When I first landed in Japan, I was very happy, but also very confused. I went through the cycle of culture shock. It was not intense, as the culture of Japan was not too shocking. But I also had to deal with the effects of leaving Italy’s culture, and it all left me feeling out of place and hopeless. But before I knew it, I was adapting to my life in Japan. I was thriving, creating new relationships and having the time of my life. And then, all of a sudden, it was time to go.
Days before it was time for Nathan and I to leave, it was time for the artists of group 3 to depart. So, essentially, there was a week of goodbyes-parties, final dinners, and farewell tears. It was emotionally hard for me, and I definitely broke down and cried a couple times before it was time to leave.
For our flight, Nathan and I decided to take a last trip to Tokyo. We thought it would be a good way to say farewell to the country we have called home to go up to the top of the Tokyo SkyTree and see the city from above.
In our day in Tokyo, we first went to Asakusa, one last shrine to hit before heading home. Then, we ascended the Tokyo Skytree. There is always a debate between which tower in Tokyo to ascend-Tokyo Tower offers a view in a red, Eiffel-tower like structure in the middle of Tokyo. The Government Building is a tempting, free option, that we considered. But, we ended up going with Skytree because it is supposedly the tallest tower in the world, and it really makes the other two seems small in comparison.
We decided to go up before the sunset and watch the sunset over Tokyo. It was a hazy day, so there was not a clear view, but it was gorgeous. It was especially exciting to watch all the lights go on one at a time when the city got dark.
If you look close in the dark picture, you can see the Tokyo Tower, the lit up spike in the top left. We grabbed some last soft cream (mango flavored!) And headed to the floor that allows you to look all the way to the ground!
The next morning, it was time to go to the airport and say goodbye. It was sad, as I had spent every waking moment with Nathan in the last two months. But I was reassured that I would see him again at school in two and a half weeks.
Two flights later, and I was home. I am lucky, living in Seattle, that my plane was not as long as Nathan’s (10 hours versus 13), so I was home. And it was…weird? I was so happy to see my family, friends, and dog. But I also kept making mistakes!
I would go to the bathroom and walk outside to wash my hands (all of the sinks in Japan were outside of the toilet room). My parents asked if I wanted more napkins and I was confused, because there aren’t many napkins at restaurants. The first time I went to a restaurant, I almost said ‘konnichiwa’ and ‘arigatou gozaimasu’. I called my brother Nathan by accident once.
The re-entry to the USA had begun. And, in many ways, I felt like I was having a cultural re-entry for both Japan and Italy. I was so happy to see different types of cheeses again, like in Italy, and annoyed about the usage of spoons for eating pasta…but I was home!
Hello, Seattle. <3