So, I would have gotten on a plane about two hours ago from Seattle to Tokyo where I would have embarked on a year-long journey of being a “gaijin” (“foreigner”/ “outsider” in Japanese). Although I know my choice was right, there are definitely a lot of things I wanted from the JET experience.

1. I really wanted that year to be alone in another country.

You feel adventurous. You feel young and invincible. You feel scared. You feel like your life is ending. No matter what, living on my own would have produced a lot of challenges, but also a lot of rewards. I mean, I was surrounded by 100 plus people-a-day for four whole months! That totally equates to a year of solitude to make up for that, am I right?

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But who was I kidding, I still would have seen tons of students and teachers everyday.

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2. I wanted to see all of the amazing parts of my prefecture!

Like the tea farms, Mt. Fuji, the longest wooden footbridge in the world, Hamamatsu castle… Here, just look at this…

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And this is how so many people feel about a year in Japan after seeing these photos.

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3. I wanted to solo travel or travel with new people.

I haven’t really done it before, but hey I’d get the hang of it and it’d be fun, right?

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4. I wanted to see festivals and all of the cool historic traditions that are sort of hard to find or are essentially just a day to start up your grill here in America.

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Learn about the Tanabata festival here.

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This is a float for a summer festival. Many more can be seen here.

5. I wanted to see who my real friends were.

About a week ago I went through my Facebook and unfriended a lot of people who I either didn’t really know or didn’t even talk to when I saw them on a regular basis. As I’ve gotten older, I have lost some patience for investing in people that I honestly know aren’t going to be there for me in the long run or that I simply shouldn’t have in my life. Japan, in a sense, would have done the awkward separation for me.

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Thanks, Japan. You’re the best.

However, I am still happy with my decision. I am just really excited to do all of these fun things at some point in my life– just not as a teacher. So, I don’t regret that the plane took off without me. I just can’t wait to do those fun things in the near future in a different way.

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