Postcard from Japan: Home Sweet (almost) Home

So much has happened since we arrived home from Japan that the trip feels like a distant memory and just yesterday at the same time. I traveled directly to Japan after my business trip to Beijing. I arrived early on a Wednesday afternoon, having endured a 5 hour flight while suffering the after effects of a little food poisoning (never more grateful for an almost-empty plane), and found myself incredibly happy to be landing in a country that feels a little more like home every time I return.

There’s nothing quite like 10 days in a completely foreign culture to help you appreciate the little things like an alphabet that you can read and the ability to speak a few useful phrases in the local language (and understand the response). I found myself saying “eki wa doko desu ka?” (where is the train station) and “nanji desu ka?” (what time is it?) with a confidence I hadn’t felt since I lived in the Japan many, many years ago. I felt exhilarated by the ability to travel by train from Narita to Yokohama without any English language assistance whatsoever. I said “Arigato” (thank-you) and “Sumimasen” (excuse me) to everyone I encountered just because I could.

And when I reached Yokohama station and saw Samuel running to me with arms outstretched I may have shed a small tear. I felt like I’d come home.