-フローレス パッション-

「毎日楽しいの為に」 Flawless Passion

Departure from Japan – June 20th, 2012

I have spent 85 full days of my life in Japan. That is just a week shy of 3 full months in Japan. But now, it is time for me to leave. This trip to Japan was my first, and it has given me a lot to think about. It will take time for me to really process the events on this trip and to see how my life might change from all this.

In the late-afternoon, the Japanese family that I was staying with drove me to Haneda airport. I am really thankful because it saved me a lot of trouble with all of my luggage and way-finding. The scene above was taken as we were driving on the highway. I will miss this beautiful country.

At the airport, we spent a few hours walking around, eating, and taking some photos. Here we are outside on the balcony area where we can see the runways.

In this direction, you can see some planes for Japan Airlines. My flight is 6 hours later at midnight, so these are likely not the exact plane I will be taking. In the background, you can see the cityscape of Tokyo and even make out the Tokyo Sky Tree.

At 6 pm, the Japanese family leaves and I proceed alone through security check, then onto the rest of the airport towards the departure gates.

Here I am at Gate 113, where I will be sitting and waiting for a number of hours. This photo was taken at 7:40 pm, and my flight is scheduled to be at midnight. I had plenty of time to kill, and one of the things I did was write a letter to myself, reflecting on my experiences here in Japan for the past 3 months.

June 20th, 2012. 9:42 PM. Haneda Airport.

Today, I woke up at around 9:30 AM, set aside futons, pillows and clothes to be put inside vacuum bags. Then I went out to the living room and ate breakfast, which consisted of rice, saba miso, and tamago yaki. While eating, I checked my mail and listened to a NND broadcast. After taking a while to eat, we vacuum sealed the bags and fit everything into the suitcases. I am still surprised and glad that the family had vacuum sealable bags. Otherwise, I probably would have had a lot of trouble taking everything with me.

After packing everything, it was time for lunch. I ate some instant ramen with some eggs. I just ate breakfast not too long ago, so I was really full by the time I finished the ramen. Then it was time to get going. I am particularly thankful that we went by car. My luggage were loaded onto the back and onward we drove. We arrived at the Haneda airport, where I first checked in my 2 suitcases and then we took a break. We sat down, and simply talked for a little bit. Then we walked around the shops at the airport, talked for a bit more and then we said good bye. I passed through security, which was fine and not scary at all, compared to the security check at SFO. Now I am waiting at the gate for ~7 hours before it time for boarding. There is a large flat screen TV here, and I am sitting right in front of it.

Japanese TV really is a lot more interesting. I watched for a couple hours and looking outside, the sky have became dark. The lights of Tokyo reflecting through on the glass, and looking at it, I thought “Yeah, outside is Tokyo. Soon I will leave and cannot come back for a while”.

I have been in Japan for 2.5 months. A little over 2 months in Kyoto, and a little over a week in Tokyo. In Kyoto, there were a lot of places to see and visit. I might as well try to visit as many places as I can while I am there, right? But really, I wasn’t interested. I made some efforts and got lucky on some trips, ended up going to Kinkakuji, Arashiyama, Fushimi Inari and…that’s about it. I am not into history and no matter how hard I look at historical objects, I cannot feel anything. There were trips outside of Kyoto and those were really fun. I went to Wakayama, Shiga and Osaka.

In Kyoto, my Japanese did improve. But only in kanji and some vocabulary. Those are things that you can learn anywhere. I did not improve much listening and speaking, which is the main purpose of being all the way here in Japan. In Tokyo, I was able to talk to the family on a daily basis. I don’t know if doing that for a week and a half have any effect. At least none for now. I didn’t really go anywhere except once to Akihabara. I chose to spent time with the family instead.

Despite being in Japan, I really didn’t go here and there and see everything that I wanted to see. I wanted to explore Osaka a little more, go to all those temples and shrines in Kyoto, go check out Shibuya, go explore every corner of Akihabara, and perhaps go to Shizuoka for Fuji-san and bandai gunpla-related places. I also wanted to meet people here, people online and new people, but couldn’t in the end. My Japanese didn’t seem to have improved by much either.

I wouldn’t say that my time here was pointless or wasted. However, I feel the 2.5 months here in Japan simply wasn’t enough. Or rather, 1.5 weeks in Tokyo wasn’t enough. Talking to the family on a daily basis is a valuable beyond words. I spoke more Japanese than I did in those 2 months in Kyoto.

Looking outside, I can’t believe that I am leaving already. I had barely started to learn Japanese here.

My flight was on schedule and now I am abroad the plane at my window seat taking this photo at 12:12 am.

Shortly after take-off, the first meal was served. Being pass midnight, it was more of a small and light late-night snack than a meal. After eating, I immediately went to sleep and it should be day when I wake up on the other side of the world.

Good morning! The sky was bright and I still have 3 more hours of flight until I arrive in San Francisco.

The main reason why I woke up was because food was being served. Not too bad, although I didn’t touch the salad as usual.

Another glance at the sky an hour later.

The coastline of California was in sight 30 minutes prior to arrival. I spent the remaining time taking photos as we got closer and closer to the bay area.
Enjoy the gallery of landscape photos below.





Those were some great views if you want my opinion. I felt a sense of wonder to see cities and mountains at that scale and to fly pass them in mere moments.

Upon landing, I went through immigration check and luggage pick up as usual. Now I am standing in San Francisco. Standing underneath the same sky, but this is not same place I was at just a few days ago. Just like that, I have returned to the United States of America.

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京都留学(2012)に戻る Back to Abroad In Kyoto (2012)
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