I came to Japan about a year and a half ago, and I remember seeing lake Shinji. Feeling that lonely serenity - a perfect balance of darkness that fits me. And that’s where I fell in love with Japan.
Matsue was my first love, but I knew there was more. And now, I’m in a bigger city - this is where I’m meant to be.
I thought I reached the peak of my happiness, but it keeps growing. And it’s coupled with a fear of turbulence, falling into precarious situations. But it’s a good thing, because nothing is perfect. Rather, perfect is imperfect, beautiful chaos.
Though I’m being melodramatic - I’m blood type A+ and I’m going up a great path.
All I have to say is, thank you so much 神様 and all the wonderful people in my life. ^o^
"So, are you excited?" one of my friends asked me yesterday.
I thought back to the night before of my farewell 送別会 with my co-workers. We ate at my favorite shabu shabu restaurant and sang Karaoke. There was a point where one of my co-workers sang a song with lyrics, loosely translated, “you’re going but you can come back and we’ll hang out…” Sorry my Japanese isn’t the best, but it evoked a poignant, なつかし sentiment - a few tears shed, but I held mine because…
I’m supposed to be excited? In less than one week, I’ll be leaving Matsue.
Above is the picture of Lake Shinji, taken the day I fell in love with Japan. A dark, but brilliant scene - balance. There are many moments I’ve felt alive and growing and it all started in Matsue. I’ve always considered myself water. With a beautiful lake and ubiquitous water pathways, this city fit me. But I know I can’t stay.
I’m going - on a crescendoing wave, one I know is right. But I’m leaving so much behind - diminuendo. And together it’s equilibrium. Just like the small waves on the Lake - it’s a serene scene.
In simpler terms, I’m sad because I’m leaving. Going somewhere I’m so grateful I get to go. Leaving and going are the same movement but bring out polar emotions. What I’m feeling is the result.
I’ll miss my friends, my students, the beauty, the calm, the cultural firsts that elicit keen awareness… but I’m still growing. Thank you 神様 for everything I had and have in my life.
It’s been a week since I returned from my vacation in America. Of course, there were a lot of observations I made during my slightly reverse culture-shock experience. But it mainly had to do with appearances at a local New Jersey Mall and the DMV.
The following thing comes to mind when I think about the New Jersey suburban female: leggings as pants.
I wasn’t aware that was still a thing because I only saw that in college. But it was everywhere in the mall. And it’s so very American - it’s that casual culture where you wake up, put on sweatpants and do errands. I even saw a couple pajama pants.
Right now, I’m sitting in a bookstore cafe in Japan, people watching outside the window. No pajama pants in sight. Rather, there are very well-dressed and coordinated couples, ladies in heels and well-kept hairstyles. I don’t live in a big city, so I guess you could compare this to the New Jersey of Japan. Aside from the odd fact that each woman who is wearing a long skirt is also wearing a knit cap, people look nice. And a few of them probably dressed up just to run errands.
What’s a cause of this culture difference? I think it’s caring what others think. Americans pride themselves in not caring about others. Japanese people always do.