The last few days have been a whirlwind of traveling, jet lag and various emotions, and now I can finally say that I am thrilled beyond belief that I am in Japan.
By no means am I trying to say that I was not excited to be here before today, but there were so many thoughts and feelings swirling around inside of my that it was hard to get a handle on reality and how I truly felt. Ever since I left Japan last semester, the thoughts at the forefront of my mind at any given time revolve around Japan and my ability to return.
Although I was craving the culture, being able to walk everywhere, food, conbini, and other such things, what I missed the most were the people; my American friends I met in Japan, Japanese friends that went to the same school; Japanese friends I met in America. It was challenging, frustrating and even strange sometimes to maintain or even form relationships with these people after leaving Japan. Especially because there came to be a point where I had known them longer being separated from them than I had known them in person. And there is a certain disappointment that comes with realizing that no matter how hard you try and no matter how invested you are in the relationship, texting, snapchatting, facebooking, instigramming and skyping in small windows of opportunity from time differences just don’t allow for the kind of friendship that meeting in person allow for. And while I wanted to come back and see all my friends and make up for time lost, when I got to Japan I had to face the reality that my friends had school, work, clubs, homework and families. And fortunately or unfortunately I happened to befriend the people who are plugged into everything possible and are more busy than most.
Another feeling I had in coming to Japan was again related to people and maintaining relationships. When I first returned from Japan last January I spent much of my time tending to the relationships I made in Japan, and distancing myself from previous relationships as I felt that people who knew nothing about Japan or studying abroad could not relate or understand my emotions and place in life. But gradually I rebuilt and developed relationships in America…just in time for me to return to Japan. Just as I was able to comfortably do things with a variety of people–in person–I left them, once again causing potential damage to our fragile relationships. Because of this one of the many emotions I felt when coming to Japan this week was one of loss. The loss of the potential the relationships could have had if I had stayed and developed them in the time I will be gone.
So between these feelings, extreme lack of sleep, and coming off of two weeks of finals while working two jobs and packing for Japan, things have been a little crazy. But somehow today I woke up with a sense of inner balance–or at least a temporary peace.
It has also been hard to wrap my head around what to do while I am here.
That may sound incredibly strange, but while it is amazing and comforting to be in the same location where I studied abroad, it also means that I know everything in the area and don’t feel the need to adventure around because I know where everything is and already have my own preferences for certain stores and restaurants. But there is also pressure to do something exciting because I don’t know what the future will hold or when I will be able to come back to Japan.
So part of the resolve that I believe is contributing to my inner balance is the conclusion that I can relish in the little things, understanding that there is a period of adjustment and that little things such as being able to walk to work and go to a conbini for lunch and see a friend for coffee in the evening for an hour are as important and valuable as day long excursions to far away places and doing things I have never done before.
I want to conclude this post by saying that I am truly happy to be here. There is something about life in Japan that makes me feel more comfortable with myself–both in the sense of who I am as a person and my image of myself. I feel confident and worthwhile, proud of my abilities and of my path in life. Perhaps it is because I don’t have to experience “real” life while I am in Japan–that my experience here has been the light class load of studying abroad, and the adventures that come from having an “internship” over the summer when nothing else is required of you–but I truly enjoy who I am while I am in Japan, and because of that, Japan is my happy place. ^_^
(I also want to talk about culture shock, and the things that are different or similar both between my life in America and Japan, and also my pervious times in Japan and this time in Japan. However I want to have a separate post dedicated to that topic as I have found it to be interesting and something I would like to talk about at length!)
Thanks for reading! ^_^
Look out for future posts about my adventures in Japan!