One year since my arrival from Japan, I have learned an academic year’s worth of knowledge and grown a year more mature.
I spent vivid days enjoying lunch with others and lonely nights sulking in my dorm. I spent boring Sundays eating lunch at Kinsolving and busy days going to club meetings with people I never saw again.
As the sun changed inclination, so did my mind, it seems. Perspectives have changed. My mind melds and rearranges itself, disconnecting itself forever from the old memories of the physics lab and the traumatizingly strenuous AP exams.
As the semesters progress, people come and go. I am pulled out of one world and thrust into another, yet Japan still recalls like it happened last week. While I cannot recall all memories, the key memories still feel relatively vivid. I still feel the cotton of the yukata on my body; the refreshing chill of the small shower beside the onsen; the onsen’s disappointingly intolerable warmth; the calm, collected smile of the cashiers and service workers; the bittersweetness of having only been able to visit Akihabara once; the American pride of my Japanese teacher.
It is not certain what I will be doing on June 28, 2019, but it is certain that I will be saving money to return to Japan in 2020 for a study-abroad program.
When I noted in November that the experience will never happen again, I was correct – but this is merely to make way for even greater experiences in the unknown future.
My friend wishes to go to Japan for another week, but after viewing airline price ranges and possible dates, I politely observed that one week was simply not enough time – the insatiable longing of returning to Japan would simply repeat itself. No: I need an entire semester to evaluate the culture of Japan, its people, and what it holds in store for enjoyment. I wish not to merely cherry-pick what I wish to know, but rather to immerse myself completely in the language and culture. This should be enough to satisfy any individual.
However, I recognize that after this point, reminiscing about specific details of the trip is an obsession. I must strive to look forward and continue my studies of Japan from a holistic perspective.