Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Leaving Japan is Freaking Me Out

Writing therapy time!!!

Automatic reaction to all of this talk about my time in Japan coming to a close:  Don't pack anything.  Stop cleaning apartment and desk.  Mope.  Go shopping.  Get teary often.  Hoard everything that says "Made In Japan" and has funny English on it.

I'm vacillating between the denial and depression phases, it seems.  

I'm not sure why I feel this way, honestly.  This happens to me a lot, where my head is confident in a choice or accepting of a situation, but my body won't surrender the way my mind can.  So I think, "Yes, this is for the best, and everything will be fine," but at the same time my heart is breaking and salt water is escaping my face.

That's how I feel right now.  I chose to end my time in Japan, and I stand by that choice.  I could stay here if I wanted to.  I could get a job or make it happen one way or another.  But the ties that bind are still drawing me to America.  I want to be with my family.  And I want to build a family, and I want my son to know his cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents.  I know that I will be happy to be in my mom's house and to see Rocky, that great big affectionate German Shepherd of hers.  I love my spacious apartment in Japan, but it is quite moldy, and I never felt at home in a home that I always knew I would leave.  I have become comfortable in Japan and I can get things done when I need to, but it will be nice to be able to help myself in more complicated situations and understand stuff going on around me, e.g., I will be able to read and understand vocabulary for people over 10.  

On the other hand, it kinda makes life more simple not to understand what is going on around you.  I've learned a unique kind of acceptance that definitely took a lot of energy to achieve.  At first, in my first 6 months here mostly, resistance took a lot out of me.  I had to learn day by day to let go.  It was a hard earned state of being, but worth it.  Now when I can't figure out a more obscure use of the ATM I know how to ask for help and I'm happy to accept it.

I'm anticipating how it will feel to drive on the other side of the road, and I hope I still have hair after 2 or 3 days of getting used to it.  I really should think about all of this anticipated stress.  I know that I can choose a different perspective and make things a lot easier on myself, and starting with this post, that's how I plan to deal.

My official JET program goodbye party is this Saturday.  I know.  Whoa.

My goodbye BBQ for my English conversation circle is on Sunday, but we will still have a few more meetings after that.

And in the next few weeks I'll have to give goodbye speeches to large audiences in Japanese.  

And no matter what I do, I don't feel that I can ever repay the wonderful people of Japan for their kindnesses to me.  All the invitations and dinners, all the gifts given to Knox in grocery store aisles and at birthday parties, their willingness not only to give me directions but to walk me to where I want to go, refusing payment for services over tiny mistakes, and many other acts that made this foreigner's life in Japan happier and easier.  

Ok.  I feel better.  But I still have a lot to do.

From Japan,



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