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I’ve been back for about a week and a half now. Things are pretty good. I’ve already gotten into a decent routine, and jetlag never got to me too bad. I didn’t really have a chance to be jetlagged, since I had to start work the Monday I got back, and I don’t think it’s possible for it to catch up to me now. Even after I had been back in the US for only a week, it felt like it had been a lot longer than that. Not in a bad way at all – just that there wasn’t much transitioning at all. I just kind of came back and everything went along smoothly. Almost too smoothly, if that’s possible.  Hard to describe. I knew I wouldn’t really have too much “reverse culture shock” but I thought it would at least be a little more weird, having been abroad for 4 years. But it’s not like I never came back home, and it’s not like I was disconnected from the world outside of Japan. If this were 50 years ago it would have been a different story (disregarding the fact that everything else would be so different it wouldn’t have been possible for this whole situation to occur) and there would have been a much higher chance of being totally reverse culture shocked. But no, I’ve kept pretty darn well connected over the past four years thanks to technology. With Facebook I’m in the loop about things my friends and family are doing, and also strangely very aware about what most people from high school have been doing too. Thanks to Bittorrent I’ve kept up to date on current American TV shows, being horribly disappointed by Lost and Heroes just as much as anyone in America.   Daily news, memes, pointless time wasting YouTube videos, and pretty much everything else also has been brought to me via internet.  There are of course small things that I’ve missed out on, but they’re so minor that it doesn’t really matter.  For the record I don’t think I knew until about a year ago who Hannah Montana was.

Someone mentioned to me a few days ago that my last blog post made it sound like I was depressed about moving back.  I didn’t really have that intention when I was writing it and I don’t think I really felt like that anyway, but looking back on it I can see why some people might think that.  Nah, things have been pretty good this whole time with the packing, moving, and getting re-settled in the US of A.  Sure I’ll miss hanging out with people in Japan but it’s not like I’ll never see anyone ever again.  I’m sure I’ll think of some kind of scheme in the near future.  OK it might just be something as boring as going on a vacation over there but who knows.  But yeah don’t be reading this and thinking I’m sitting here weeping over having to come back to the land of awesome pizza.  (I do really wish I had some good sushi though.)

I really need to get to sleep but I figured I should at least try and get some words out to form a somewhat readable blog post, since I already have WordPress open and everything.  I guess one thing I’m happy to be catching up on back in the US is books.  TV, music, and movies can mostly be “obtained” online or through more traditional methods (like paying for them) even while living abroad but books, at least to me, always seemed a bit more difficult.  Sure I could probably find PDFs or eBooks or some titles online but for me a book is still something that should be on paper, held in your hands, and read either on a couch, recliner, or toilet.  I now have a literal giant stack of books to get through, many of which are newer books that I didn’t have access to (I guess I could have spent a lot of money to get them over there) when I was in Japan.  Also I went to this used book fair over the weekend and got a whole bunch of other books to add to my stack.  I’ll be doing a lot of reading over the next few months, which is a good thing.  I think.  I mean, it’s better than doing something psycho like strangling little animals with my toes or building a scarecrow made out of tin foil.

That’s about all for now.  I’ll try to write something more coherent over the weekend.  Good night America.

I have returned.

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Well. I am sitting at LAX waiting for my flight back to St. Louis. Moved out of my apartment in Chiba on Monday night, was in a hotel for a few nights while I finished taking care of stuff and seeing people, then got on a plane Friday in the late afternoon bound for North America. The customs guy at Narita asked me if I was coming back to Japan and voided my visa and kept my Gaijin Card when I replied no. “Please make a new visa.” Hmm don’t know if I’ll ever really ever need anything other than the basic 90-day tourist visa in Japan but who knows.

So yeah I no longer live in Japan. It’s been a pretty hectic few weeks, from even before my trip to Hong Kong. I plan on writing a lot of catch-up blogs later for no one to read, but for now I figured I should at least write something to commemorate my return to the US. This is the first blog I’m writing back in the US, and I’m finally back to live rather than just a short trip for a week or two. Also, it will be the first time I’m “really” living in St. Louis since high school I think, with a couple of summer and Christmas holidays excluded. This should be a pretty interesting few weeks of getting readjusted to living in the US. I’m also going to need to get a cell phone very soon too. Possibly the iPhone?

There is actually a good deal of stuff to get caught up on here on the blog: HK, Bizzaro Y’s, Final party at the real Y’s, moving out of my apartment, and all of the other random BS stuff that comprises most of this website’s content anyway. Most of it will get done sooner or later, although if I wait too much longer it will be pushed back to super mega extreme later. I’ll try to avoid letting that happen.

Nothing’s really planned in stone right now. It’s hard to believe that I was living in Japan for almost 4 years. I definitely hadn’t planned on staying that long, but it was a great experience and I met a lot of people that I wouldn’t have ever met otherwise. It’s a weird feeling moving back to the US and leaving a lot of stuff behind in Japan. I think also since up to now, with school and whatnot, there were very natural breaks for everything. In high school and college there is always the academic calendar to kind of guide things, and after graduation it’s natural for everyone to move somewhere and start a new life. Even after I started working, things were kind of ruled by employment contracts, and since most of the people I went to Japan with arrived around the same time, we were all on more or less the same schedule.

The previous few sentences probably don’t make a lot of sense, but what I’m trying to say is even though I am technically coming back to go to grad school/university (albeit very part time) at the end of the month, my return to the US in mid-August doesn’t feel like a natural break to me. It feels in some ways that I just abandoned (left?) Japan at some random time. It also doesn’t help that it was just me leaving. Bryan and Saori, who were actually the first people I met up with in LA yesterday, left Japan about a month before me so it doesn’t feel exactly like we left at the same time. So even though I’ve known more or less for about a year that I would be moving back to the US, and have known for around 6 months when exactly I would be coming back, it feels very strange that I returned. Yes this is a lot of rambling that I’m just writing as I think, without much editing to clean it up for coherence.

So many people in Japan asked me “so when are you coming back?” as if it was guaranteed that I would come back. But I guess the more that I think about it, I will definitely be back sometime, although most likely just to visit. If I ever do end up going back to Japan to work I don’t think it would be for a few years at the earliest, plus it would have to be a pretty sweet gig for me to go. That being said, it’s not that I don’t want to go back, but to think about my future and career situation and stuff it didn’t make sense for me to stay for much longer. Japan doesn’t really feel like a foreign country to me anymore, and I was so used to living there that I was probably just as comfortable there as I will be in St. Louis. Even during my last week, it was so strange to think that I was packing up everything and jumping ship that it was almost unbelievable.

There’s a lot of “deep” stuff to think about and reflect on about the life-changing move from one side of the planet to the other. I’ll likely never really get to actually writing much more about that stuff, but I will end up complaining about America at least for a while. The grass is always greener or something overly used like that.

More to come later. It was an awesome 4 years in Japan, and I really want to thank all my friends (American, Japanese, and other) for making it such a great experience. If things weren’t so fun and interesting, I don’t think I would have possibly stayed for so long. I’ll be back to visit for sure, but look forward to hanging out with people in the US too. Let me know if you’re around anywhere and I’ll do my best to come meet up. I’m looking forward to starting a new life here in the US. And wow I just realized how Japanese that sounded.

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