So long, farewell

My last full day in Japan is here.

I had such high hopes for this week, in terms of visiting places and stuff like that–I’ve been requested to revisit Hashikura Temple and chat with Miwako’s supervisor, who enjoyed the minute-long conversation we had when Genna and I went there, and I really wanted to visit the Awagami paper factory/museum in Yamakawa. However, it’s after noon and I’m still at Brian’s house, wrapping up. I inadvertently slept in a bit because I got home after 1 AM.

So far I’ve spent this morning evading the cats (keeping them from clawing up my stuff and each other, and keeping them from leaving the house), trying to clean up (and discovering that Yukino really doesn’t like brooms–she was growling at it), pack, and put my things into boxes. I now have to go return 2 boxes and buy 1 smaller one, for the few items I have left. I just got word that my first two boxes made it home intact! That gives me hope for all the rest, then, though it may still be weeks till they arrive.

This evening is dinner with the westie ladies who’ll be around, and Ikeda’s Awa Odori. Tokushima’s was a blast. Besides one guy being a jerk about the fact that I messed up during one set and it threw him off (give me a break, we aren’t a professional dancing group!) and a near-fight that broke out at the end of the night, it was a spectacular time, and I’m so glad that I’ll leave with those memories of a revitalized Tokushima City fresh in my mind.

Before tonight, I have to revisit my board of education to settle final stuff like utilities and payments (I’m really proud that I was able to successfully close my account and get a bank draft on my own, though doing the latter meant going to the main branch in the city, but that’s all right), pick up thank-you gifts for my boss and landlords, and write and give a note to the Paparagi mama-san, whose aunt made a really nice silk quilt wall hanging that I bought, and she wants to know more about me. I also have to go vacuum my car and dispose of all the temporary trash bags I’ve been accumulating as I’ve lived out of my car and my friends’ places, so I can prepare it for Caitlin.

At the airport, I have to look for my airport toiletries bag, which I think I packed by accident, and swap that out with the actual toiletries bag I’ve been using but can’t take on the plane with me. I hope I can find it, but if not, at the very least I have my toothbrush and travel-sized toothpaste, a small bottle of lotion, and a small enough deodorant stick with me at the moment.

I thought today would be pretty sentimental, and there’s still time for that to happen (I really want to find some time to walk around and take photos of stores and areas around town that I haven’t yet, and I hope I can, and to drop in on a few more people to thank them for all they’ve done for me these past couple of years)–but in the meantime there’s still a lot left to do. It hasn’t sunk in that I won’t be here tomorrow, that this is it. I don’t know when it will sink in–maybe only when I wake up at 5:30 AM tomorrow and take my bags to the bus stop. Definitely when the bus pulls up to the terminal. I’m ready, but thinking about leaving is making me feel like I have a heavy weight in my chest.

In case I don’t get another chance…okay, I just sat here for about 15 seconds, staring at the screen and hoping something would come to me. Nothing is. What a daunting prospect this is–I’m leaving my home in Japan for good. I’ll view it as a home in future visits, but I know I won’t be living here ever again. I’ve never experienced this sort of heavy finality with any of the transitions I’ve made so far–it wasn’t a big deal when I finished university because I was still in Atlanta anyway. But this, though…this is something else entirely.

Of course I’ll keep updating from the other side, about reverse culture shock and the like, but for those of you who’ve been reading, thank you so much for sticking with this blog and with me these past two years. Hontou ni osewa ni narimashita. My next entry will be from America, so I’ll see you on the flip side.

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