Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The sun sets on 3 years in Japan

Well, this is it! Joe and I are flying out of Japan tomorrow morning, so this will be my final blog post. A lot of mixed feelings right now — sadness that this journey is coming to an end, excitement about moving back, being near family and resuming a life where certain everyday things are less of a challenge.

We've had an incredible three years living and teaching in Japan. During this time I've done so many things I never dreamed I'd do. Standing in front of my first class of Japanese teenagers, I wasn't sure this would turn out so well, but I adapted to teaching and came to appreciate its many challenges. I've studied Japanese and learned it well enough to express what I want to say, albeit simply. I've been to the top of the world — watching the sun rise from the top of Mt. Fuji — to the bottom of the sea — swimming with sea turtles in Okinawa. It still blows my mind to even think about it. And besides traveling throughout Japan, we also spread our wings and went abroad, to Thailand, South Korea, China, Hong Kong and Macau. It's been an exhilarating and mind opening three years, a true adventure. When I came to Japan, I had a precious opportunity to be immersed in Japanese culture. But I also had the chance to see my own country and culture in an entirely new light, and now I'm coming away from this experience with a whole new perspective on America — its wonders as well as its weaknesses. Now, just as I once wished I could combine the best aspects of my ex-boyfriends into the perfect prince charming, I find myself wishing I could somehow combine the best of both these lands into a sort of paradise.

The Japanese have a saying, "Sumeba miyako," which literally translates to "If you live there, it's the capital" — the capital being the best place to be. So wherever you decide to settle, that place becomes home. After three years calling Hiroshima my home, I think this certainly applies. There is much I'll miss about Hiroshima and Japan. Tomorrow morning I'll be leaving a piece of my heart in Hiroshima.

Thanks to all of you who followed me on this journey. I've enjoyed sharing it with you.

さようなら日本、また会う日まで —> Sayounara Japan, until we meet again.


echo said...

Farewell! I hope you continue to blog, I love reading what you have to say. You have been so lucky to have had this experience, it's one I wish I could have some day. It's been fascinating to learn about Japan from you, a fellow American.

Good luck on your future journey!

Alexis said...

Thanks for sharing your adventure cousin! If you ever miss your Japanese expereince I'll stop by and make you some white rice!

Jaclyn Coy said...

Wow, what an amazing blog to stumble across. As your journey culminates, my thoughts of Hiroshima are transpiring. My husband and I just found out that we will be moving there in 2 months, where he is taking a 6 months overseas gig at Mazda. We are originally from MI, now living in TN. I graduated with my masters degree in K-6 education this past May and am wondering if it is even going to be possible to get a 6 month job teaching English. Any tips? Or thoughts to consider? Thanks!
Jackie jaclyn.coy@gmail.com

http://tiny.cc/jaclyncoy teaching portfolio
http://onenightaweek.wordpress.com/ cooking blog

Gerry Gomez Pearlberg said...

I just want to thank you for this wonderful blog. I am planning a trip to Hiroshima and found myself at "Lost in Translation," which has been helpful in planning spots to visit. Many thanks!