To Return

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I have a friend living in Kumamoto. I should go visit.
And probably let her know before I show up.

戻る

Can’t keep me away that long!

彼女

My girlfriend came from Japan to visit for the holidays. It was her first time in the US, and she seemed to enjoy herself. We sang Christmas carols with friends. She had her first Christmas with more than one gift under the tree. We went to New York and saw the Phantom of the Opera, and got good pictures of trying to eat the Statue of Liberty (the 自由の女神 in Japanese, or the “Goddess of Freedom”). We drank at a speakeasy in Boston and had fried dough on New Year’s.

One week. Time seems to fly by. She left Monday. We still talk every day, as we did in the months before she came, but I knew it would be painful to keep up without any kind of deadline in the future.

So I got some tickets for Japan. March to June. 3 months of time with her, and with my favorite country.

Of course, this time I’m poor. Super poor. Well, compared to before. 200,000円 is my budget for the 3 months, or about $20 a day. Thankfully, I’ll be staying with her family and various friends in the country (so that her folks don’t get too sick of me) and will be continuing to work on my programming and video game project.

See, this is why connections matter. Why friends and family are so important. So that when you’re being irresponsible, they got your back.

Or something like that.

Weird that I post this on here before I even publicly tell my friends that I’m going back. I should get on that.

帰る?

I remember the exact moment I learned the verb 「もどる」, meaning “to return”. I had come to Japan in 2010 for a school trip. We had a day or two to spend with a real Japanese family–a homestay of sorts.

At the end of the homestay, I looked at my homestay mother and told her that I’d definitely return to Japan.

「絶対に日本に帰ります!」

「もどります」

「え?」

「おうちにかえる。アメリカにかえる。日本にもどる。母国じゃないからね」

In other words, you “return” to your home / home country with かえる. You “return” to a place you’ve been that isn’t your home with もどる.

「あ、そうですか。はい。じゃあ・・・ 日本に絶対にもどる」

「はい。楽しみにしています」

Of course, I did return. The problem is, the longer I was in Japan, the more it felt appropriate to say that I’d かえる to Japan. Japan was becoming as much a home as America was.

And some of the others in my town agreed. I could かえる to Japan. Japan wasn’t just a place. It was a kind of home.

2017年

I don’t know what this year will bring. I’m hopeful. I always am.

The big things for me are the KickStarter project I’ll be doing in a month or two for the game. If it goes well, I’ll be on slightly more sure footing for my game career. If not, I’ll still continue, but with perhaps more grit to my perspective.

But the truth is, there’s no guarantees anywhere in life. Some people wait to use their vacation time and due to some illness never end up seeing the places and doing the things they wanted to do.

Who knows?

In any case, no regret. Go forward with conviction.

. . .

Who am I saying this to? You or me?

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