Sunday, June 4, 2006

the last two days

The fact that I am leaving Japan tomorrow has not quite sunk in. Yes, I have finished my packing, and I only have a few more items to collect for my trip to Vietnam, but in all other senses, I am not prepared to be leaving this country.

Last time I departed Japan I spent a few days making the rounds of my favorite places and squeezing in those spots I had always wanted to visit. I said goodbye to friends, reminisced about the good times, sang all my favorite songs at karaoke, and ate all my favorite Japanese foods. This year, however, I just haven’t had the time. I guess it’s a good thing; I haven’t thought about missing all the people and things of Japan, and I haven’t become sad about leaving. But at the same time, I’m sure I’m going to get home and regret not eating yudofu or natto or ika or shou creams one last time. I’m going to yearn for one last ride through my favorite temple, and one last lazy afternoon under the trees of the Kamogawa River.

Japan has many quirks, most of which have ceased to surprise me, but which continue to amuse me. Like the man whose job it was to guard the sunken sidewalk so no one stumbled, or the mysterious hand movements of train conductors.

I can’t say I am incredibly sad to leave Japan, but I will miss it, for sure.

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