|Heian Shrine, Kyoto
It's embarrassing to admit, but when we started planning our
trip back in January, I was looking at more as an obligation than
a vacation. It had been three years since my wife had a chance
to see her family and friends and other attempts to go were delayed
by work (or lack of it). I've always found Japan very interesting
and my first trip there was exciting, but I had little opportunity
to really experience the country.
As our departure date got closer and my wife's detailed plans
came together, I found myself looking forward to the trip more
and more. As we passed through customs after we landed, the courtesy
and efficiency of the agent began to rekindle my fondness for
this culture. And when the Kansai Express slid away from the platform
and the city lights of Osaka began to flash by, I began to feel
something like homecoming. It was good to be back.
Now, I believe my desire to return to Japan may even be stronger
than my wife's. After three years of trying to teach myself the
language, I have finally enrolled in a good (albeit quite rigorous)
class. We are doing whatever we can to make sure that we will
be able to return regularly to Japan. Quietly, I am thinking that
is where I want to live when I get nearer to retiring.
The memories I was hoping to preserve with this journal have taken
root deep inside of me. It may be futile to think that anyone has
read this far, especially
considering the unquestionably anti-literary medium of the Web.
If anyone has, I hope you were able to take some of the same things
away from the journey that I did. (And it would be great if you
sent me a note to let me know.)