Chasing Cherry Blossoms
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Friday, February 15, 2013


Hey, stranger. It has been FOREVER since I last updated you. But, almost two years and over seventy posts later, I’m not ready to let you flounder at the back of the cupboard just yet. It’s time for a revival, baby.

"I wanna be where the people are..."
I guess you could say this five week absence is rather telling. Coming back to Japan after three weeks at home has been more than a little strange. Most importantly, I’ve signed my papers to say that I’ll be coming home this summer. After two years here, it’s definitely time. A lot of the time, it’s easy to give into negative diatribes about Japan. Having been here for the time I have (and many are here a lot, lot longer), the gloss has faded and seldom do you get to have the kind of Big, New Experiences which made every weekend seem like such an adventure before. And now the papers are signed, everything’s kind of crystallized in my head: I know I’m going home this summer, so the motivation to commit to people, places and pursuing something new here is fading. You could say I’m slowly checking out. It’s kind of sad, I guess, but it’s something I’ve got to resist giving into entirely. I don’t want Japan to have completely lost its sparkle by the time I leave. Were I to have been given a city placement, I might have been able to stretch my experience to three years or even beyond. As it is, my time here is running out. Sunday nights have become something of a ritual, running a bath, donning my shell bra and swishing my hair under the water to “Part of Your World”.

Okay, it hasn’t quite reached that stage yet. There’s a lot I do still enjoy here. The freedom, the celebrity, (most of) my kids, the bottomless pit of good within some people here (my eikaiwa ladies are all angels)... Closer to home, stepping back and spending a few more weekends in Ainan, just me and Aisling, has made the inaka feel like home again. When you get into a weekly pattern of breaking loose every Friday at four o’clock on the dot (and not returning until late Sunday evening), home begins to feel like more of a stop-gap between weekends than actual home. Ha-chan’s back from Korea, too, so it’s been good catching up with her, as well as all my other long-lost Japanese friends. It’s taking time to appreciate what’s on my own front door that has made me feel more re-settled after almost a month away.

The Spring Break and Golden Week seasons are just around the corner, too! At the end of March, I’ll be jetting off to Yamanashi (just outside Tokyo) to see my drag sister, Josiah. We first met way back at my own Tokyo Orientation in summer 2011 and, although we chat online basically every day, on account of the distance between us, we’ve only had the chance to kiki once or twice. 

Last time I saw Josiah in Tokyo!
Then, at the end of April, I’ll be saying “sayonara” to Japan for a week and heading to the Philippines! It being a beach holiday, I’ve been hitting the gym four times a week since I got back in the hopes of building a little muscle on these bones (BEACH BODY ONEGAI). The hardest bit is all the extra eating that comes with it – I always thought I ate a normal amount, but having to eat above and beyond that is bloating me OUT. My kids have provided some moral support, though, cycling past my gym smiling and waving through the windows on their cycle-rides home. I don’t even mind that I’m a novice – half the time I go, it’s either empty (inaka yey) or full of over 60s lifting featherweights (inaka yey) – and hey, e’rybody’s gotta start somewhere, right? Not quite sure I’ll be Daniel Craig in Casino Royale in time for Golden Week, but Lord am I gonna try! 

Finally, I’ve at last got a car! Poor Nicola (my bike) hasn’t been ridden since she showed up (WEY). Sorry girl... at least we’re in this one together. Even if she does look like something a clown would ride to the circus, her arrival has been a complete game-changer. Readers, meet Carol:

Until next time...!

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