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From Matt to All

May 15, 2012

*Note this was a post from a friend who left Japan. I think I feel the same way!

YESTERDAY I LEFT HIROSHIMA AFTER 4.5 YEARS!!! Met my wife, got married, and had our son in Hiroshima. Not too bad a catch! Oh, and I got a pair of chopsticks from Daiso that look pretty. Those must be in the same group, along with my “I lived in Japan for 4.5 years and all I got was this stupid T-shirt” hat.

Special goodbye to the town of Yoshida; our apartment; NHK Starbucks; Subway; the checkout ladies at Yours Supermarket; all the bars/eateries that no longer exist and some that that still do; Miyajima; the Peace Park; Sandankyo; Arteco House; my old students; basketball friends; and all our friends (that we’ll soon see again, right?!). Here’s a list (in no particular order) to summarize my experience:

5 THINGS I WON’T MISS ABOUT LIVING IN JAPAN/HIROSHIMA:
-the popular imagery and perceptions of Japan; the “uniqueness”
-us vs them mentality, and compartmentalization
-problematic expectations and assumptions
-the “self” complex and Japanese-style pride, ego, and selfishness; lack of empathy
-acceptance of a prescribed ideas and lack of questioning, curiosity, honest critiquing

+runner-up: oft-used yet meaningless catchphrases and words

5 THINGS I WILL MISS ABOUT LIVING IN JAPAN/HIROSHIMA:
-hypocritically invoking foreignness or using the cultural/social loopholes for personal benefit (gaijin smash!)
-all the lovely people and places we can’t visit whenever we want 😦
-the almost ubiquitous concept of nomitabehodai (all-you-can-eat-and-drink)
-the “diamonds in the rough” Japanese individuals who draw both fear and respect, as well as jealousy and hatred, from others – stay strong!
-all the quirky, cute, and interesting things that most foreigners and Japanese people are completely unaware of, but make the experience of living there vastly more interesting than the popular myths and perception

+runner-up: the different kinds of karaage (fried chicken)

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