Monday, May 9, 2011

Home Sweet Japan Home

I can’t fully describe the joy that I felt when I finally arrived back home in Japan. Nick and I pulled up to our house and I got emotional seeing it for the first time in almost 2 months!

Front door entry of our house...

I got off the plane in Narita (the airport in Tokyo) and was immediately reminded of all the things about Japan that I had missed…

For one, the efficiency of the Japanese - After my long flight from Austin to LAX, then LA to Japan, I walked up to the quarantine counter to ask about my dog and unlike in LA at my layover, the Japanese man at the counter was already waiting for me…he had my papers in hand and greeted me by name! (In LA the people at cargo, quarantine and baggage looked at me like I had 3 heads when I asked where my dog was!)

Two, the food – Nick was waiting for Beretta and I at the airport, with a cooler full of snacks for the ride home. In the cooler he had some of my favorite Japanese treats…my favorite being the rice triangle! It’s the equivalent of a sandwich, with about 2 handfuls of rice molded in the shape of a triangle, and sushi (i.e. – salmon, tuna, crab, etc) in the middle of it, all wrapped in a piece of seaweed paper! YUM!

I DON’T miss the traffic…it takes forever to get anywhere in Japan, hence the need for a cooler full of snacks for our ride home from the airport…it took over 2 hours to get home after already traveling 20 hours! My poor pup is a trooper!

After the long car ride home I was too exhausted to go to dinner, but for lunch the very next day we went out for sushi! I couldn’t wait to eat real sushi again! We went to a sushi go-round (where the sushi goes around the restaurant on a conveyer belt and you just grab and eat) and had our fill of all our favorite kinds of sushi! That is one thing about Japan that will never get old to me.

Three, my house – I walked into our front door and was engulfed by the smell that had been so familiar to me before, and yet so far away for the past few weeks… the smell of aged wood and tatami mats! Mmmmm love that smell! Our house in Japan is a traditional Japanese house; complete with tatami mat floors, shoji screen windows, sliding panel doors and lots of wood! I love our house, and am so happy to be back in it! (Especially in my kitchen! I hadn’t cooked a meal in a month!)

Our yard....or what I call the Mr. Miyagi lawn!

Four, my Japanese students – My students were eager to start learning English again immediately upon my arrival. It’s that same enthusiasm that makes me LOVE teaching in Japan. Each of my students patiently waited my lengthy absence and were ready to learn again as soon as I got back, (seriously my first class was 2 days after I got off the plane) bearing presents and telling stories as soon as I saw them again!

Two of my students....Yumi and Yuuki

Five, my friends – Even though my friends aren’t Japanese (though some are) they still fall into the category of things I missed about Japan, because they are my friends IN Japan…what makes this place so great is that I have friends who I can share it with! It is those same friends who can also relate to my list of things I missed about Japan, because they too had to leave their lives in Japan and relocate to the States for 2 months or more.

Despite being glad to be back, it was still hard to say goodbye (again) to all my family and friends….my time there FLEW by super fast, but I got to see and do so much that I can’t complain! It was a wonderful trip home, (especially considering the circumstances) even if it wasn’t planned.

I have been back a few weeks now, but busy as ever (obviously considering it has taken me this long to blog)! Fortunately Nick has been home all this time and so we have been doing a bit of Japan exploring. This weekend, we went to Hakone for the first time….more about that in another post…

For now I am home, home sweet home in Japan!