your homeland, dearest, you should never forget that.”

That was one of her mother’s all-too-typical phrases. True, she was technically born in America but she had been living in Japan for twelve years. And while the Japanese typically didn’t approve of Caucasians in the country, she could fit in pretty well in school despite being part of the minority. Alison had once read about mean high school girls in those romance novels she bought and she wasn’t too pleased to find herself in the shoes of the new girl- vulnerable and susceptible to the teasing and bullying.

“Alison, look at that pretty bird!” Her sister, Carrie, who was two years younger than her, pointed at a magnificent eagle which was gazing curiously at them as it flapped its arch wings. Alison sighed once more. Even Carrie seemed excited about enrolling in an American high school but probably because she had a thing for American guys.

“Look, what’s our school’s name again?” Alison asked morosely.

“Cornwall Institution! Isn’t that just so cool? ” Carrie gushed happily and her sister rolled her eyes. Alison didn’t like the name. It sounded way too old-fashioned. She liked her old school which was called “Seifu Senior High School” in Kyoto. That sounded more refined and elegant and besides, everyone was always sunnily polite there.

“Where are we staying, Dad?” Carrie shook her father who was flipping through a Sports magazine and he didn’t look all too pleased to be interrupted during his leisure time.

“Some flat in Seattle,” he grunted.

Some flat in Seattle? Alison had a vision of some rundown apartment with cracks and paint peeling off the walls and she grimaced. She wanted to remain in the large spacious traditional house that they had rented in Japan which was called Machiya. They even had a small little garden and a pond where she reared some goldfish. Why were her parents sacrificing all these luxuries to stay in one of those box rooms with nothing but skyscrapers in the background?

 “Look Alison,” her mother said softly. “I know it’s more difficult for you than the rest of us- leaving your friends behind and having to start afresh again.” Alison listened quietly, wondering what her mother was implying. She continued, “And I want you to know that we didn’t leave Japan because we hated it but because we want you to grow up in a place where you can truly be someone you are.”

 “I can do that in Japan. I feel like a Japanese already! Why can’t we apply for a Japanese citizenship? I don’t want to be an American!” Alison blurted out and blushed. She wasn’t used to talking back to her mother. In Japan, they were always expected to address their parents all the time. Somehow, the idea of going to a foreign land had made her shed off all those customs she had learnt during her childhood. That made her even more pissed.

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