Mayumi has a yen for Yamba
By ADRIAN MILLER
MAYUMI Abe has lived in New York and Tokyo and travelled the world, but still feels at home in Yamba.
Mayumi spent one year on the Lower Clarence in 1987 as a Rotary exchange student and left with fond memories.
She's back for a visit 17 years later. Mayumi always knew she would return.
"I'm so happy, it's great to be back. It's been my dream to come back ever since I left but because I've been so busy, it's taken me 17 years," she said.
After returning home to Japan all those years ago, Mayumi gained a university degree and hosted a show on Japanese television for five years. She moved to New York to be the Bloomberg Financial channel's correspondent for Japan. She filed reports from the stock exchange.
Back in Yamba, with husband Taro Matsumoto, Mayumi was ready to surprise her host parents from all those years ago.
After losing contact with them a year after returning to Japan, she hopes 17 years is not too long a time.
"My host families didn't know I was coming. I contacted their sons and daughters and told them, so they made sure they were home. I hope they remember me," she laughed.
Mayumi has lived in two of the biggest cities in the world, but is a country girl at heart.
"In New York and Tokyo people are so busy, but here it's so relaxed and people are so friendly," she said.
"My home town is small, so I'm a country girl. I feel really comfortable to be here."
Mayumi said that she knew 17 years was a long time, but did not expect to see a dramatically changed Yamba.
"I was surprised to see so many shops and cafes in Yamba," she said.
"I remembered only one restaurant in town, which was the Chinese restaurant on the corner. So when we ate out it was either the Chinese or the bowling club."
Keen to see old friends is former exchange student Mayumi Abe, pictured with her husband.