While I usually slide out a slick and concise sign off to a new country as I depart, given the circumstances and my long standing love affair with so many aspects of your culture, I feel something more is in order.
This stint of time, while short, has been significant and rich with meaning. Though my inability to read kanji left me ignorant to many of your subtler nuances, I unearthed facets of myself as I briefly pinwheeled through your mountains and cities.
I learned about myself as I learned about you. Such is the way of travel, yet this has been an encounter of considerably greater resonance.
For this I am very grateful.
More than anything you helped me rediscover my innate curiosity— something long dormant and sorely missed.
There are things about you which I will long for like an irritable burr-itch on my heart. The wonder that is the Japanese 7/11 will never cease to amaze me— that I will no longer be able stroll down the street and pick up a seaweed onigiri or tender red bean mochi saddens my heart.
I’m sure I’ll be craving the velvety, refreshing Matcha Latte for a long time after my return to the states.
So many sweets, the names of which I do not know, whose unparalleled flavor linger on my lips and tongue— a fondly remembered kiss.
The wonders of Daiso that have allowed me to kit my kitchen-ware entirely in acid green.
There are things about you I will never forget.
The arresting and unmistakable scent of cedar that snakes helter-skelter through your street and has permanent residence at your shrines and temples. It crests the wave of heady aromas which washed over me like an incoming tide.
The vast quiet and striking composition of your sacred spaces which smoothed every one of my live-wire neurons to serenity.
Your ebb and flow, your rhythm— an unerring timepiece of cutting edge design, elegantly carved from one thousand year old wood.
The striking beauty of your landscape— the juxtaposition of mountain and sea. The unending green of your forests. The layers of blue ridge-lines receding, fading to the horizon.
You are at once both baffling and familiar; and completely mesmerizing.
Thank you for everything, with all my heart.
I will see you again soon.
And when I do I’ll have a good measure more Japanese under my belt than I do now.
Two and a half weeks isn’t nearly enough time here.
There’s still so much to do and see.
So many shrines, temples, cities, people, places.
I want to live here so badly.
I want to be part of this whirlwind of wonderment.