Emiko Kuisel | Batesville, IN

“I came to Batesville 12 years ago. This is my husband’s hometown, so we decided it is a good place to raise our children. We have two sons; eldest was 3 years old and the youngest was 6 weeks old. Batesville reminds me of Kyoto, my hometown. Both are small, quiet and people are friendly. I like that.

Initially, it was a bit of a struggle – everything was new, I wasn’t able to converse well in English, and I don’t have any Japanese friends. I was into my fifth year when I met another Japanese lady at the YMCA, and she introduced me to Ai Brown. The three of us met often after that for lunch. That was nice, but everybody is busy with their own lives. 

When my youngest entered preschool, I had a lot more time for myself. I tried working part-time in various places, but they were not fulfilling for me. So I decided to relearn Japanese calligraphy, which I’ve learned when I was in school back in Kyoto. My skills improved tremendously. I sold some of my work at Etsy, but I yearn to have human interaction in what I do. I wanted to teach calligraphy, and opportunities came when I opened a small studio in Montgomery, OH. As more people knew about my teachings, my class grew. Recently I was asked to teach one class at the University of Cincinnati. They liked it so much that they offered me to teach there. So I am starting the summer classes soon. It has been a wonderful journey.”

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