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Leaving Japan

A person’s emotions are a crazy thing. Coming back to Japan (as you may remember from my previous posts) was very emotional for me, and there were many times throughout my two month stay that I felt anything from sad to worried, happy to satisfied. When I think about the months I spent in America this past year and then look at what I have accomplished in the last two months, I am amazed. True, there were days when it was too hot outside or I was too lazy or I was feeling too introverted and basically stayed inside watching TV and studying. But there were so many days when I spent quality time with old friends and new, productively working or studying, and adventuring and trying new things either alone or with others.

And it is in that light that I can confidently say that I am leaving Japan this time with no regrets. It is my goal in life to live life to the fullest, and not to mope about the things that I didn’t do or could have done. And here I am at the end of my time in Japan, and I can honestly say that I can look myself in the eyes and know that I truly did everything and more that I came to do, and that I don’t regret anything that happened or have any regrets about things that could have happened.

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Speaking of taking chances, yesterday something amazing happened. Something I am definitely taking a mental snapshot of to store away for a rainy day.

I woke up in the morning and wasn’t feeling great. Not terrible, but not very good. And that made me incredibly anxious. To this day I start panicking whenever the slightest thing feels off with my body. I know it is caused by anxiety, but I am not so strong as to be able to stop the anxiety completely from happening.

I had plans to meet with some people later in the day, so of course as the time neared I started to feel more and more anxious. I wanted more than anything to back out–to call my friends and tell them I couldn’t go, that I was sick, that I was busy…something, anything.

And maybe it is because I am in Japan and things literally are a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, or maybe I have actually gotten stronger as a person, but I gathered my willpower and told myself that the only option was to go.

And so I went.

And had the most wonderful night.

I got to go to a practice for the club I used to be in at the university where I studied abroad, talk to friends I hadn’t seen in months and had lost contact with, actually be of help being the only native English speaker in the group, and go out for sushi with a close friend and his girlfriend.

Even while it was happening I had moments of extreme anxiety, but I kept reminding myself of my goals–that if I left, if I backed out, I would regret it.

And getting through the evening not only am I regret-free, I am able to live today being proud of myself, and walk around with a smile on my face as I remember conversations and images from last night.

Quite like my experience yesterday, the rest of my days in Japan were similarly full of success. Sure there was nothing that noticeably changed the course of my life and I could have adventured more and met more people, etc. But at the same time, how many people can look at the last two months of their life and say they have no regrets? That they are 100% happy with the results, even if there were points of struggle? I certainly know people who cannot answer the same way as me. People who have regrets and are now living with the consequences.

Knowing now, with these experiences in Japan under my belt, that I am capable of living such a life, I hope to continue upholding such goals and cherishing every day that comes when I return to America. I know it will be harder, as my life in America is much more familiar and I won’t have the motivation or perhaps even opportunity to reach out of my little bubble to make things happen. But here it is in writing, blasted all over the web (or at least to the handful of people who are actually reading this–and to you I thank you) that I am going to make an effort to keep trying.

I would like to end this post with a heart-felt thank you to everyone who made this journey in Japan a success. Not just the people here in Japan physically like my friends from KUIS, my co-workers at IES, the summer students and all the random people I met, but also the people who kept in touch and gave me moral support from the US like my family and friends. I don’t know if you guys are actually reading this, but in particular I am thankful to Shun and Amber for always keeping in touch, skyping with me, and generally acting as if I had never left Minnesota.

Thanks for reading! The next time you hear from me I will be back in America…hopefully coming to you to write about my newest baked good and the beginning of my French lessons! đŸ˜€

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