Published: July 27th 2011July 29th 2011
(Blogger note: This is a memory blog. I left Japan about a year ago)
It was the beginning of the end. After Beijing, all I had much time for was getting everything settled and start on the moving process. Including mailing boxes home, cleaning my apartment, hosting 3 friends and what was suppose to be a trip to Korea. During a typhoon!
I had gone down to Narita to meet them and as we were waiting in line to check-in, we discovered that our flight had been cancelled. After more problems and uncertainty, I looked at my friends and said, "Why don't we just go to Sendai and hang out there for the week?" That became our plan of action and we headed into Tokyo for a quick shopping trip before getting the shinkansen, or bullet train, back to Sendai. The following week resulted in showing of my city, playing a lot of arcade games, and enjoying a week of pure relaxation before the real stress was going to set in.
My friends stayed with me for about 2 weeks. I showed them all my favorite restaurants, where I went shopping for nerdy stuff, and just showing off
Sendai in all it's beautiful and green glory. The one thing that I will remember about Sendai is how green it is. Sandwiched as it is between the mountains and the sea, your surrounded by different shades of green. Since I grew up in the suburbs, I used to get a little jealous of people who lived further out and got to enjoy the trees and hills that surrounded the city. When I went to Matsushima, I would get jealous of the families that lived so close to the sea. Yet, I loved the downtown area I lived in. I was just a 5 minute walk from almost anything. Got the international grocery store, a must for an ex-pat, the station, restaurants, night clubs, bars, and international center library. Anything that I could possibly need.
After the euphoria of visiters had left I was left with the real moving. Let me tell you, it sucked. For no ones fault but my own and a huge misunderstanding between me and my manager. Now, I've gone through 3 co-workers, I know how the move out / move in process is suppose to go. Well, that process didn't really happen for me.
My replacement, since he was coming from another school, wasn't going to follow me around for my last week and I didn't have to move out till my last Sunday. Me, I guess being so sure of what I needed to do, and my manager, who hadn't told me that she had plans for that Sunday and, apparently, had planned to go through my apartment Saturday night. The night that I had planned on basically staying up all night and getting everything done.
My last week, it was really hard. I'm talking devastatingly hard to leave. This was my home. 3 years of my life. My first "adult job", my first apartment, my first chance to really live abroad. Leaving my friends and students was so hard. I can't tell you how often I cried that week. How often I got asked by my younger students why I was leaving, why I was coming back. I can't tell you how many gifts I got, how many times my picture got taken, or how many times my students were shocked that I spoke Japanese. That part was actually kinda fun. I got to turn the tables on them finally. I
had to pack a whole another box to mail all my gifts home. Talk about awkward.
In the end, my apartment was invaded by my co-workers. I had no choice but to have them go through my things, clean, and in all honesty, really upset me. This, this is the common misunderstandings that foreigners always face in Japan. The missed cues, unspoken information, they drive foreigners away from Japan at lightning speed. It was the first time I had had this type of situation come at me, and it was on my last night in the city. All I could do was just keep thinking in my mind, remember the good. All the millions of good memories I had in this place. I was not going to let this 1 bad memory color my time in Sendai. And to it's day, it doesn't.
The next day came, I got my finishing touches down, met with my manager, who is also my friend, and we talked got everything out. I met up with the new guy, who had actually been in town the day before, and got him all settled in. We talked for a while. He had just
come back from a 3 week trip to India and had some great stories and, to be honest, I have always been very intimidated by India and to have a guy who had spent such a long time there was very eye opening and interesting.
As the shinkansen was pulling out of Sendai, I remember thinking, "This is not the end". I know that I will be back.
There are more photos below