As the clouds roll through

I taught a few of my 3rd-year kids how to say “hi” and “hey” instead of “hello” during school cleaning time this afternoon. I love how amused they get with this sort of stuff, especially trying to emulate my cadences and my nonregional American accent.

It’s crazy to think that I’m going to Kyushu in just over a week…I need to book hotels (I booked a ryokan in Unzen (and I’m going to go onsen…I think I’m going to reserve the family one all for myself for an hour), but I still need to find places and I’ve booked business hotel rooms in Kumamoto and Beppu) and borrow a backpack from someone, but I haven’t decided if I want to take everything in a big backpack and pack light, or take my duffel and put a small backpack in there so I can just take out the backpack and stuff the duffel in coin lockers when I’m going around. The latter sounds convenient, except that I don’t want to have all the weight on one shoulder, since carrying too much weight has done something to my left shoulder, and the former would distribute the weight evenly through my torso, but it’d be a lot to lug around all the time. I just hope the weather, which is listed as rainy and then cloudy through this time next week, will be a lot more favorable and that I can actually make it to the edge of the Naka-dake crater in Aso this time.

Tomorrow afternoon is the Tokushima returners’ conference. I sent Caitlin another mammoth e-mail today after reading over the kinds of things Lindsay sent me around this time 2 years ago, and I’m going to be shipping my first box home in the next couple of days. After this week, I’m realizing that I’m coming around to admitting–very slowly and grudgingly–that I think I’m ready to leave. I’m not ready to leave the people here, and there’s a lot I know it’ll be hard to let go of, but my time as a longtime Japanese resident is definitely coming to an end at the right time.

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