Bye bye Japan!

Well,  I have arrived back in Tokyo from my two week trip around Japan.  I had an absolute blast and met some of the nicest people I have ever met.  I went to Nagano, Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Himeji, Hiroshima and Miyajima.  I slept in capsules, internet cafes, hostels, a park, a coffee shop, business hotels and some night buses.  It might seem like I was roughing it but it’s what a lot of fun really.  I really have too many things to mention about the trip so I will give them their own blog posts in the coming weeks when I get home – from a 6am monk ceremony in temple in Nagano, to monk training in Kyoto under a waterfall to making my own cup noodle in a noodle museum in Osaka to the overwhelming Hiroshima peace memorial museum which left me numb.  All the cities were incredibly different and each had their own food culture and interesting customs and dialect.  Osaka and Hiroshima were extra special but, for completely different reasons.

I am currently sitting in a mates house in Koenji (2.05am) and I am heading to Narita airport in a few hours.  How am I feeling?  Excited, nervous, tired, delirious, a little drunk, empty.  I’m really not giving it much thought as I know I will just get upset if I think about it too much.  It was pretty depressing saying goodbye to to people at the train station.  My year here has been an incredible experience and I am incredibly lucky to have spent the year here considering I had no job or place to stay when I got here.  I even squeezed in two trips to Thailand which were brilliant.  My first month in Tokyo was pretty strange, adjusting to culture which has pretty much no similarities to Irish culture (small rooms, thin walls, small people, skinny jeans, shoes that don`t fit, hitting my head of everything, banging my knees into restaurant tables, strange looking food, dogs in coats, cats in coats, bowing, octopus, shouting on streets/dead atmosphere on trains, humid weather, earthquakes, not having a towel when washing hands in the bathroom, electric toilets, no English, train suicides, noise, queuing, queuing for queues, talking about queuing for queues, gargling, talking about food, eating food, strange food programs on TV, infomercials, packed trains, Manga, insane fashion trends…… an endless list) and I was doubtful about finding teaching work and even considered heading home after 3 months.  Everything eventually fell into place which was a relief and I settled in after about a month.  It takes time and it can be incredibly frustrating when starting up.

Some fond memories – Kyudo (Japanese archery) through Japanese,  cherry blossom parties,  karaoke, Walkie Talkie in the Cornfield rehearsals and concerts, the many Japanese crazy bands I saw over here in really amazing venues,  doing a voice over for the Washington Post, reading Shakespeare at the top of a building in Koenji, walking around Koenji in the snow, getting off trains randomly during my first month and getting lost, my first trip to Osaka, scuba diving in Koh Tao and getting certified (Thailand), Universal Studios Japan, learning Japanese, Awa Odori festival in Koenji, ChiChibu night festival, the recent Mochi lifting contest in Kyoto… I could go on and on!

Thanks to the following people for really helping me out in my first few months and making my stay that little bit more interesting, comfortable and fun!  I will see you all again I am sure – Craig, Teffrey + Shige, Tomo, Taka, Hatsumi, Rob, Caron.


Mam and Dad – I am coming to get you!  See some of you soon!


~ by redegg on March 1, 2010.

5 Responses to “Bye bye Japan!”

  1. what a great post! please come visit us soon colin, cant wait to see you! hint hint, maybe this weekend!!??

  2. Sounds like a rather wonderful year indeed! and makes me really want to do the same! Have a safe journey home!

  3. well done redegg, a truly brilliant summation of what was obviously a fantastic year, thanks for all the words.

  4. Gonna miss you dude, great post!

  5. See you, matey! You’ll be missed. 😉

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