A Trip Back Home

Trip Start Jul 25, 2009
Trip End Mar 29, 2015

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Flag of Japan  , Chubu,
Thursday, July 8, 2010

This one's mostly for those back at home, and for my own records.

I'm coming home! July 29th-Aug11th, I'll be spending two weeks back in Ottawa. This one's a short visit, one I wish I  could make longer, but because of limited vacation I'm forced to head back to work.

So my itenerary is as follows:
-a weekend in Numazu, sampling the world's best beers with friends, brewers, and musicians alike. Most likely will have a shot at their open mic to show my stuff.
-Yokohama: a friend I met @ the lake festival (entry to follow soon), Sumaar, a 5-string Banjo-picking master, is playing there for a night. I've booked a capsule hotel there for the night, and then it's off to...
-Tokyo, but only for a day here, since I'll be hopping on a bus straight to Fuji-san!
-Hike Fuji overnight to catch the morning's first rays, then race down the summit to catch a train to see Fujikyu-Highlands, which hold's many world records for the most...whatever!
-Back to Tokyo that evening, and depending on energy levels either sleep or go catch some beers with Remi, Michiko and friends.
-Two days in Tokyo, doing a variety of sightseeing, including the Gibli Studio's Museum (makers of Princess Minonoke, My Neighbor Totoro, and many other great animes).
-Working in Tokyo as the orientation guy, with nights of drinks, shopping, and going out.
-28th: if I'm lucky, yahoo-auction will yield me a ticket to see "Them Crooked Vultures", Dave Grohl's latest ensemble-band. Really stoked to see these guys! If I don't get the ticket, I'm just going to busk outside the venue until I get lucky, or meet Dave himself.
-29th: flying home!

-29th arrive home 14 hours later!
-30th-1st: Kingston camp-out for Canadian Guitar Festival. Really stoked for this! I'm competing!
-2nd-11th: 10 days of open schedule, partly doing gigs, visiting friends, and spending time with family.

So now for my thoughts. I haven't been away from home for an extended period of time like this ever before. I spent 3 months in Calgary with my ex, living with my cousin and his wife and daughters, but it was never so far away and without the luxuries of family, friends, and all the familiar comforts of western life.

But here in Asia, I'm on a 12-hour time-flip, without internet except for at work and at odd times; about a 3 hour drive from the nearest city, or 1-hour to a decent grocer; there is no train that comes to my place, but I have to drive 30 minutes to the nearest station; I'm the only foreigner in rural 'old' Japan within about 50 clicks, and even then it's just another ALT like me (goes without saying we've bonded over time); I use chopsticks regularly, say "itadakimasu" even when I'm by myself, and have miso-soup and rice for breakfast, and rice 3 times a day; I use Japanese almost exclusively except for in classes, but I make exceptions there when the students just give up on my English from lack of understanding; everyone goes to bed at 9, so if I plan on staying up, I pay the price for making noise and for having to get up at 6 for work; I play Kendo; I take baths regularly....the list could go on.

The thing is, I think it'll be like wearing an old shoe when I get back. I'm not sure if I'll like it, or just bore of it quickly, but since I've got new goals related to music, work and study, I'm motivated to go home and just stay home for awhile. My second year in Japan is partly motivated by financial need, but also because I want to explore more of Asia, and doing these things on my own (such as camping and hiking for a week into the southern Alps, or backpacking through Thailand, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia for a month or two), as well as finishing some music projects that I've started since I've arrived.

I miss everyone dearly, moreso now because I'm starting to imagine the return home. My parents did split up, which is something I'll just have to adjust to when I come back...so really, this 'old shoe' might not fit as well as it used to. I'm up for the challenge, even if it takes some 'working in', but most of all, I'm just excited to share my stories, experiences, and to see how everyone's been getting on since I've left. A lot can change in a year...

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