Yes, It Is I, Returned After 9 MonthsNagoya, Academic Year 2009-2010
Must not erase post again. Sleep deprivation is guaranteed at this point. However, bloodshot eyes were already a problem so at the least let’s try to cover some ground.
Jet lag this time was a mighty need to eat much food and sleeping. The three-hour naps were inconvenient when they came between me and a chance to eat Japanese food with my friends or made me late for outings, but I wonder if it wasn’t jet lag but just normal exhaustion. Started up my 40-hours-a-week job within a day and a half of getting home. Commute is almost an hour and the time difference makes it almost impossible to talk with my Japanese friends. When work ends the family pitches in to get this house and the outdoors set for a wedding in a few weeks. My luggage is still not completely unpacked. So many things need to get done.
Adjusting has been weird and hard. At first mentally translating my thoughts into English was an unnatural process. I think it still sounds off, though not as bad as last week. Mentally I’ve been fighting to keep thinking in Japanese while readjusting to American life because my greatest fear is losing it all. I already am having a hard time recalling words. Culture and language are so closely tied I doubt its possible to constantly think in Japanese when one’s adjusting to the culture and communication of the Michigan countryside.
My behavior is also strange. Maybe I’m just too stunned having learned the recreated America in my mind I used for reference while in Japan was actually transforming into more of a replica based on my own changing behavior. Americans are larger, louder, and speak with more authority on individualistic things. Sarcasm is something I’d almost forgotten, so the store clerk who used it on me came off as unbelievably rude in half my mind and amusingly personable on the other side.
Leaving the airport I was amazed at how green and wide everything is. Why is all that space being wasted above the trees? Who owns all of these empty lots? Is none of this land maintained? But all of those lots together look really… natural. Perhaps that look is what the owner and all his neighbors had intended. I forgot land could just go to nature without some kind of forethought. I also saw lightning and heard thunder for the first time in 9 months. I’m not sure why they don’t have lighting storms or any real storms besides hurricanes in Japan.
Stepped out of the car at my house and the clean air after the fresh rain had fallen on the endless greenery (apart from the road, everything is growing and alive) came as a pleasant surprise. I could fall back in love with nature very quickly. Went for a walk today. I could smell the grasses, each distinct, and feel certain if one closed their eyes and walked they would know where they were by the sounds the wind makes on the trees and tall grasses. A breeze sounds so loud just by flying through the long strands. Birds change with the scenery; frogs come with the territory. Watched the sun chase the shadows of the clouds across a field of soy, trees far in the distance and another field beyond that. There are no mountains, but the land has a little curve just to give the fields a pinch of personality. Watch the rows move and shift. At night there are no city lights. Actually there are no lights at all. The brightest thing out there is the sky, and all the trees and everything else is a silhouette. So strange at first. So were the birds; I feel like I’m lost in the woods at times. But now the things that shocked me are settling down.
From my room on the second story this evening I was met with the smell of honeysuckle. I’ve felt so compelled to throw some things out and change my room. I’m confused about what comes next, now trying to sort out everything from Japan into its new place in my bedroom. Behold the power of thinking- not much accomplished but at least I’ve got that ‘thought on it’ feeling. Guess that’s what I’ve got for now, that and a night craving for some stove-top ramen.
Oh, conversation partner, at last! Iya, sleep deprivation kicking in -_-
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