Four years ago when we were preparing to move to Japan we stumbled across a few great blogs about living here in Japan. There was one thing they all had in common; they just stopped. It's like the people writing the blog just got too busy or something - wink, wink. While my posts have also died down this Sayonara post is one thing I will most definitely not forget.
It seems impossible to predict the emotions we will begin feel upon our return to the good ol' USA. Each time I start to think about it I allow myself to get distracted by something less meaningful, like thinking about cleaning up my computer files at work or sorting and packing all of the things that we've bought here. I'm working up until four days before we leave and we are keeping Ella in school until the last minute. I'm basically setting myself up for an airplane breakdown at this point.
To sum it up, there are just a few things I want to say about living in Japan.
1. I will never, ever not help someone that is struggling or looking lost. Never. Ever. There are a few certain people that have helped our family along the way. From helping us get an apartment to translating important documents from Ella's school, we could not have survived without them. However, there was also the guy in the suit that showed us how to buy a ticket at the subway on our first trip to Tokyo. There are the two guys that helped me carry Ella's stroller up the subway stairs in Shibuya without me having to even ask. The guy at Family Mart that showed us we had walked 6 blocks in the opposite direction of our hotel, during a typhoon. The flight attendants that carried our bags all the way to our seat while we were traveling with Ella. The list could go on, but I think you get the point.
2. You learn to appreciate western things more: western toilets , conveniently located elevators, not feeling guilty about changing up your order to include no mayonnaise, ovens, 4-burner stoves. Things like that.
3. You learn to appreciate some not-so-western things: No talking on phones or talking loudly on public transportation, multiple parks within walking distance of your home, tiny dogs in clothing, vending machines with coffee, fast noodle shops...heated toilet seats...chu-hi's...
4. Respect. If you allow yourself, you can learn a lot about what it means to be a positive citizen of the world. I suppose that could be said of moving by yourselves to any place, not just Japan. We felt so welcomed by everyone we met, we learned to respect each other in a whole different way and we learned to respect the (sometimes goofy) customs of our host nation.
We hope you have enjoyed keeping up with our little adventures and our beautiful Ella! Who knows what will happen next! Sayonara!
Our last day in Japan. Finally, a photo with the Autumn maple leaves!