Monday, April 12, 2010

Three Months...some things to ponder

Today I celebrate my third month here in Japan. That means I am 25% through my stay here and four months away from my two week stay in New York. It also means that I am nine months away from seeing my family and friends in the flesh instead of via skype, facebook or emails. It has gone by so fast that my head could be spinning like a top.

I am not homesick. I don't really get homesick. Perhaps it is due to the largely independant nature of my family. We love each other to bits but we are very comfortable doing our own thing without being in each other's pockets. I am glad or this could be really hard.

That doesn't mean to say that I don't miss them. About two weeks into my stay I found myself writing a very long post about my siblings. It got an amazing response from Persnickety Snark readers. But even now, only a short time later, the information on that post is old. What my sister and brother have done to change the course of their lives in that time is HUGE. And I haven't been there for that. That...really sucks.

I spent my first Easter out of contact with my family. In Australia, Easter falls squarely into the school holidays so no matter how far away I lived, I would see my family for Easter. This year I didn't even know it was Easter, that's how out of it I was. I am used to seeing Easter eggs and Hot Cross Buns in stores for weeks leading up to the Easter weekend but this passed me by. Easter, understandably, isn't a big deal in Japan.

This thinking about Easter (and the realisation that it was April) made me realise something else swiftly approaching. My birthday. Something else that it sure to pass by with a whimper (if I am lucky). I have to admit that most of my birthdays limp past. I haven't ever had a blow out party, usually sticking to small gatherings in restaurants or avoiding it altogether. This isn't because I am ashamed of my age. It is because I hate advertising my birthday to remind people. I feel like I am whoring myself. Weird, but that's how I feel.

Moving on.

List of achievements:
  • I have been to Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and Hiroshima.
  • I have made friends with people from Korea, the USA, Ireland, Mexico and the UK.
  • I have traveled solo in a foreign country where I haven't got a clue about the language.
  • I think I understand the subway now.
  • I went naked in an onsen...twice.
  • I saw cherry blossoms bloom
  • I have saved up enough of my paltry salary to purchase a return flight to US.
  • I am considering dropping by the UK before I get home.
  • I picked up an American family and toured Kyoto for the day. I got out just as they were preparing to fix me up with their son.
  • I ate eel.
  • I ate okonomiyaki.
  • I have been inside Zen, Buddhist and Shinto temples.
  • I successfully dyed my hair without being able to read the instructions.
  • My review blog got mentioned on Go Fug Yourself.
  • I spent my entire first phone card on one conversation with my sister. I don't regret it.
This approaching weekend I am doing something else new. I am going to Tokyo to meet people I have never met before. One is the mother of a podcasting friend (of whom I have never left). I might also be meeting up with a fellow blogger and an Australian teacher. It kinda blows the mind.

I am breaking free and becoming brave. I never thought this would happen but it's all due to Japan. I am a lucky gal.

To close out here's what I miss:
  • my family
  • my friends
  • peanut butter
  • Australian Diet Coke
  • clothes shopping
  • Australian accents
I think I am doing okay :)


Anonymous said...

Very nice! :D

Lee said...

A great post.

simmone said...

i think you're doing AMAZING!

Anonymous said...

We miss you too, but I'm so glad that you went. xx

Unknown said...

You are doing so well. I don't know how I would handle such a culture shock.
Talk soon!

Mari - Escape In A Book said...

It sounds like you're doing very well in Japan. Also it sounds like you have many great experiences ahead of you in the months to come.

I must say that I admire you for leaving alone to live a whole year in another country. I could have handled an English speaking country, I think, but then again I'm a person who get's homesick after a week.

I'm a little mad about myself for being that kind of person who could never ever do something like that.