Thursday, December 30, 2010

Waking from the Dream

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!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Day 112 in Japan

So the past couple days I have been packing and shipping some things home. Everyone is been going home and the shoe cubbies downstairs are starting to look bare.

Shanikia and I decided to do some last minute shopping at Osakako by the aquarium. We dicided to take the giant ferris wheel for the fun of it and to celebrate our last couple days in Japan. It's supposed to be one of the tallest in the world at 112.5 meters high.

Shanikia and her money fan...

Universal Studios Japan!

We could see all of the Osaka bay area from the top. It was very neat.

Crunky chocolate...

Yesterday, Cory, Kirsten, Brooke and I went with Mei to the limousine bus station at Hirakata station to see her off and help her with her luggage.

I had lunch with Yumika, Brittany, Amanda and several others at Kappa Sushi. Afterwards I hung out with Yumika for the rest of the day.

As a going away/ forget-me-not present, Yumika bout me a stuffed rabbit since I was born in the year of the rabbit and this new year, 2011, is the year of the rabbit. It's sooo adorable! Yumika named it さくら(Sakura) after cherry blossoms. I've nick-named it Saku-chan (means to blossom or bloom.)

All this about year of the rabbit has got me thinking a bit. This year, the year of the tiger is about to become the year of the rabbit. My friend Becky who visited earlier in August was born in the year of the tiger. It kind of seems like fate that we, who dreamed of going to Japan as kids growing up together, had the chance to go and have fun in Japan at the time that our years (tiger and rabbit) intercept. Not that I believe that there's really deep meaning in it, but I still think that it's kind of neat.

It's nice to think of such things instead of dwelling on the sad goodbyes. Alex made it safely back to Seattle. Elyse is in New York. Theresa left early this morning and Corey, this afternoon. So many people are gone!

Tomorrow at 9am our room will be inspected. Shanikia will leave after that and I'll hang around Seminar House till 3 when the taxi is supposed to come to pick me up. I can't believe my stay here in Japan is practically over! I'm excited to go home, but at the same time, I'm going to miss my friends and this place so much! I've learned a lot and my Japanese is worlds better, even though I'm still not fluent. I'm restless and excited and sad and nervous and thankful I could come but anxious for the flights ahead and oh my goodness! I can't believe the semester is over!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Day 110 in Japan

So yeah, I sold my bike back earlier this week.

Had to return my KGU sticker to the CIE and my Seminar House sticker to Otousan.

So Wednesday through Friday was finals exhibition for SUMI E and Ceramics.

They were out of black paper at the bookstore so I bought red. These were my final pieces I submitted.

There was a lot of really nice work!

Me and Yumika.

We got certificates of completion in our mailboxes.

So Mei, Shanikia and I went to Denden town yesterday and went to the Gundam store. I took a lot of pictures for my bro.

A sign in the Namba subway station. "There have been incidents where people have messed with sleeping people. Please be careful." My really rough translation...

I thought the picture was funny. The guy on the right kinda looks like Hitler...

Anyways, I'm pretty much packing and getting things ready to leave Tuesday. 3 days...