{Shaun in Japan}

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Thoughts from the airplane.

Posted by Shaun


My stomach is full of sushi and matcha. This is the feeling I wanted to leave Japan with. 満足。Manzoku. Satisfaction.

I was worried I would be full of guilt or worry about things I hadn't done or hadn't done well, but I feel okay. I cried when I said good-bye to Arisa and when I said good-bye to my friends, but I know this isn't the end. This is いってきます or まったね, not good-bye forever.

Nothing is over. Everything is beginning.

It sounds really cheesy, but that's how I feel right now. Everything is beginning. I accomplished a huge chapter in my life. I wanted to go to Japan. I wanted to learn how to speak Japanese. I wanted to learn how to read. And here I am.

I woke up at 10am and finished packing, and I guess I forgot to tell Arisa that I told her the wrong date and I'm leaving the 30th, not the 31st. So she asked me if I was going out today, and I said I'd be home until I had to leave at 2pm. Then my host mom came home from work and took me straight to lunch and the train station. I had known we had lunch plans but I wasn't sure on the time or who was coming. In the end, lunch was just my host mom and I, and Ryu and Erina were busy so I didn't get to say a proper farewell, but my host mom promised to pass the message on.

For lunch, we had kaiten sushi (conveyor belt sushi). It was really good but I was so emotional and nervous that I couldn't eat too much. Afterwards we still had time, so we went to a cafe in the train station and had frozen matcha drinks. It was really good, and filling my stomach with match and sushi right before heading to the airport was great.

It was really good to talk to my host mom too. I really appreciate everything she's done for me this year, and I'm glad I can finally talk properly with her. She kept telling me 日本語を忘れちゃだめ Nihongo o wasurecha dame ("You can't forget Japanese"). Yesterday I was so afraid that I would forget Japanese, but I'm not afraid today. As I told my host mom, ここまで来てから、あきらめるわけない。Koko made kite kara, akirameru wake nai ("After coming this far, there's no way I can give up"). I've studied Japanese for 5 years, through many times that I've wanted to give up. There's no way I can quit now. Now the fun is just beginning.

I can read with furigana or a kanji dictionary. I can speak my mind and I have friends to talk to and Facebook to write on. My journey with Japanese is just getting started. While that's frustrating in a way, I've achieved really temendous goals in the past year and I'm excited to see what doors that opens for me.

I definitely came to Japan with some idea of where I'd go in the future, but now I have no idea. While that's a little scary, it's not because I'm hopeless. It's because my future's wide open. I'm not going to follow some path someone else has set out for me. I'm going to follow my own path, and march forward. And I'll make something of my life. And I won't forget Japanese, or the people I've met here. I'll keep in touch. That's a promise.

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