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Downunder

Well, I made it to Australia! Sorry for the posting lag, but I doubt anyone really cares. I'm not sure why I'm writing this, other than to fill time while I wait for someone to sign on to Skype.

So. I left Japan. It was emotional, but good. I felt like I'd done what I'd set out to do: learned a lot, seen a lot, done a lot, eaten a lot... I was lucky to have that experience, and luckier still that I had a good group of people to get to know and such a beautiful place to live. Certainly, some things weren't ideal, but I got over them, and that's probably what I'm proudest of in the end.

Right, so I left Murakami a little before my contract ended thanks to my hoarded-up nenkyuu, and visited Anna in Tokyo for 3 days. It was a blast... seeing a city by the side of someone who lives there is always loads better than floundering about alone. We went to a Yomiuri Giants baseball game, and I touched a foul ball! I couldn't feel my finger for a few minutes, but I almost caught it. That's never happened to me before, so that was way cool.
Anna's family was so nice, and it was such a pleasant note to leave Japan on. I wasn't flustered from spending all day on the Shink, nor was I overly-emotional from just leaving my apartment and students. My last day in Murakami I saw a busload of them, all waving at me and making the "so many hearts" sign I pilfered from Phi Mu... so cute! But anyway, by going to Tokyo for a few days I had time to collect myself and reflect and all that good stuff, so it was pretty much ideal.

I arrived in Sydney after a long, cat-nappy flight. It was so good to see Tom and his family! I have been cooking (and eating) a lot here, most of it involving one or more things like PB, crumpets, oats, and ovens. I've been around Sydney, up north and down south, to the beach, in the mountains, and in the city. It's been pretty good :)

The other day we were driving along through Royal Nationa Park and I had the rare and awesome privelage of seeing a male lyrebird! That's... well, awesome. These birds are incredible! The males look sort of like a cross between a peacock and a pheasant, and their tail feathers curl around like the strings of a lyre. The really impressive thing about these birds is their remarkable ability to immitate pretty much any sound they hear- from camera shutters to chainsaws to more melodious, natural sounds as well. I would really love to spend a pile of time out in the mountains and maybe see one singing... that would be one of the sweetest dreams I could fulfill.

I'm glad I came to Australia before diving straight back into US culture. I don't think I would have survived. I had some really random mood swings here, and I felt bad for Tom for having to endure me. All and all, however, re-adjusting has been pretty painless. One thing I do miss is the cleanliness and orderliness of Japanese society. I also miss the feeling of safety, and I truly can't understand why Western countries are so much more violent and scary than Japan. I'm sure the homogeneity of Japanese society helps keeps things stable, but that's a can of worms I don't want to get into right now.

I'll be back in the US next Monday, at least if all goes well. I'm nervous about the flights... I've got 3, plus a plane change. Ugh. I think all and all it will take somewhere in the neighborhood of 26 hours, not including getting to the airport in Sydney and getting home from Dulles. Oi...

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Aug. 26th, 2009 02:15 pm (UTC)
i once read about an old japanese saying that goes something like "the protruding nail will be pounded flat". now THAT'S scary... UK
cookiejak
Aug. 31st, 2009 02:41 am (UTC)
I care! let me know when you're in the dc area... we'll hang out!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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