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Daniel's Story Chapter 4.

4. 1992~1993 in Sendai

4.1. Our church
One of the first things we do after arrival in Japan is look for a church. We have never lived in Sendai, which is about 300 km north of Tokyo on the Pacific Ocean side of Japan, and thus have absolutely no idea where to go.
It happened that our good friend Lars Grasjo, who lives in Hitachi, is just about to go back to Sweden. In the beginning of May he drives all the way up to Sendai and we inherit his old car. Thus we are mobile, and the age of the car makes the adjustment to driving on the left side less painful (at least from the monetary side, since we do not intend to repair the bumps our car gets). Because of Lars' generous gift, we are able to move freely in the city and we visit several churches, whose addresses we find in the Yellow Pages. Churches in Japan come in various denominations and sizes. The smallest one we visited was a drum playing pastor with his family. When we attended Sunday service, we were the only non-family members.
Maybe we were biased from our church in Germany, which was rather large with approx. 400 people attending the Sunday service, we decided to look for a bigger place.
After a few weeks we decide to settle down (spiritually speaking) in a Baptist church very close to our appartment. We can walk every Sunday morning down a step slope and reach the church within 10 minutes.
The pastor has a family of three children; the youngest girl, Mika-chan, is just Daniel's age. Many church members are our age and have families. Several younger singles, some of them students, and a couple of grandmas and grandpas compete the picture of a church with 50 members. We feel very much at home right from the begining, but Yuki has a hard time translating for me, since my Japanese is still very limited.

4.2. Daniel's sister is born
When we came to Japan, Yuki was already in her 4th month of pregnancy. Yes, we are expecting another child and this one will be born in Sendai at the end of September. As explained earlier, soon after Daniel was born, we already decided that we wanted to have other children. Now our dream is about to come true, and we are af course very anxious about it. Will it be a boy? Will it be a girl? How does Daniel react? He was the absolute center of our life, demading very much attention, sometimes around the clock. Will he accept that from now on there will be another child to care of? Even though he is physically small, his mental development is normal and as a 2 1/2 year old he can already understand many things. Of course we prepare him for his little brother or sister, but we do not know how he will react after he or she is born.
The big event draws near and Masako, Yuki's mother, Masako, comes to Sendai to help us. On the evening of Sept. 26, the contractions start. Yuki and I leave for the small hospital we have chosen for the delivery and leave Daniel with Masako at home.
In the early morning of Sept. 27th 1992, our second child, a girl, is born. She is healthy! No sign of a heart defect, or any other anomaly! We decide to call her Yumi Katharina. "Yumi" in Japanese means "to bear fruits" and this is exactly what she is depicting. She is another fruit of our family.

Daniel visits Yuki in the hospital and he is very proud of his little sister. He easily adapts to the fact that she needs attention, too. And this she does! She is very active, and seldom keeps the normal 3 hour breast feeding interval. Also at night, she wakes up fairly often and has to be fed. Now the time comes that Yuki and I cannot eat dinner together anymore. One of us is eating while the other is taking care of the two kids.
But Yumi is getting bigger and less demanding within the next months.

4.3. The decision to stay in Japan
My work is interesting and I decide to apply for an extendion of  my scholarship for a second year. Just after my extension was approved by the German Humboldt Foundation in May 1993, I get an offer from a Professor at Hokkaido University to join his group as a Research Associate. His offer comes as a surprise, since Yuki and I did not think about settling down in Japan for a longer time. What shall we do? Deny the offer and go back to Germany where a slump in economy has depressed the market for university graduates? The offer is very interesting. I will have a permanent position in one of the prestigous public universities in Japan. The research field is very interesting, and I already know my future boss for a couple of years.
My professional future is not the only big decision we have to make. Even bigger is the fact that if I accept the offer, Daniel's next operation(s) will be performed in Japan. Japan is the second biggest economic power in the world, the health system is excellent. The proverbial correctness and faultnessless of Japanese products stems from the painstakingly clean working conditions in Japanese high-tech manufacturing. Even though many of the local hospitals are very small and managed sometimes by one doctor only, the university hospitals are big centers where the treatment is done by professionals who have access to the most modern equipment. Daniel should be safe in Japanese hospitals as well.
After a 2-3 weeks of considering my chances in Germany versus living in Japan, we decide that I shall accept the offer.This means that we will spend at least the next 5 years in Japan.

