Saturday, October 8, 2016


Have you ever felt this intense urge in your heart, this longing in your soul to go somewhere --  to return to a place you don't physically call home?

It's been more than a month since I went to Japan. Suffice to say, I felt what I mentioned above at Haneda airport while counting down the minutes to my departure back to England. New and old friends patiently waited with me as I queued up to checked-in, ate with me my last Japanese dinner bought at the convenience store, and took an abundance of digital memories. These things made it all the more difficult to let go and leave. I put on a smile, wide enough that even my own consciousness is fooled, laughed loudly, assuring myself and the others that I will be back the following year -- the same promise I made the previous year.
But life is unexpected and plans are ephemeral.
The inital aim of this post was to reflect on my time in Japan (which was no less exciting as the previous time), but I guess it ended up sounding a little more melodramatic than intended.

Weather induced moodiness aside, I really did enjoy my time in Tokyo and Minami-Aizu. The feeling was, in a way, different than I had expected. As I had been to some of the places before, it felt like I was going home and seeing the people from, say, a hometown I had not seen in years. There was this sense of familiarity when I walked down the streets of Shibuya, or when I took off my soiled shoes at the genkan of Cloud Camp in Minami-Aizu. The confidence I felt navigating the streets of Yoyogi or dining in Japanese restaurants made me swell with a secret pride. But somehow I felt like I was the only one feeling this sense of home (out of the other participants), and rightly so since I was the only returnee. It would've been amazing if I met up with everyone from Experience Japan 2015, but perhaps, that day will come soon in the future.

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