Saying Goodbye

This is the end of the contract year for JETs which means many people are getting ready to say goodbye to Fukui and many people are prepping to come to Fukui. Even though most people aren’t leaving for another few weeks, I have to say my goodbyes a bit early since I am going on a small vacation from Japan.

I’m leaving on Friday for a visit home and I am so excited to go home and see my family. So much has changed since the last time I was home and I cant wait to finally be with my family and spend some MUCH needed time with them.

While I am excited about visiting home, when I start to think about how many of my friends wont be here in Fukui when I return, it makes me reluctant to leave. I desperately want to hold onto these last 2 or 3 days for as long as possible.

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I have been so lucky to make some of the best friends I have ever had while living in Japan. We are all so unique and different because we come from a variety of lifestyles, experiences, and cultures. However, we share similar experiences through our time living and working in Japan. We are all people temporarily living without a “home”, far from any friends or family, and in a foreign culture we don’t completely understand. I think there is something special about going through such intense and difficult situations with someone that you inevitably form bonds and strong ties.

When I think back on my time in Japan 10 years from now I’ll never forget all the times I got lost on the trains and ended up in the wrong place. I wont forget ordering strange food from menus that I couldn’t read and quickly discovering what Japanese foods I didn’t like. I DEFINITELY wont forget all the trouble that not being able to speak Japanese can cause when you need to get things done at the bank or your city hall. But the thing that I will most vividly remember above everything else is the people that were right there next to me when it was all happening.

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Its not a secret that I am an emotional person and the thought of living here without so many of the faces in this blog post has made me quite weepy this week.

This week isn’t all sadness though. There is a lot of happiness as well. I’m happy for the leavers because I know they are moving on at a time that is right for them. Something that isn’t always easy to do when you live in a comfortable environment.

My friends are going on to do amazing things and to travel to incredible places and I am so proud of them. I love hearing about their preparations for law school, job hunting, and returning to families that have desperately missed them. They have a lot to offer to the world, not just to Japan. It is right that they move on, and I’m glad for them.

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I’m also happy for the fresh faces who are eagerly waiting to join me and the other people who re-contracted for another year. They will get the chance of a lifetime through this experience. As much as I joke about not wanting them to come, I am excited to meet them and learn more about the places they have been and are from.

Last night at a Sayonara dinner for 3 dear friends they asked me what my goals were for my 3rd contract year in Japan. What a great question! I think I’m going to go home and spend time with my family thinking about that question. I don’t want this year to slip by me and have missed an opportunity to accomplish something great.

I already knew my friends had great plans ahead of them as they move on next year, now its time for me to start making some plans of my own for next year as well. Lets all 頑張りましょう together!

Finally I have one last thing to say before I end this sappy blog post. It’s less of a message and more of a virtual toast. So raise your glass in your mind as you read. (Or raise your actual glass of alcohol if your into drinking on your own while surfing the internet…)

This toast post is for you my Fukui family. This last year or two was great and I was very happy to have shared it with you. Here is to the next year of our lives; making plans and setting goals wherever we find ourselves. I’ll see you again sooner than we both think. I’m sure of it. Cheers.

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