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Meet the Residents: Kenji and Yuriko K.

An exterior shot of The Moorings at Arlington Heights

Kenji and Yuriko K. have lived at The Moorings of Arlington Heights, a retirement community in the suburbs of Chicago, since 2014. Their journey to The Moorings, like so many residents, is full of fascinating stories and abundant life experiences they now share with their newfound friends and neighbors.

From Japan to America and Back Again

Kenji and Yuriko were both born in Japan before the start of World War II. They grew up in the country and were there when the war struck.

“During the war, we had a really hard time,” Kenji shared. “My house was burned to ashes by bombings. My wife, Yuriko, was in Nagasaki and she became a victim of the atomic bomb. Fortunately, she’s healthy now.”

Despite the hardships of the war, Kenji and Yuriko both finished their schooling and with dreams of coming to the United States to study, they worked hard to become proficient in English.

In 1958, they both made their way to the United States, although at the time they didn’t know each other. Kenji was sent to Chicago by the company he was working with and Yuriko came to attend college.

The couple both achieved academic success in their separate fields of study. While working, Kenji attended Roosevelt University in Chicago where he received his bachelor’s degree, BSBA. Yuriko attended Miami University in Ohio and earned a bachelor’s degree in arts, as well as a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Art Institute of Chicago.

In 1962, Kenji and Yuriko were married in Chicago, where they remained for the next 16 years. Kenji worked in marketing and sales, and Yuriko taught art. Later, they moved to Northbrook, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago.

In 1997, the couple moved back to Japan while Kenji worked for a joint venture company. In 2004, they both received U.S. citizenship, and in 2014, they moved into The Moorings.

“Since then, we’ve had a very good time,” Kenji said.

Moving to The Moorings of Arlington Heights

It’s not uncommon for new residents at The Moorings to know someone who lives at the Arlington Heights retirement community. However, that wasn’t the case for Kenji and Yuriko, who did not know any current residents when they moved to the community in 2014. Their reasons for choosing it were based on other considerations.

“It was primarily the size of The Moorings and the space,” Yuriko said.

“We chose The Moorings because we thought this place to be the best. Some [retirement communities] have big buildings people live in but here they’re on about 35 acres with lots and lots of open area,” Kenji agreed, adding, “There are many other retirement communities but there are some we visited that were very expensive. From that standpoint, The Moorings is reasonable.”

Kenji and Yuriko also liked the continuum of care available and the close-knit nature of the community.

“They have a very good system, with a focus on three things. One is the people’s health with opportunities for exercise and so forth, another is providing healthy and good food, and the third is the social aspect. They put an emphasis on everyone becoming good friends,” Kenji explained.

Active Living at a Diverse Retirement Community

The Moorings is a community with a multitude of heritages represented and shared amongst residents.

“There are many people from different backgrounds, which makes living here interesting,” Kenji said. “We have lived here for the past five years and we’ve made many friends who are very nice.”

Yuriko added that there have been opportunities for her and her husband to share their heritage with neighbors and vice versa.

“For example, every New Year in Japan we used to wear the Japanese traditional costume, and so I try to wear the traditional costume each new year at The Moorings,” Yuriko said. “And we share many Christmas customs with other residents.”

Some of their favorite things to do at The Moorings include attending exercise programs, gardening in the outdoor plot, and participating in committees.

“There are many committees that you can be a part of,” Kenji explained.

Yuriko, who has had a lifelong interest in the arts, enjoys attending operas. The Moorings has a door-to-door bus service and frequently takes groups of 20 or 30 residents to the opera.

“Chicago’s lyric opera is really fantastic,” Yuriko enthused.

The couple also enjoys hosting their son and his family, who visit once a year from Singapore. With guest rooms available on the campus, it’s easy for the family to spend quality time together at The Moorings.

Yuriko and Kenji are just two of the many residents who make The Moorings the open-minded, friendly community that it is. To learn more about The Moorings and the people who could one day be your neighbors, follow our blog or download a brochure.