Transitions and tears

I started this list a few days ago, but ever since I got back from my trip, it’s just been go-go-go, nonstop. I’m at Julie’s house right now (spent the last two nights here, and the three nights before that at Brian’s, and am heading back to Brian’s tonight, to watch over stuff while he’s in India)–I need to finish doing laundry and head out to run many errands around town (make a copy of her key, go to my BOE and talk to my boss about all sorts of stuff, hopefully close my bank account, finish packing and shipping my things). This is what I’ve been up to…

  • Hakodate – ika odori (squid dance), rude rude rude people
  • cool train in between Hakodate/Aomori, with exclamation points on the sign board when we entered the undersea tunnel connecting Hokkaido and Honshu
  • Aomori (canceled hostel stay at the last minute) – Nebuta Matsuri was FREAKING AWESOME!
  • train mishap, slight layover at Morioka shinkansen station
  • Sendai – awesome! Sendai Mediatheque (masks, interactive and traditional art/media exhibits), the nice view of the city from Aoba-jo, spending two days with my wonderful professor and her wonderful family, taking in the really neat Tanabata Matsuri decorations
  • return Osaka-Tokushima bus ride – sat next to an older woman who looked startled/horrified once she realized I’d be sitting next to her, and then proceeded to STARE AT ME FOR AN HOUR STRAIGHT
  • saw a really sweet teacher I work with give me a big wave and smile in Tokushima Station, which made me feel much, much better
  • got home, cleaned my place, my landlord helped me pack out of there
  • stayed at Brian’s 3 nights, got used to keeping his cats out of my things
  • greeted Caitlin, spent ~6 hours 3 days in a row taking her around, helping her out, taking her to all the schools and city hall and giving her a driving lesson
  • went out to lunch with two of my favorite eikaiwa ladies (they already said they’ll gladly come to America for my wedding, haha)
  • went to a farewell dinner (which kind of ended up being the westie post-Group-B-arrival meetup) thrown by the head of the Miyoshi City International Society, then up to the castle/pirate ship park in Mino, where we watched the stars; I saw 11 meteors
  • canceled my cellphone account, finally
  • had a man, a bus driver who recognized me from his routes in Ikeda, pay for my lunch at Paparagi
  • went up to Nishiyama with Chalice and her mother and Julie
  • said goodbye to many teachers, to friends, to my lovely eikaiwa students, to my wonderful JTE
  • cried quite a bit
  • went out for what might have been my last round of karaoke in Japan
  • went to watch Awa Odori in Tokushima City last night, on opening night–today’s Packing And Shipping Day, so I don’t know if I can make it out again tonight…I’ll be dancing in the city tomorrow night and spectating in Ikeda Wednesday night
  • called my parents today for the first time in a while, and probably for the last time before I leave

It’s Monday morning now. Three mornings from now, I’ll have left Ikeda and Tokushima and will be in or near Osaka. Three full days–that’s all I have left in Japan. The number doesn’t mean much to me right now, though. But the reality of the situation is sinking in–dealing with my suitcases and remaining parcels, seeing how Caitlin has begun to redecorate what used to be my apartment, and all the tearful farewells I’ve gone through and will continue to go through. It’s just impossible for me to fathom that this past weekend was my final weekend in Japan, and that next Saturday and Sunday I’ll be in Atlanta.

I’ve thought a lot about what sorts of things I should write in this entry, since it may very well be the last entry I write while I’m still in Japan. I’m coming up blank, though. How do you sum this all up? What can you say to properly capture something like this in words?

I think I may have to do some paper-journal writing and then come back and post it here. I really need to get going–so much to do in such a short time. At least I’m out of my apartment, so that’s one big stress behind me.

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