So likewise, sometimes I think, you cannot become something you weren't already. So if I seem to an onlooker to be 'turning Japanese,' actually to me I feel like I always was a little bit Japanese. Which doesn't make any ancestral sense, so maybe just in the way that a person is or may be a little bit anything, or everything.
Aaaaanyway, now that that is cleared up, I'd like to turn to the other side of the coin, the things we do not "learn to live without" forever, being people.
As you know, I went to Amerika! And it was culture shocking! But that's not all it was. I got to see old friends, and have some new experiences. One of them was Isthmus Fest. This is a yearly gathering of AP kids from our high school, and this was my first year in attendance. People came from all over the place, close as right there in Georgia, far as New York, Yellowstone, Ohio, Japan. We built a fire on the isthmus and watched the Milky Way move overhead until it was 4am. I saw more shooting stars over that lake than I have in a long time. It was nice to hear the AP kids talk and argue and reminisce. We fled when we noticed the water was rising, and retired to the actual campsite to steal a few Zs beneath the dawn.
The next day had us decamping until we were all sitting in folding chairs in a circle, no tents in sight, sipping beers and watching the trees thrash overhead. L and I managed to escape just before the downpour started. It was a good visit.
My camera died on the Isthmus, so there's nothing photographic after that, until I got back. There were good times though, just hanging out with the family, lots of good foods, seeing people I hadn't seen for years (or a year, but you know), karaoke, dinners and dinners, swimming (goodness, I miss the pool!), driving Jill around, dogs and walks, coffee with cousins, and the hot hot hot of a Georgia August heatwave. L and I went to see Shannon, but she wasn't there.
There's never quite enough time to do everything or spend enough with everyone before it's time to get back to life on schedule in Japan, but that's the way of it. The more of anything you see or touch, the more you realize there is to see and touch.
It's always different, these visits back, and the people with whom time is spent tends to shift around from one year to the next. I mean some people, you see every year, because they are part of that, part of your yearly picture. The people you keep up with, even if only lightly, the people you e-mail and skype, your family. These are the people you make time for, and who make time for you, because you're back, for a limited time only. There are others, who just happen to be in town, just happen to have time for you, and you for them, and at the right time. Still others who were always around, but you never had (made) time for them, but you do, because why not, it's been 7 years, why wait until you are really "back" and it's then 8?
But the truth is, the thing I look forward to most about being back isn't Mexican food or reasonably priced fruit or palatable beer or even air conditioning, or being able to read everything. It's having a month to hang out and catch up, not just a week. It's being just a car ride or no-more-than-5-hour plane ride from my parents (and their dogs). There are things we learn to live without because we reassure ourselves that we'll have more plenty of them very soon. (This is why homesickness for me isn't an initial thing to get over, but a fatigue.. my insides start to demand, after some time, how long is this so-called very soon, anyway?!)
So that's that thing. For all the very good reasons not to leave Japan (they are numerous and varied), there's one monumental reason not to stay forever. And for all that people teased me and said "What if you fall in love and never come back?" .. well, I always knew I couldn't never come back. Though I did fall in love, with the place itself.