After my husband and I had our daughter in 2005, we decided to move from New York to Maui, then Tokyo, and later Santa Monica. We currently live in San Diego. Raising my daughter in Southern California, I’ve come to realize that her current environment is nothing like that of my own childhood. I grew up in the industrial area of Tokyo. There were many small manufacturers and houses right next to each other. Children ran through narrow alleyways and explored the neighborhood without adult supervision.
On the other hand, here I see rows and rows of beautiful homes. Nature is serene and tranquil. Children live in protected environments. They are given everything they could imagine wanting. The housing boom made it possible for everyone to have a spacious home. Parents drive SUVs to drop kids off at school. There are houses being built on land where there used to be coyotes and bobcats.
One day, another parent from my daughter’s school said, “Someday I want my kids to see the outside of this beautiful bubble.” She grew up in San Diego and is raising her children in the same neighborhood where she grew up. The title of my new series, “In This Beautiful Bubble,” came from this conversation. I am curious to observe how children grow up in this man-made utopia.