My last night in Tokyo was truly a memorable night. I was able to meet up with a few of my friends one last time to go to one last festival in Kagurazaka. Like I said before, each festival I’ve been to was distinctively different than the last, and this was no exception. This was a dance festival where people from all over Tokyo gathered to form a large-scale parade of musicians and dancers. I have seen performances like these in videos before, but seeing the real thing up close was a completely different experience. The people involved seemed really into the festival, each group being slightly different than the last so that I never got bored. We were even able to dance with the other dancers at the end of the festival. I’m glad I convinced my friends to go out there with me because actually doing the dance was way more fun than watching on the sidelines.
The next day, I spent nearly 29 hours traveling from Tokyo, to Houston, to Philadelphia, and finally to my home in New Jersey. It was a long trip, but when I made it back around 2 a.m., I could tell that my family missed me a lot. I almost immediately gave them their gifts: my dad a mini frog statue, my mom a glass baby owl figure, and my brother a Pikachu with a top hat, bow tie, and cane. They seemed very happy with my gift choices. I also learned that lots of my friends and family have been following my blog all the way through, which is amazing. I think it was a great idea to apply for this blogger position because it not only motivated me to go out and do more things every week to include in my posts, but it also now serves as a log to look back on for the rest of my life.
Being the first one in my family to travel outside of the United States, let alone live on the other side of the world for 10 weeks, was an experience like no other. When first considering studying abroad, even though I wanted to do it, I thought it was way too far out of my comfort zone. I was back and forth about whether I wanted to go, setting aside my application for months just in case I decided to back out later. In the end, I took a risk, and I’m so glad I did. It took a few days to get adjusted to my new lifestyle, but after that, I was doing things I never thought I’d be able to do in my entire life. I went to Akihabara, ate authentic ramen, went through a zip-lining course, bathed in an onsen, blew glass to make a wind chime, and so much more. I also made so many more friends than I was expecting and was able to share my experience with them so that I never got lonely or homesick. In Tokyo, a single day rarely passed without something exciting to do.
As awesome as Japan is, it feels good to be back in the United States. I feel like I would want to go back to Japan during other times of the year to see things I missed out on, but I don’t think I would ever want to live in Japan for much longer than I did. I’m definitely going to miss my friends, but like I said before, as long as I have memories of our experience inside me, there’s no need to be sad. I’ll be sure to always stay in touch and never forget the times we shared on our adventures throughout these past 10 weeks. My cousin asked me if going to Japan sparked a desire to travel. Compared to the old me who wasn’t willing to do anything outside my comfort zone, I’d say that I’ve opened up a lot and would like to have more experiences like studying abroad in the future. Even though it will probably be a while before I leave the country again, I’m glad that I’ve finally decided to expand my horizons and be open to the world.