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« A fleeting goodbye: my last days in a great city | Main | Farewell Tokyo »

08/13/2011

The End of An Era

Wow, it's sad to say but the end is near. By next Thursday, I will be leaving Japan and returning to America, college and real life. Doing study abroad in Japan has been such a great experience, and I truly am not ready for it to end.

I've visited these almost mythical areas of Japan - Harajuku, Shinjuku - in the big city of Tokyo, but I've also seen areas that are very traditional in style and form, such as Kamakura. And in areas such as Shiba, where Tokyo Tower is, it's been a mixture of both. I've entered Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, 9 story figurine shops, and entire areas dedicated to anime and manga. I've spent more money than I care to remember and I've enjoyed every minute of it.

I've tried all manners of Japanese cuisine, saw amazing shows (in Japanese) at Tokyo Disney Sea, and fell in love with the abundance of vending machines and cute commericals and billboards. I've seen a live kabuki play, traditional Japanese sit-down comedy known as rakugo, walked around an ancient castle, and slept in a traditional tatami-mat-and-onsen-styled hotel. Not to mention my new obsession with tuna mayo onigiri. Although, I will not miss the crowded Tokyo trains or small sidewalks, I will miss just about everything else, including the amazing people I met because of this program.

I do intend to someday return here, whether to teach or to conduct research (in psychology), or even for another visit. I have thoroughly enjoyed this experience and wish it and so much more onto everyone else who signs up for this program. But be warned: come prepared to spend A LOT of money, because you will enjoy yourself too much not to.

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