The two faces of Japan. For that much, the same two faces are present in every country.
Deciding to leave is quite different than contemplating departure. Many people urged us to go after the March 11, 2012 quake, but we were not yet "ready" to leave. There is a time for everything, and we've been waiting for that time to come for a long while. This blog was created, perhaps in part, as a way of finding my way emotionally to that point. It has been and will continue to be a review of my experiences here, both psychologically and experientially. It has helped me take account, remember, and notice. It has helped bring me to this point in time. My husband and I are leaving Japan after nearly 23 years for certain. The tickets have already been reserved and paid for. We are going on March 29, 2012.
This decision came on the heels of a lot of personal changes including some very tragic and hard ones related to our families, but mainly it is driven by the fact that we are ready to move along to the next phase of our lives. Our deeper contemplation of the path our lives has taken and should take relates quite smoothly with Erikson's Generativity vs. Stagnation stage. In fact, without realizing it, we fell right into that age range when we started contemplating departure. Frankly speaking, we are happy in Japan. We love many things about it and in many ways, our lives here are better than they have ever been and that is part of why it is time to leave. We've hardly experienced everything there is to experience nor seen all there is to see, but from a personal growth viewpoint, this is as far as we believe being here is going to take us. Other people may find life here endlessly challenging, but we all have different goals and needs. My husband's and mine are taking us back home, finally. We could stay and be happy, but relatively stagnant in the areas that matter to us personally.
Though I'm only blogging about this now, the decision was made before this post was written. I didn't want to announce it publicly until all of the people who deserved to be told face to face had been notified. That mainly meant students and employers, but others as well. This was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do because it feels like a betrayal to leave them. Some of my students cried. I wanted to cry, too, but didn't because that would only have made it worse. All I could say was that I was sorry, and that it wasn't an easy decision nor one that I was overjoyed about. I'm ambivalent about leaving for many reasons and one of those is the relationships with the people I have here. Much as many people believe English teachers are floating garbage that should be skimmed off of the pristine beauty of Japan and thrown away, I know that I've had a great and positive impact on people's lives in ways that strangers would never believe were possible and the people I've met have had similar ones on me. A handful of Japanese people didn't want me here and let me know it. Far more wanted me here and would prefer that I not go. This is a good feeling, but it makes what we're doing all the harder.
In terms of what this means for this blog (as that is really the point of this post rather than my sentimental blathering), it really doesn't mean much at all because I'm going to finish my 1000 posts regardless of where I am. At this point, I'm having a hard time coming up with "won't miss" posts though since the decision to leave has me deeply mired in sentimentality and seeing what I will miss, but I'm sure that it'll all come along at a pace as time goes by.
Thanks for reading, and I hope you'll stay with me for the duration.
It'll be a big change but I'm sure you'll do well. Hang in there and enjoy the rest of your time in Japan!
I'll keep looking forward to your posts no matter where you're residing.
I have been following your blog for quite some time now. I am both happy and sad for your move to California. I look forward to your future posts and wish you success in your endeavors.ReplyDelete
I actually first found found you through your snack reviews blog, but I enjoy them both. Best of luck and I'll certainly continue to read :)ReplyDelete
I appreciate your insight into a country and its culture. It will be missed, but as you say life with go on. It was indeed a pleasure reading your blog over the years. :)ReplyDelete
Looking forward to reading to the end, it's a shame that I wont have your musings to look forward to reading every day much longer.ReplyDelete
I'm a long time reader, first time commenter, and just wanted to say how much I've enjoyed reading your blog. I've been interested in japan now for some years, and it's been refreshing to read your first-hand accounts of both the positive and not-so-positive.
I hope that everything goes well in your preparations for departure, and all the best of luck for the future!
As I have read your blog I wondered when this day might come. Thanks for taking the time, I have nodded my head on occasions relating to my own experiences there.ReplyDelete
It's so weird, I have never met you, all I know of you is your various blogs, this one of which I found first, and which I have been enjoying for over a year.ReplyDelete
And yet for some reason hearing about all this, starting from when you first talked about leaving, has ME sad and sentimental. How does that make any sense whatsoever? It's silly but...
I hope you do wonderfully back here in the states.
I am glad that you will continue to post and what a refreshment your new adventure will be. I can't wait to hear about your experiences.Delete
I follow both this blog and your Snack Review.
Onwards and up I say!
Congratulations on this tough decision. I know from your blogs that this had been coming for a while. I hope you have a good and easy move, and get some down-time afterwards. I'm waiting for a response on my visa application to Japan, and I feel so much more prepared for day-to-day life there because of your insights. Thank you for all that you've done so far, and I'm glad to hear it will continue.ReplyDelete
I respect your decision and wish you all the best for you and your husband's futures! I completely understand, especially the personal growth aspect. Thank you for writing this wonderful blog; checking it everyday has become a kind of reflex when I sit on the computer. Thank you so much for your pure opinions and sharing your experiences!ReplyDelete
It's a mixed bag of emotions leaving a place, isn't it? While your experience of Japan was certainly different than mine I've really enjoyed reading your short vignettes, even more so after I returned home. It reminded me of things I forgot I loved about the place and reminded me of other things I'm glad to have left behind. I'll definitely keep reading.ReplyDelete
Best of luck in your next adventure!
I will miss the blog even if there's still like 200 post to be enjoyed?ReplyDelete
Wish you the best luck, wherever you go! Japan is not going anywhere anyway!
You could write a blog called 1000thingsabout[theplaceyouaregoing] in regard of your japanese experience, it could be fun!
I am also very curious to read about how you adapt back to life back "home".Delete
The few times I have gone back to visit my homeland I have ended up feeling reverse culture shock much stronger than culture shock. Keep us posted on how it is to re adapt to home.
I'd be interested in reading a blog on your new perspective of the U.S., having been living in a different culture for so long. I feel like things change so quickly here (at least where I live)... I can't imagine coming back after 23 years.ReplyDelete
Good luck and welcome back!
As a few others have mentioned, I will keep reading your blog for as long as you write. I've really enjoy, and still do, learning about Japan and its culture through your eyes.ReplyDelete
I hope I will have a chance to read about your experience returning to America after over 20 years.
I've really enjoyed your thoughtful perspectives on Japanese vs US culture and will keep following your blog(s) no matter where you live!ReplyDelete
agreed with all of the above, especially the idea of doing a 1000 things about [insert place here] blog. no matter what, though, i hope you continue to blog, as i have always enjoyed your well-written opinions and observations.ReplyDelete