I just wanted to write this quickly to get it off my chest before I get hit by a pile of work and life in general tomorrow. Just landed this afternoon after a 7 day trip to Tokyo and Nagoya.
It’s been a…weird trip, with mixed feelings. Quite difficult to describe but I will try my best to explain. First of all, it IS really nice to go back to Japan again (of course!) and I don’t think that will ever change. It’s even more special this time because I went back to Nagoya where I studied in 2010-2011 and haven’t been back since I left! So here I am, 8 years later!
A friend told me that “Nagoya will always be our second home” and I agree. Just walking around Sakae, Osu in Nagoya really brought back memories. We went to our “regulars” like old Sushi conveyor belt place we used to go a lot in uni. Actually it was my intention to go back to these old places! I even went to Nagoya uni with friends, to international student center where I spent majority of my time when I was there. It was so nostalgic you have no idea. Actually, just walking on the street, or ANYTHING in Nagoya brought back a lot of memories.
Of course, it was also very nice to catch up with old friends again. My Japanese definitely sucks now which is a shame (oh well) but I somehow managed to have conversation with them.
Another really amazing thing is, my friend asked his friend (who is away) to let me stay at her apartment for free! I didn’t even know her before, but she wrote a cute little welcome card, prepared towels and slippers and said I am welcome to eat and use anything. I felt so, so thankful! This is from a stranger I haven’t even met. It really reminded me how lucky I am to have met many kind people, especially during my year abroad. So many people really have helped me in so many different ways, and it was really touching.
I also went to Gero Onsen in Gifu with my friend on weekend. Let me tell you, Onsen in winter is the best thing ever! I particularly love the outdoor bath when it’s as cold as single digit outside, but you are dipped in hot water. It was really an amazing sensation. I’ve been to Onsen before but never in winter. Now I know how amazing it IS!
So, what made me feel that this trip has been…weird?
So, half of the trip I was alone, but the other half I was seeing friends. Most of the time in Tokyo I was by myself, walking a lot to so many different places. One day I was walking almost 20 km, which was absolutely crazy!
And maybe because it’s Japan, because I am quite familiar with the place, it didn’t feel that exciting to walk around by yourself. I didn’t really have many plans or particular places I needed to go to begin with. In fact, I felt almost like I lived there, just like old times. Most of the time I felt kind of…flat, like this could be my every day routine, just like before. Does this make sense?
It’s great to visit old places and talk to old friends in Nagoya, but you can’t recreate those amazing memories we once shared. It will never be the same, and we all have gone off to different paths. It’s good enough we keep in touch and get to see each other in different cities around the world, and I think that’s really cool. But somehow… it could feel kind of…bittersweet, in a way.
Hmm, emotional much? Nothing will ever make me get as emotional as that year in Nagoya, that’s for sure.
So, I’m still not sure if I do enjoy traveling alone. Or I do need to go to new places if I travel alone? I remembered I had quite a good time being alone in Amsterdam and Rotterdam because everything was so new. But Japan felt like a…comfort. It’s totally different feeling. Or maybe I would prefer to have some company? It felt a bit lonely in Tokyo this time.
Although I’m not sure where to travel to or what to do in Japan, I am quite certain this trip wouldn’t be my last.
Until next time!