Returning Home 帰国かなあ...

For many who have studied or lived abroad, returning to their country can be a time that is both happy and sad. Though it might seem strange to their family and friends, they often go through culture shock upon return to their country!
It's hard for friends and family to realize exactly what we've gone through (how could they?), but simply knowing that we did not put our lives on pause, and were not on holiday or vacation is a start. We're the same people, but we've continued growing as individuals through these experiences.  

I've just finished my 2nd semester at Doshisha doing their Bekka program. Crazy, isn't it? You were at home, but we were in Kyoto. 

Our first picture in Japan at the airport
1) Q:What does it feel like to know you're about to return?
I don't know how many of you have lived abroad for over 6 months.... but it's a crazy feeling when you realize, not just know, but really realize you're at the end of your stay. For me, it's not a good feeling.

2) Q: But when you return, you get to see your friends and family that you haven't seen in at least a year. Does this make up for it?
A: Yes, I get to see my family, and friends again and though those are no small things... I like this life I've made myself in Japan. With today's skype and email, even though I'm in Japan it doesn't feel like I'm far at all.

3) Q: You said you liked this life you've made here in Japan, why? 
A:Every day here feels like an adventure. Being here itself is the adventure for some reason. The more you know about the culture, the history, and the farther you progress in your own japanese language skill the more you can appreciate Japan itself. And that's what I've been doing.

4) Q: At this very moment, would you rather wake up in Kyoto or your previous city in Canada, Victoria? Why?
I choose Kyoto. For me, waking up in Kyoto is not the same as waking up in Victoria. Why? Because it's a struggle, that's why! I love that everything is a challenge! You've always, and I mean always, got something new to learn and to improve on! You go for a walk down the street in your city in Canada and it's no big deal, just a walk down the street - almost no point right? But you go for a walk in Kyoto and your senses feel alive. 

5) Q: Your senses feel alive, Why?
A:You notice where the cracks are in the buildings, how the old lady is dressed and how she talks to her friend, how the construction workers direct traffic, how friendly or unfriendly the cats are, that there's more wood buildings, than brick or cement ones, how Japanese junior high school students play soccer during p.e, and so many other otherwise simple things. But because these little knacks are slightly different than what my Canadian senses know, they're fascinating even though you can't even describe why.

6) Q: Did anything change when you realized you were going back to Canada?
A: When I realized that all these things are going to come to an end, I started to take in even more of my surroundings and enjoy even more of the smallest of things.

7) Q: For those who don't already know, why did you go to Japan?
A: In Canada people asked, and often scoffed, "Why are you going to Japan???" A question poised that really only has one acceptably answer to these people - 'You can only legitimately go to Japan if it is specifically required by some future career path.' It drives me nuts. Is the ideal life in our North American society such a linear path? Should all other things be counted as a distraction, irresolution, frivolity, and a waste of time and money? No. I'm glad I came to Japan with the purpose of enjoying Japan in whatever form I choose.

8) Q: What will you do when you return to Canada?
A: Kailey and I will return to our lives that we were leading before we left. First we'll spend time with each of our families in Langley and Port McNeill, help out my folks and their bed and breakfast in Port McNeill for a bit, then go back to Victoria where Kailey will continue with her music career and I'll prepare for the start of my master's degree in September.

9) Q: Lastly, would you do your year in Japan again? Would you recommend an exchange to those thinking of it?
A: Definitely. I'm not even finished, but it has all been unforgettably good.
Previously>>>Japanese Is Easy

Have you read about our first days in Japan yet?Day 1 (Travel from the Airport)


Ben and Kailey lived in Japan not too long ago and also visit Kyoto every year.

Ben is developing a Japanese Practice site. It's current main functions are:
1. a Flash Card system that features a leveling system where you must answer correctly and "level up"to gain new cards, receive money and buy new decks - anime decks included!
2. Fill in the Blank system where you can choose to focus on particle practice or verb practice etc.
Japanese Practice Blog is here. Check out the Japanese Practice site here


  1. Thank you for your interesting communication, the good and the bad news. I realize you must find it hard to leave Japan but we are glad you are coming back to Canada. I hope we'll be able to spend some time with you soon. We're all well and enjoying a fairly wet, mild winter. It sounds like Japan is a very interesting and beautiful place. I'm looking forward to seeing you. All our love, Grandma xoxox

    1. Thank you! We're looking forward to meeting with family when we get back. We'll have lots of pictures and stories to share, I'm sure!


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