Up until now, I have been to Japan three times. The first time was a ten day exchange program hosted by Tohoku University (my college’s sister school). It was during my sophomore year. The second time was when I studied abroad at Doshisha University for the spring semester of my junior year. The third time is now. I came to Japan two months after my college graduation to teach English. When I add up all three times, I have stayed/lived in Japan for over three years. I have done, experienced, and learned so much. I went from none to thee hatsumōde [New Year prayer] experiences at three different temples: Fushimi Inari Shine, Kushida Shrine, and Atsuta Shrine. I visited all of the “Three Views of Japan”: Matsushima, Amanohashidate, and Itsukushima Shrine. I have seen more castles than I care for and went on one ridiculous blind date. Additionally, I have had my shirt stolen at a hostel, stayed overnight at a train station, ate some interesting food, and the list can go on and on. I have traveled down to Okinawa and up to Hokkaido. Out of the eight regions, I have visited to all of them except Shikoku. Sorry Shikoku, maybe next time. I have been to 17 prefectures and so many cities within these prefectures. Lastly and most importantly, I have met and befriended many awesome individuals. Thank you!

            Thank you Japan for all these memories! You’ll always have a special place in my heart. To put it romantically, I pretty much gave you my early 20’s. How many people nearing 25 can claim to have done the things I just listed and more?

            I look forward to my next visit, the fourth time, and seeing all those cute babies who will call me ‘aunt’ be born.

            California, particularly LA area, get ready! One of your utmost terrible drivers is coming home. *wink*