Catori Sarmiento

Stripes Japan

Editor’s Note: Catori Sarmiento has been a military spouse for 13 years and lives with her husband and daughter on Yokota Air Base. An accomplished writer, she just published her first novel and also took time to submit a special poem for Month of the Military Child (see right). Stripes Japan recently sat down with Catori to get her take on life as a military spouse and a writer. Check out her work at

Stripes: Tell us about your family.

Catori: I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, specifically in a little town called Bremerton in Washington state. Most of my family still lives there or in the surrounding area. As a military spouse, one typically has to make family wherever it presents itself. Besides my husband, we have a young daughter, and friends.

Q. What’s life like as part of the military community?

A. Excitingly hectic and dependently supportive. From constant moves and the necessity to adapt to change, the military life is at times chaotic. However, there is a common mindset in the community that we ought to support each other as best we can. This is especially true if one is living overseas or if the military member has a particularly demanding career.

Q. How long have you been in Japan?

A. By luck, we have been here for seven years. It has been a wonderful experience!

Q. When did you first start writing?

A. There was never an instance where I can say I officially began writing, as I had always done it from a young age -I still have many of the stories I wrote in elementary school. Professionally, I decided to write about five years ago after attending an MFA program. It can be a little more of a challenge to do so while stationed overseas, but in the digital age it can be done.

Q. What inspires you?

A. People and places. Many of my best ideas have emerged during train rides.

Q. Why write a novel?

A. I started writing novels to see if I could do it, honestly. It takes a sustained amount of dedication to not only write a novel, but also to finish one; I wanted a challenge and I wanted to tell a story.

Florets in the Summer Breeze

To those born under Eagle wings:

Like florets in the summer breeze,

you are carried,

settling on lands familiar and unknown,

spreading roots in oft hard ground,

to bloom as rainbows.

- Catori Sarmiento

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