During the last few days of my stay I moved out of my monthly rental apartment, send a bunch of books on their way to Germany by 船便, but also had a few last events on my schedule.
- Events and activities
- Went to Karuizawa for a seminar where (aside from work)
- Ate Monjayaki for (iirc) the first time.
- Return flight
- Was lucky enough again to have a whole middle section of three seats for myself.
- Noticed maybe 10 hours into the flight that we were going a different route than on the flight to Japan (i.e. not along the south border of Russia).
- Got to see rainbow colored lights in an ANA plane (see title image above).
Asking one of the flight attendants after landing and while waiting to disembark what the light thingy was about it turned out someone in business class had set it that way and the crew responsible for economy just also set it to that because they thought it looked nice. ^_^ Seeing that I was looking up trains to get home the flight attendant then asked how long it would take her to get to the city of Metzingen (which is known for its fashion outlet stores—she apparently was looking to buying some coat).
Like my previous two trips to Japan, being aware of the limited time available was a major driving force for constant activities and exploration. And just like last time I came to Tokyo, I still had the FOMO-fueled feeling that I have to step up my game with regards to becoming aware of events and opportunities in time.
That being said, it was nice to see some definite progress in my skills “navigating Japan”. Conversations with strangers have definitely become easier over the years and I feel the closer to being able to “navigate” a typical interaction scenario in Japanese society with all its peculiarities regarding situationally dependent levels of politeness, mannerisms, etc., the smoother the ride gets and the more you can get out of your interactions.
Speaking of progression, I still haven’t been to Hokkaidō and still have a major “mode of living” unchecked—after study abroad, research internship, tourism, and research collaboration, coming on a work visa for a “regular job” is still an experience I’ve yet to make. Before that though, I think another visit as a tourist including some time in Hokkaidō will be on the agenda.
Whatever the type of visa or place of stay, compared to Germany I feel a certain … comfort or lack of anxiety navigating everyday life in Japan. Most things have a high level of regularity to it which can, at times, be frustrating, but in the grand scheme of things is a quality of life that draws me to Japan. … among a bunch of other things!
Until next time, Japan! ( • ᴗ • )