December 21, 2012

A Farewell to Home

Today I had to say my goodbyes to Kelly & Yurika, who were my two unbelievably generous and kind hosts these last 3 months. Kelly is off to spend the holidays in India, Yurika is returning home to Okinawa, and I'm meeting up with my dad in 3 days to get some Kentucky Fried Chicken. I am sure we will all have three completely different yet equally as wonderful holidays, but only I will experience His 11 herbs and spices.
Kelly & Yurika
The day began with a brilliant and all around adorable Christmas performance at the school where Kelly teaches. For the last few weeks she's been teaching her kids songs and dances in preparation for the Christmas show and it was something I just couldn't miss. Yurika and I made our way to the school and found a spot front and center so as to be sure not to miss a single thing.
A bit too big for the chair
A festive stage
GQ: Toddler
4 seconds in and I was already on board
The tiniest one in the red dress: killing it.
Not since Julie Taymor's Lion King have costumes been so inspired
The axe men coming to chop down the tree. It was a terrifying moment.
Some sort of animal seance 
A Madagascar 3 themed finale, of course
Yurika and I after one of if not the best Christmas shows I have ever attended in Japan

I shot some video that I will cut together as the cuteness was just too much for still photography. I truly wish I could begin each day with a song and dance performed by toddlers in silly costumes. You haven't truly heard "Feliz Navidad" until you've heard it mumbled by a group of tots, and if you think you've heard "I Like to Move it Move it" by Reel 2 Reel, you've got another thing coming...

After the show the three of us returned to the apartment where we proceeded to pack, clean, and be merry. It was the first time since departing for Japan that I have packed up all my stuff and not surprisingly I seemed to have acquired new things in these last months. 'Twas quite odd packing as it hit me how soon I would be returning home. It's hard to determine if this has been a long journey or if it's gone by in a flash. On one hand it's the longest I've ever been away from America and the first time I've really travelled alone. Multiple that by a factor of I didn't know anyone when I arrived and barely spoke the language and you've got what feels like a lifetime spent in Japan. But I realize that three months is a very short amount of time and can already feel myself losing some of the feelings of discovery that I've felt since arriving. I look forward to getting home and having this blog to help remind me of the thoughts and feelings that came with my short time here as there is much I would like to apply to my life once I return.

Never fun to say goodbye, but Kelly will be returning to Los Angeles in the Spring and hopefully Yurika will be able to find work to also move out to the States. I can't fathom how much different and more difficult this journey would have been without their insanely generous offer to host me for as long as I needed and I hope to pay forward that kindness and generosity to others in the future. But before I do that, I'll be taking advantage of one other person's generosity since I am homeless until Monday night, when Richard arrives. That kind someone is Aziz who is letting me crash at his place this weekend. I'm headed there now and look forward to some time with him since we haven't had much time to hang since Okinawa. So I write one last time from Tsunashima, which was my semi-permanent home here in Japan. I ran the banks of the river that cuts through the town, explored the hills and parks to get better views of the valleys, pumped yen into the Tekken game at the Sega arcade as well as the claw machine at the station convenience store. It is here that I found Taylor when he came to visit as well as where we said goodbye. I used my first laundromat here and in the process befriended a 91 year old woman. If this is the first and only time I spend an extended amount of time in Japan than Tsunashima will forever be my Japanese home. I didn't even know the place existed 3 months ago, funny how much can change in such a short amount of time.

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