Time is winding down, 2 1/2 years straight. 3 including study abroad. I thought I was ready. Yet here I am feeling nostalgic before I even depart. And I won’t even be stepping on a plane until sometime mid-Spring. This is getting weird and melancholic again. Why even force myself to start all over? I’m really gonna miss this.
I’m gonna miss walking into the conbini at any one of the 24 hours in a day. Grabbing a chu-hi and popping it open on the spot. No brown bag required. Pregaming on the way to the bar with a bunch of good friends. In between stoplights sharing a brief convo with some random salarymen. They probably are on the way home from an after-work drinking party. Or maybe the boss is forcing them to stay out longer. Regardless, we’re all on the same level of drunk and having a good ass time. The light changes green and we part ways.
I’m gonna miss walking. Getting lost and walking. Getting lost and walking, walking, walking. During the day or at night. Alone at 4:00am or surrounded by a few close friends. Tokyo is a city made for walkers. With each step I connected the dots. Built a map in my mind more detailed than a Seiko watch. I could probably make a nice living as a taxi driver here. I know these winding, directionless streets better than the neat grid of Philadelphia. I don’t know when the hell I’ll ever need this “useless” information. But with the Olympics coming, I’ve become a godsend to the huge influx of lost tourists here.
I’m gonna miss the beautiful expanse that is the Ibaraki countryside. Box car or Mamachari—dochidemo—cruisin’ off into the sunset. So much space to think. So much time alone. I never really knew what solitude felt like until I took that Joban Line north. I wrote my heart out. Drank lots of wine on those Friday nights. Went to Nyan Peace around 10, World Peace after midnight. Fast forward to Tuesday nights and I’m playing basketball with the locals.
So much routine. My life ran like a well-oiled machine. I didn’t even use an alarm clock to wake up in the morning. As much as I love the ever-interesting big city, I miss the order and easygoing pace of Ryugasaki.
I’m gonna miss the best friends. People I love. People who make me reconsider the idea of home.
Home is where the Love is.
I’m gonna miss teaching kids. Although I don’t want to do it in the future, I’m still gonna feel a bit sad when I teach the final class. Kids reinvigorated my youthful side. Their naivety has gotten me to really think about things in a different way. I’m gonna miss their perspective.
I’m gonna miss all those little things about Japan that you might read in a Buzzfeed article:
Politeness, cleanliness, beautiful scenery, McDonald’s…Efficiency, 24hour everything, kawaii everything…
Chu-his, restaurants with single seating, the last train home…
Japan—but mainly, the experiences I’ve had here—made me who I am. I have never felt more “me” in my entire life. Thank you Nihon. I’m ready to shine like a Quasar.