4.4. Life in Sendai
We chose the university clinic for Daniel's follow-up. The doctors in Mainz gave us a letter, which we handed over to the doctors in Sendai. Daniel's medication with Aspirin to prevent blood clotting, digoxin to strengthen his heart performance, and diuretics is continued, but I am astonished that Aspirin can only be prescribed for a duration of two weeks. By law, Aspirin in Japan is on a list of controlled substances and can only be prescribed for two weeks at most. By stating that Daniel takes two doses per day, we are able to stretch the time betwen two hospital visits to one month.
Daniel is doing well. He has no cramps anymore and no infection. All together a very pleasant time. I keep my promise and be at home as much as I can, even though I am busy with my work as a researcher at Tohoku university.

Concerning Daniel's health, our time in Sendai is the easiest we have up to now. Winter gets fairly cold in Tohoku with snow and minus temperatures, but Daniel does not catch a cold. We only go to the hospital for the regular check-up every month. The new year days 1993 we spend with Yuki's family in Sapporo. 1993 continues to be really a big blessing for us. Spring comes, and with it the cherry blossoms. Now we are nearly one year in Japan and we celebrate Daniel's third birthday. He still cannot walk by himself, but when I take him by his hands, he makes some steps. One way he learns to walk is together with Yumi and their small indoor car. Yumi sits on the seat and Daniel grabs the seat post. When Yuki moves forward, Daniel halfway walks, halfway he is dragged forward. When Yumi does not want to use the car, we place a 5 kg pack of rice or a few heavy cans into the car, so that it doesn't topple over when Daniel grabs the handle.
The year continues as it began, very pleasantly. We get visits from friends in Germany and Japan. We travel a lot this year, visiting Sapporo once more in summer. Autumn draws near and we prepare to move to Sapporo shortly after Christmas 1993.



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1. Chapter 1.

1. Introduction
((uploaded Nov 1, 2000 last update Dec 12, 2000)

2. The first months of his life

2.1. Daniel's birth
(uploaded Nov 27, 2000 last update Dec 12, 2000)

2.2. First Operation
(uploaded Nov 27, 2000 last update Dec 12, 2000)

2.3. On the normal pediatric station
(uploaded Nov 27, 2000 last update Dec 12, 2000)

2.4. Our church and the Heart-League
(uploaded Nov 27, 2000 last update Dec 12, 2000)

2.5. Life in Mainz
(uploaded Nov 27, 2000 last update Dec 12, 2000)

3. His first year

3.1. His first baptism
(uploaded Nov 27, 2000 last update Apr. 24, 2001)

3.2. Christmas in hospital
(uploaded Nov 27, 2000 last update Apr. 24, 2001)

3.3. Cramps
(uploaded Nov 27, 2000 last update Apr. 24, 2001)

3.4. Second operation and first near-death
(uploaded Nov 27, 2000 last update Apr. 24, 2001)

3.5. The decision to go to Japan
(uploaded Nov 27, 2000 last update Apr. 24, 2001)

4. 1992-1993 in Sendai
(uploaded Apr. 24, 2001)

5. Daniel's School Days
(uploaded Jan. 24, 2003)

9. His death
(uploaded Mar 13, 2001 last update Mar 13, 2001)

10. The days after
(uploaded Mar 13, 2001 last update Mar 13, 2001)

11. A New Life
(uploaded Jan. 24, 2003)

12. Annotations

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