I just got back home from Hokkaido, the northern island of Japan. I’ll talk about the trip later, but my return to Tokyo felt special. I was returning to the many friends I had made, getting back into my Tokyo student rhythm that I had become so accustomed to over the past year. I felt like I was falling in love with Japan all over again. It was actually rather odd, but I have to say that the moment when I knew I was back home was when I was returning through my commuter route from university back to my dorm. There was something about the escalators and the yellow handicap strips on the ground, waiting in front of train car number 6, door number 4, like I always do when returning home from class. Unlike the snowy streets of the northern cities, this was a path I knew well.

It seems it’s not until one returns home that one realizes where home is. Some kind of slumbering nostalgia. Sometimes we get so caught up in our adventures, that we forget where our home is. I’m home from Hokkaido. And yet I know that my home is also on the other side of the world. But I love Japan, and it hurts to think about going back. I’m just getting started here. I’ve just got my groove on. But sooner or later, the adventure ends, and I’ll have to go back home.

In some ways, I’ve actually yet to really see my home. Sometimes we get so caught up in the adventures of life, that we forget where our home really is. And just like all adventures, so our lives, too, will eventually come to an end, and it will be time to go back home. In a way, that’s what our lives are: a journey home. I’ve got a home, and Father’s there waiting for me.

But that home is still far away. Really far away. My American home is far away too. There’s still a lot of adventures to be had yet in these three months, even in this life. To borrow from Tolkien’s story again, in the words of Gandalf, “You’ll have a tale or two tell when you come back.” But for now, I’m back at my Tokyo home, my Japanese home. I’m home from Hokkaido.


About Stephen Gabriel Falke

Stephen Gabriel Falke is passionate about loving Jesus and loving Japanese! He grew up in Virginia, America, and first visited Japan in 2007. He then studied abroad at Sophia University in Tokyo for a year in 2012. He also participated in the JET Program as an ALT from 2015-2017. He currently works as an English teacher at Hirosaki Gakuin Seiai Secondary School in Hirosaki, Aomori, Japan.
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