I’m alive

I’m back! I just haven’t posted due to exhaustion and illness. The trip was nonstop, without many chances to rest up, but for the most part it was brilliant–I had such a blast there, met new people, got to become closer to some relatives I rarely see…there are a lot of stories I can tell.

To be honest, it was a lot harder for me to return to Japan than I expected it to be. I was pretty miserable the evening I left Hyderabad. I think a big part of it was just being in a familiar culture and around familiar people, and having to return to something that’s still so foreign, despite how much time I’ve spent here. It was my first time seeing family since I got here, and it made me realize how much I do miss my family and friends back home. It definitely didn’t help that my very first contact in Japan upon my return was a woman at customs who was cheery and all smiles with the Japanese man in line ahead of me, but stopped smiling when she saw me and was cold and brusque towards me.

Somehow, though, I had the fortune of chatting for 20 minutes with an American guy who was an 8-year resident of Japan on the 1st floor of Kansai while we were waiting for our buses home (somehow, I thought my flight landed at 12:30 PM, when it actually landed at 6:30 AM–I had 2 hours to kill before the first bus back to Tokushima, which I was able to score a seat on), and then sat with a really friendly English-speaking Thai gentleman on the bus ride to Tokushima (he even gave me his contact info and encouraged me to contact him if I ever came to Thailand), and then dropped by Big Brother’s for lunch (while getting a grin and a familiar, “Heyyy!” from Dave at the taco stand) and chatted with the American chef (not Norman, the guy from Kansas with the facial hair) and Japanese waitress, both of whom were really warm and lifted my spirits a lot.

And then I got pinkeye. Or bacterial conjunctivitis, as it’s technically known.

I’m doing really well now, though…it first cropped up last night. I took today off because I really felt crappy this morning (my eyes combined with the not-so-bad head cold from Sunday which was considerably magnified when I woke up), so I went to the town doctor (the whole staff is really nice, and it’s always an ego-booster to get “nihongo jouzu!”ed by any Japanese people), and even just after leaving the office, before I’d even taken any medication, my eyes felt a lot better (most likely from the doctor turning my eyelids inside out to examine them, which must have aired out the worst of the bacterial gunk). My cold’s not as bad, either (I caught it while in India–the dust situation there is terrible, so be warned if you’re making a trip over there–when taking off from Hyderabad in the evening, the city lights illuminated the really thick pall of dust and particulates hanging over the city, and it was disgusting to see)…I hope I’ll be feeling up to staying at work the full day tomorrow, and that I won’t have to leave early.

I should go venture into the kitchen and pack up my leftover pasta for lunch tomorrow…and I do say “venture” seriously; I can see my breath in there, and I had to de-numb my hands and feet after spending 15-20 minutes preparing dinner. I won’t be spending much time in there this winter, unless I feel like asking for the kerosene heater promised in my contract that I don’t have. (It really warms a room nicely, but the fumes it puts off are so heady…I use my apartment as a relief from the gas-fume-scented teachers’ rooms and classrooms I go to daily during the week.)

Anyway, good night! More later…maybe; my time in India doesn’t really fit into a journal focusing specifically on Japan, but I’m sure I can pull something relevant to mention here.

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