It's been nearly a week since I returned from my adventures in Japan, and I must say it feels like a distant and wonderful dream. You start to fall into old routines and habits, your only proof of that time is photos and your unwavering impulse to bow and say things like "sumimasen" and "arigatougozaimas" to poor unsuspecting people at the grocery store. ...But that's not entirely true. I've come away from Japan with far more than that.
I landed on the far side of the world with little clue as to what I was truly getting myself into. I've learned so much. The language, the culture... Though I do not claim to know everything about them, being in Japan, I find that I've absorbed a lot more than I could have ever dreamed. I've met so many wonderful and interesting people, both Japanese and foreigners. And I plan to keep in touch with as many as I can through facebook and skype.
Reverse culture shock is something I wasn't entirely prepared for, though I thought I was. Being stateside again, everywhere I go seems so loud, especially restaurants. Our local grocery store seems so huge. I haven't dared go to the Super Walmart yet... It seems I have become more quiet, if that was even possible. My family tells me I speak softer. I have to catch myself when I pause to wash and sort my trash. I can't drink Dr. Pepper anymore. Not sure why. I used to drink it all the time before I left, but now it seems I can't. Not sure why that is.
Though, don't get me wrong, I'm very glad to be home to see my family and friends. There is something comforting about returning home after being away. It makes you appreciate it more and pay attention to what makes your home unique and yours.
Truthfully I won't miss the internet, sorting trash, the coin washers, or futons. Though I must admit, there's a lot about Japan that I really will miss. The trains, the vending machines, really good Japanese food, SUMI E class, the fashion, tatami mats, my bike, Shimamura, festivals, sightseeing all over Japan....
But honestly, what I will miss the most will be all the friends I've made this last semester. There are so many. I couldn't possibly draw them all, but I was able to capture a number of them in my doodling. This last semester has been an adventure and a blessing that I'm sure will shape me for the rest of my life. I feel so thankful for all the people who have supported and followed me through my times in Japan. Thank you everyone and God bless!