The Inescapable Thought

I don’t want to go. It’s a thought that’s with me everyday, and more and more as time slips closer and closer to the day that I leave to go back to the US. Even after nearly a year, it feels like I’m just getting started. Even now, I’m making new friends, learning new things in my studies, and in my life here, and to think that I’m gonna have to leave it all soon, it tears at my heart.

Don’t get me wrong. My time here in Japan hasn’t been without its struggles in trying to adjust to the culture, learn the language, and manage my time well. And I am looking forward to seeing the many family and friends again, whom I’ve been away from during this year. At the same time, however, there’s something inside of me that just doesn’t want to go. The Japanese I see on the subways everyday, all my friends on campus, at my dorm, and elsewhere, the Japanese language everywhere I go–even though I still struggle to understand it much of the time : P Japanese food, Japanese fashion, Japanese traditional culture, there won’t be hardly any of that back at home. (I’m referring to northern Virginia; New York and the West Coast are a different story, from what I hear.) When I go to return home, I’m sure at least part of my heart will insist on staying behind.

Having just finished exams, I feel both a freedom from the weight of studies, and also the limiting reality that my study abroad is coming to an end. I still have two months left here in Japan, however. The first month will be spent volunteering in the region affected by the 3/11 earthquake, which is something I’ve been wanting to do ever since it happened. The last month will be spent doing some traveling in Japan and then returning to Tokyo to say goodbyes before finally returning to the US on March 26th, 2013.

I don’t know how much I’ll be able to escape the inescapable thought, or the inevitable end, but I’m gonna savor these last two months like the last dance of a party. A really good party.


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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3 Responses to The Inescapable Thought

  1. John says:

    Thank you so much for posting all of these entries. It’s made me almost want to cry, honestly. I’m about to enter into Wakeijuku through Sophia University in April 2013, and reading your blog has been really inspiring for me to read and I’m so happy to live vicariously through your journeys on here. I’m really nervous and anxious about Japan, if you have time feel free to email me. I want to ask about what it’s like there and stuff. Thank you.

    • Stephen says:

      Thank you for reading : ) And it’s cool to hear you’ll be coming here soon. I’d be happy to email you to answer any questions you have. Because of what my plans are for the next couple months, I can’t guarantee a quick reply, though : P

  2. Tacti says:

    I know that feeling, Stephen! Every time I’m in Korea, there’s always some reason or another that I have to go back to the U.S. But what’s even worse than leaving is the LONGING you feel when you’re home. You come back changed, and don’t even realize it. All of your stories begin with “When I was [insert place name here]….”

    Brace yourself for the reverse culture shock!!

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