Sunday, September 9, 2012

Ode to Japan

This is a blog post that I wrote a while ago before we left Japan and never published. Those of you who have been to Japan will probably appreciate this more than others. Enjoy!

Things I will definitely miss about Japan:

Sauce katsu-don
Our sweet branch, especially the Relief Society sisters
My beautiful bike. We've been through a lot together.
Surprisingly enough, my toaster oven. I've grown rather fond of it.
Rice cookers, washing machines, buses, etc. that play music rather than obnoxiously loud beeping sounds
The greenery in the Aizu area - it's like a jungle!
Amazing service that I really want to tip but can't because it is socially unacceptable
Everyday language challenges like asking for the bathroom, ordering food, asking directions, etc.
My monthly lunch group with the female teachers at my school
Zumba class
Dreaming in Japanese
Inexpensive eating out
100yen stores
Random acts of kindness, like the donut man slipping a third donut into my bag even though I only ordered two
Eating most meals with chopsticks
Chocolate koala cookies
Lots of free time with my hubby
My students
Weekly Japanese classes
Tokyo Disney and Disney Sea
Sacred time to discover more about myself and my relationship with my husband
Heated toilet seats
The perfect green of the rice field
Time to read fun books that I actually enjoy reading (like not textbooks!)
Running by the river or through the rice fields
Miso soup, curry, hayashi stew, Japanese rice

Things I will definitely NOT miss about Japan:

People slurping their noodles and chewing with their mouths open
People talking about me right in front of me like I can't understand
The lack of deodorant
Not being informed of important work meetings, events, etc.
Ridiculously expensive fruits and veggies
Paper-thin walls and doors. Zero insulation.
Cigarette butts that blow onto our back porch
Having my shower in the kitchen
The lack of central cooling/heating. Kerosene heaters...stinky.
How hard it is to make close friends
Stares and ignorant questions
The time difference between Japan and America
People driving through our neighborhood with megaphones, campaigning or calling for trash
Imitation American foods like pizza
Automatic sliding doors that don't open until my nose is practically smashed against the glass
The bus
Compliments about my mad chopstick skills
Bad internet connection
Japanese cheese

Things I'm most looking forward to in America

My sweet family...only a day's drive and about $100 away
Costa Vida...and really, any Mexican food
The next stage in life
Being a student again...I know, call me crazy
Running a half marathon
A normal-sized oven
A normal-sized bed
A normal-sized refrigerator
A get the idea
Conversations that I understand
Grocery store labels that I can read
Familiar recipe ingredients and measuring devices
DI and Savers and clothes swaps with my Sistah
Easily-available and not-so-overpriced feminine hygiene products
American music
Movie theaters
Familiar cleaning products
Disneyland and California Adventures with the fam bam
Libraries stocked full of ENGLISH books
Baby lotion
Having a car
Black beans
Starting over. Making new friends. Learning a new town. Fresh perspectives on life.
Hearing and seeing Spanish more often


  1. I've been to Japan as a traveler, and those koala cookies, I love those things! I understand getting stared at. With my blonde hair and blue eyes, I really stood out. I never got to run in a rice field. I think I would have loved that! I rode on a bullet train though. I bought a rice cooker as soon as I got home, and we started eating more rice. I don't like curry though. Strange American I guess. In Tokyo there is a ten + story department store that was cool. I couldn't read any signs anywhere. It was different than I thought it would be. I couldn't get used to the toilet that played music when I tinckled. Weird. But it was a beautiful place. I'd love to go back if I got the chance.

  2. The above comment is from your friend, and your parents neighbor Debbie Shepherd. Just in case you didn't know. :)

  3. Sister Shepherd, I can't believe you don't love curry! But I'm glad you love those koalas too - I totally should have brought you some! And thanks for clarifying which Debbie you are - at first, when I read the word "tinkled" I totally thought you were my mom! No one else I know uses that word! It made me laugh. Hope you are doing great!