At a crab restaurant
At a yakiniku restaurant the night before I left
Played a game of shogi with Kotaro
All packed and ready to go
After that, we went to the airport and ate at a tempura restaurant that once again busted the myth of small portion sizes in Japan. We had weighed my luggage ahead of time and thankfully there were no problems getting it checked in. A few other students on the other hand, found that their bags were far overweight and had to get through by paying fees, begging desperately, and having their host parents send them at a later time. Then there were lots of tearful goodbyes and hugs that for me were cut a bit short by the approaching departure time, probably for the better.
From there, the trip went pretty smoothly, from Sapporo to South Korea to Chicago to Washington DC. It was just very long. In the airport in Korea we walked by a small parade of people in traditional garb, marching to music. Apart for that and a big Doraemon themed area at the Sapporo airport, not much of interest happened and I made it home safely. As for reverse culture shock, the biggest difference was that there were more rude employees at American airports and that there was much more variety in the appearance of people in the US. But overall, it felt good to be home.
So I suppose this will be the last blog post. I don't know if or when I'll return to Japan, but I definitely have to thank my host family for making this trip a good one. In the midst of it, I was pretty stressed and bogged down with schoolwork, but now, in retrospect, I have a lot of good memories, experiences, and stories to tell, all neatly recorded in this blog. I made new friends and improved my Japanese language skills significantly and I intend to continue my studies in the future. I'll be graduating this spring and from there, who knows where I might end up.
Thanks for reading and if you want more, there are loads of pictures not used in the blog that you can view in the web albums to the right or right here.