Making contact

The open mic night was a lot of fun. It was my first time in many months going out to the city, and it was great getting to see people I don’t hang out with normally. There were a lot of Japanese people there, as well as a big crowd of ALTs, so when I played my three songs (the format was different; it was the Ugly Men (the band in the “midwest” who invites area ALTs out to dinner every Sunday night), then a break during which ALTs could play their own music, then the Ugly Men again) I got a bit nervous, but it was a really warm and supportive crowd. And–Dad will really like this–I volunteered to front the band and sing during “Hotel California” by the Eagles. The band was great, Rob on his sanshin was great (and he had some really fascinating tales to tell about the sanshin and his experiences in Okinawa), all the other ALTs who sang were great…it was a good night.

This afternoon I’m going to either drive up or catch a train up to Takamatsu, because I haven’t spent any time in a sizeable city I’m familiar with in a while–Sally’s up there so it’ll be nice to have some company while wandering around.

I think I’m being hit by a bit of seasonal depression again–not nearly as strongly as last spring, but I’ve been a bit down all week. I’m not sure if I’m homesick or beginning to come to terms with the fact that the end is very nearly in sight, or if I’m feeling a bit of both. I very dearly miss the company of my best friends from Atlanta, and there are times when I miss having a crowd of truly like-minded people to hang with (there are some wonderful people here, but while I consider myself a very liberal person, there are some points I have fairly conservative views about, which are different from many of their views). But different views aside, there’s a great group here…and thinking about the fact that the next flight I board will most likely be my flight to America is a bit painful.

I’m wondering if it was a good idea to put on Contact while tidying up today. The film and the book both move me to tears every time because they encapsulate me so, so well (particularly the film, I think)…I think the last thing I need right now is something to trigger my emotions and set me off, but at the same time, I feel like the message of the film is really relevant to what I’m doing here, especially at this point in my JET career, as I’m beginning my post-JET job search and assessing how it’s impacted me and will continue to from here on out. JET is a stepping-stone for all its participants. For some people, it has a very direct impact on their futures, and it makes them decide to switch gears to go into education or Asian studies or something related to Japan. For others, it has a more indirect influence, and for still others, it doesn’t have much of an impact at all professionally. However, it does impact all of us for better or for worse, and it changes our views of the world and what we want out of life, as well as how we all search for our own answers and our own truths.

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