As I lay in my bed writing this, a week after I have returned home, I am finally able to reflect on what it means to be back. I needed time to myself to really digest being back in the States and try to comprehend what the last few months have been like.
One of the first things I noticed was the lack of sadness I felt when it came to having to come home. I loved my time in Japan and it was one of the greatest experiences of my life, but I also missed the things I knew. Food was one of the things I missed the most, as well as the comfort of my own bed. I only really felt saddened by not being able to see my friends anymore, but there was no crushing heartbreak about having to return to the states.
I also noticed a lack of reverse culture shock. I am not sure if the reason for this is because I used to stay in Paraguay for months during the summer when I was younger, so I already experienced this concept of staying away from the culture I knew best. The only real shock was having to remember that masks are not widely worn in the US anymore, but other than that, I felt I was able to easily adjust.
There are things I will miss about Japan. The convenience of a commuting lifestyle, the ease of getting to places, and the general safeness I felt even late at night. Another thing I will miss was how cheap things were for quite a while due to the strength of the dollar. (I did not miss the inflation in the U.S. and the prices of food.) I also will miss the events I was able to attend at Tokyo Big Sight, such as Design Festa and the plenty of doujin events where fans gathered to show off their art skills and creations. Those do occur in the U.S. but not as frequently and it’s a bit harder to get to them.
Despite the fact that I will miss all these things, being home has been amazing! I love being able to lay down in bed all day and not feel obligated to be out all the time. While in Japan, I knew there was a time limit constantly present in my head and time was running out from the day I arrived. I therefore felt obligated to be constantly active by going to new places and making myself as extroverted as possible in order to really live the study-abroad experience. That was incredibly exhausting, especially for an introvert at heart. I’m sure introverts reading this understand what I mean.
This entire post feels all over the place, but I find that it’s an accurate reflection of how I've really felt. I genuinely cannot put into words what it means to be back completely because I don’t think I've entirely wrapped my head around the concept.
What I can say with absolute certainty is that I had an amazing time in Japan and would trade it for nothing in the world. I will go back someday in some capacity, but for now I am satiated and happy to remain home to recuperate my social battery. I hope you have all had a fun time reading my experiences and hopefully, if you are interested, will visit Japan in the near future! Thanks for everything!
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My name is Ana and I am enamored by different cultures. Growing up with a mother whose family lived in Paraguay meant constant exposure to something that was so different and yet, so intriguing. I knew from a young age that I wanted to explore all that the world had to offer. My dream is to work in international marketing and be able to travel the world while learning new languages, traditions, and making lifelong friends.