Ten months of living in Japan were coming to an end. I had completed two semesters of coursework and completed three consecutive internships, all that was left were the goodbyes and the packing. Each one was just as difficult as the other. Tuesday the 30th of July turned out to be my last day in Takamatsu. As such it involved me taking care of some last minute business like cleaning my room, packing, checking out with the dorm-lady, selling my (expensive) speakers, closing my bank account, cooking the rest of my food, etc… Those things are not all exactly in chronological order however, the last thing was cleaning out my fridge. But finally, when the end of days was at last in sight, when the taste of the onset of loneliness began to encroach on my tastebuds, when the moisture of tears began to be ever present at the corner of my eyes, I knew…
I knew that now was the time to go to the last stop, the final stop for all nights that need a good ending, Amazon!
And when I got there, many of my best friends were there waiting for me, despite it being a Tuesday, but honestly, who needs a really good reason/excuse to get out to the bar…
Although many of my best friends were indeed there to see me for the last time there at Amazon, there were also many that could not make it and had to say goodbye before that.
For example, a week prior to this I had held my official “Farewell Party” where many people showed up to celebrate! We began by hanging out and playing in the city’s central park, and then moved to our favorite local Indian Curry shop.
…and the curry shop…
…afterwards (outside the shop)…
After the curry shop, we all of course went to Amazon, to finish the night!
However, back to the current message, my friends with whom I had to say “Farewell!”
This next dual, along with another friend outside of the picture, gave a one of my favorite gifts, seen in the photo afterwards.
Here is another really great person!
And so, like I said, many of these shots/get-togethers were taken leading up to my final trip to Amazon, but they all hold a special place in my heart that will never be lost.
Finally, the time came for me to leave Amazon for the last time. As I did so one of my friends along with the bartender chased me outside to say farewell one last time. The gesture brought a tear to my eye as I saw their smiling faces slowly disappear behind the closing elevator door.
The bike home was not as long as it had been in the past. Every sidewalk bump, every traffic light and intersection, every overhanging tree branch, and every store that I passed along the way held a special significance that weighed heavily on me that night.
I got home, but did not sleep as I still had much prep work to take care of… “and miles to go before I sleep” as one of my favorite poets might say…
I arose before the sun with only an hour of sleep. I made my coffee, finished the numerous tasks remaining to me, and began towing my belongings downstairs. Fortunately, one of my longest friends in the dormitory was up at this hour, and was ready and willing to help me out.
Maybe not quite ready… but he was eventually!
He even went so far as to help me bring my bags all the way to the train station, and then rode with me to see me off from the bus station! He really is a good guy and a great friend!
In the end, my entire host family even showed up to see me off! I couldn’t have been happier, even at the saddest moment of the last ten months there in Japan.
The last couple weeks in Japan, no matter the day, help indescribable meaning to me; it all had purpose. In these final moments before leaving what had become my home, it all became clear to me that these times really are not to be taken for granted, nor are they to be forgotten. They are to be reflected upon and remembered, and I know that one day, I will return, and one day, I will see my friends again, no matter where they may be in the world. All I know is that I am a different person, a better person, because of my time spent in Japan, and I will strive to keep the values that have grown inside of me, present in my everyday life as I begin to acclimate once again to life in the U.S.
Here are some of the last things I saw in Takamatsu as my bus began to move.
Here, my host family and my good friend Tamzeed are waving to me as my bus begins to leave the station.
As my bus was cruising down the elevated expressway, on its way out of the city, I could see a couple of very familiar places. The first shot is of my university’s engineering campus, those tall buildings there off in the distance.
In this shot you see my final sighting of my backyard mountain, Mt. Yashima, the mountain that had become the icon of my home, in my mind as least, and a place where I could feel at peace, in a land where every little thing can seem different at times.
Thus, my 40 hour trip back to the U.S. began… It was a bittersweet goodbye, but in hindsight, one that I was ready for.