Seven Years and Counting

It was exactly seven years ago today that I came back from Japan. I have yet to return to the country that I called home for two years, although I tell myself that I will with each new year. The two years that I spent in Kansai now seem like a dream. Yet, I remember them well. I remember that last full day that I spent in Japan was the first full day that I spent in Kobe. Prior to that, my Japan consisted of Osaka and Kyoto, arguably the best two cities in all of Japan. I was anxious about going back to the United States after being emerged completely with Japan for the prior two years. Will things be that different? Will I remember how to speak proper English? Upon landing in LAX from Kansai International Airport, my first impression upon getting off the plane was how big everyone was; not only tall, but fat also. I had a layover before catching my connecting flight to Seattle and decided to eat at McDonald’s. After eating at McDonald’s regularly in Japan for the past two years, I was ready to see if I could tell any difference. I must say, the food (especially the fries) were the same, but the portions were ridiculous. No wonder these people are so fat, I thought.

I have found ways to speak Japanese and keep up my language, be around the Japanese people and keep up on the pop culture and current events all without being in Japan. But it’s not the same. The rest of this year is not looking good either for a Japan trip. I am hoping that next year will be the year. And given how rapidly Japan is known to change, when I do make it back I am sure the culture shock will be much greater than anything I experienced the first time I touched down in Kansai in the fall of 1998.

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