It has now it the three month marker that I have been living here in Japan and I must say it’s had some major ups and downs. I never thought that my first experiences living in Japan would be as crazy and drastic as they have been but hopefully when all is said and done they will be nice conversational pieces.
As of now I notice that Japan has been losing that magical glow that I once gave it. Now that I have been here for three months I have grown accustomed to the shrine outside of my apartment, the view of the white dome on top of Mt. Hanaoka which houses Buddha’s remains, the wooshing sound of the shinkansen coming into the station or leaving, the view of Mt. Aso in the distance from my balcony, the suffocating sound of cicadas in the morning that can be heard over my air conditioner. I’ve gotten used to sleeping on the floor as well–so much so that when my coworker and I went to Fukuoka and stayed at a hotel I realized that it was my first time sleeping in an actual bed with a mattress in almost three months!
Yes, this area of Japan has lost it’s “oomph”. There is still much left to be seen, but the same paths and roads I take no longer have that special feel to them. I don’t have that, “Yes… I am here. I finally made it. Look! Look at everything so unbelievably Japanese!” feeling anymore. Perhaps it was naive of me, but I remember being a teenager and then throughout college, and even after my first trip to Japan back in 2008, looking back on pictures I took or images I found while searching and thinking that everything looked so incredibly interesting and so well balanced. Now being here I look around and I realize how I have just become used to everything that is around me.
Is this bad? No. I think it means that I have finally settled in. That I am finally able to look at my surroundings as my current home.
As strange as it may sound I think what sealed the deal on these thoughts is what I did today: I rearranged my apartment. After moving all my things around and putting them in a new spot I realized that this apartment, though small, is finally feeling like MINE. Now if I could only get some stuff to put on the walls. I need to find some scenery photography from magazines or something.
Other than that I went to therapy today at the Kumamoto hospital and while I was waiting to be called in so I could be shipped up to therapy some old lady began talking to me. I always dread those moments because I am so afraid of what they may say. What kind of conversation do they want? Can I keep up with it? She expressed how hot it was today and I agreed. Then she took out her fan and explained to me that she was going “do this for me.” I gave her a puzzled look and she opened the fan and began fanning me. It felt nice and I thanked her but she continued doing it. I almost felt awkward. What do I say? I only know thank you in these moments! I said, “Ah, it feels nice! Thank you!” but she just continued… until my name was called. I forgot to thank her in all my confusion but she was a very nice lady.