How I Got Here: Petra Canan Trudell

BoardPetraI’ll never forget the moment I found out we were moving to Japan because I nearly burned dinner. While my husband and I had been looking to move out of the United States and out of our native Michigan, Asia wasn’t on our radar. It just seemed too far, too hard, too removed from everything we were used to.

But now, almost three years later, I can’t imagine having chosen another path. We made the move to a place where every daily task can come with its own unique challenge, and we’ve become better people for it.

For me, the hardest part was leaving behind a career that had taken so long to get going. Many people I encountered expected me to do little more than go shopping and socialize as a steadfast, silent cheerleader for my husband. Taking the first steps to put myself out there was a challenge that left me wrecked by anxiety some days, but it was through the amazing women I’ve met in Japan that I found my place here and pulled myself away from the draw of comfortable stagnation. They kept their ears open for job opportunities, passed along names and email addresses and set me up on blind friend dates. They checked on me when I was sick and invited me to spend holidays with them.

Joining FEW was a first for me as well, but I was welcomed with open arms. The genuine interest in helping one another succeed flies in the face of awful stereotypes associated with women. We’re not here to compete with each other but to propel each other forward. And that’s a beautiful thing.

I’ve accomplished more professionally and personally in these three years than I ever thought possible. Each little milestone has served as a reminder of the strength, determination and grace inherent in all women . . . we just have to tap into it.


Q&A with Jackie F. Steele and Megumi Ishimoto

Leading up to our upcoming monthly meeting on ‘Celebrating Women as Change Agents in Post-Disaster Tohoku,’ we’re featuring a Q&A with Jackie F. Steele, a political scientist at the University of Tokyo, and Megumi Ishimoto, Executive Director of NPO Women’s Eye. The Q&A is modeled on the Proust Questionnaire, designed to reveal insights into the respondent’s personality. Join us […]

Published on 14th March 2018

March Strategic Partner Member Offers and Other News

Check out the latest member offers and opportunities from our Strategic Partners here! Our Strategic Partners are committed to bringing the best services and products to FEW members. And go to our Strategic Partners page to learn more about all of FEW’s Strategic Partners, who not only support FEW’s activities but also provide professional and personal services […]

Published on 1st March 2018

February Meeting Recap: Survivor – How to Overcome Adversity

You never know where life is going to take you. That was the message from our February guest speaker, Maxine Van-Cliffe Arakawa, who has had a decades-long career as a fashion stylist, make-up artist, and fashion show director in New York and Japan. She shared her personal experiences dealing with bi-polar disorder and gave her candid advice to […]

Published on 1st March 2018

March Community Services Feature: Five Tokyo-Based Organizations That Fight For or Empower Women

In honor of March’s International Women’s Day, we’d like to present to our FEW community a list of five organizations that have established themselves as organizations who fight for or empower women as well as a list of five events that you can attend to show your support for this year’s theme of #PressFor Progress. […]

Published on 28th February 2018

How I Got Here: Johanna Nousiainen

I first came to Japan as a study abroad exchange student. That year changed my life, even though at first I didn’t know it would. I was supposed to become a journalist in Finland, since that was what I loved to do – looking for information, interviewing people, writing articles about unique encounters you have. […]

Published on 28th February 2018