March 30, 2009
The view you see above is the one I saw every day for the past 4 years. It was the view from my 11th floor Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan apartment. It was a view I paid a lot to have. To me, it was totally worth it. It was the last of many places I called home while spending the past 9 years abroad in Asia. I first lived in Pusan, South Korea. After 3 years in various cities in that country, and several trips to southeast Asia, I took a 2 month pilgrimage in New Zealand before settling on my final Asian destination: Japan. That country was my home for the last 6 years, a period of time so long I came to believe I never actually had any other home and it was perfectly normal for me to be living in a place where I could not read any sign nor talk to any person. Though I thought it was forever, like all things, it was impermanent and lo, I have returned to Florida and my mind is still processing everything from my decade abroad.
I will not go into full detail here of my decade abroad (perhaps that will be a book someday) but just give a brief summary of the recent present. But do not expect any sweeping conclusions or grand insights about Asia, for it almost already feels like I have closed that chapter in my mind as it once again bends toward the West.
I had a good farewell to Japan and Asia in general. I spent the last month there living in Aya’s parents’ home with them. I visited all my favorite Tokyo spots for the last time and ate at all my favorite restaurants saying farewell to the waiters and waitresses that knew what I wanted without me having to say anything.
I spent my final day in Tokyo simply: hanging out in Yoyogi Park with a few friends. My last night in Tokyo there were no LOST IN TRANSLATION moments of any kind. I felt nothing really.
Then after enduring the horror that is air travel I was back in the Sunshine State, back to where I lived the majority of my life, back to where I had escaped from 9 years earlier, back in Florida.
And that’s that.
I had two farewell parties in Tokyo, one smaller one for just a group of students who were like family to me while I was in Japan, and then a large one where all friends and students past and present were invited, as well as Aya’s friends. I was very flattered that over 50 people attended that one.
I will let the photos below do the talking for how those farewell parties went.
And as for the future of Jack-in, well, I still have some things to post on Japan about, and my fiancee/wife is Japanese after all, but undoubtedly things will take on a much more Florida tone besides all the usual movie and TV reviews and sports stats reports.
Filed under Featured, Florida, Japan