I went to China...I didn't even mention this did I? I feel I wrote some notes to myself while I was there, but currently everything is packed away ready to go to GW tomorrow, so I won't look. I can check on that later- this is mainly here to remind myself to do so.
Oh yea and I'm back in America. It's bittersweet- one one hand, I was so happy to see my family and I'm super super excited to see Lisa (and yes Erv, you too)..and the rest of you....ASAP! But on the other hand, I left a true family in Japan- a group of people I really love and consider a huge part of my life.
The Kato family opened their homes and arts to me as a complete stranger. And so, I never once felt like one. They never said "You're our host-child." Instead they said "You're our child." I will miss them, but as I said to them upon leaving "This is not sayonara (good bye), this is matta-ne (See-ya later)."
Click for pictures from last day in Japan!
The night before leaving, Otoosan and I tried in vain to set up the webcam I bought for them. For some reason we could get it where he could see me, but I couldn't see him. Additionally, the camera itself worked to make movies or take photos, but stopped once on Skype or MSN. I say all this in the hopes that someone out there sees this, knows what the problem is, and comments a solution. Thanks!
Afterwards, K-chan (Tomo's best friend since 1 years old) came over, took a picture with me, and then ran out of the house. He came back 20 minutes later having framed the photo and asking me to bring it home with me! It said "Happy birthday" and then, on the inside in tiny letters "Please find me an American girlfriend." Then he and I went to the onsen (apparantly he does this on the last night as a way to bond with the gaijin) and had a great talk for an hour or so. I came home, realized I hadn't yet made the PowerPoint for the Kato's (wanted to show them something about how I felt) and thus stayed up a bit longer to finish it.
Otoosan and I were supposed to eat breakfast at 8:00 AM, but apparantly he tried and tried to wake me up and I didn't budge! Okaasan said he laughed, said "kawaii-so" (poor little thing) and let me sleep. I wish they had poured cold water on me! So I never properly said "goodbye" ...although, as I said before it's not really goodbye, so it's okay!
At around 10:45 AM I met Satomi and K at Oji-ekimae, had an adventure cancelling my cell phone and taking the toden (only the second time I've missed my stop and it took 20 minutes out of my last day!) and finally arrived back at the Kato's. Okaasan, Mune, Asako, Satomi, K, and I had brunch together (Tomo, who had work and then something with school, stopped by to show me his hotel uniform since he had always promised to do so). Satomi and K were extremely generous, giving me 2 birthday presents- a tie to wear during my upcoming job interviews, and a bottle of Kyoto wine (a bit of an inside joke between us).
At the airport I almost had to pay YEN120000, or roughly $1000 for heavy baggage, but luckily we were able to sort heavy books and other stuff* into an extra duffle bag. So I, boasting a somewhat high 5 carry ons, headed for security. There were teary goodbyes at the gate, but after a group hug and the found realization this wasn't goodbye, I made my way through. On the other side I was asked if I had any liquids. My denial was followed by the security guard checking my newly created carry on* to pull out nothing but the Kyoto wine Satomi and K had given me. I managed to convince the guard it wasn't a threat and was escorted back to the entrance to hand Satomi back her wine. After an explanation of the strict policies of US airlines and some more goodbyes, I finally headed to the flight gate.
How was my first taste of America on the plane? Well, let's just say the service in Japan is AMAZING....how I'll miss that.
For now ; )
NOTE: KEEP CHECKING THIS BECAUSE I'M NOT DONE TELLING YOU ABOUT JAPAN!!!!
That being said, I'm heading to GW tomorrow so see you all soon!