A little over a year after arriving in Sendai, I notice that I have developed a soft spot for this place. I like living here.I like the skies above me and the streets I walk through.
I like the memories I have made here,
attached to and hidden in specific places and things.
I like rushing through the bent alleyway of Sendai Asakusa, lined with little restaurants and snack bars, when going out of town. I like my night bus journeys which land me in Tokyo at 5:35 a.m., and I like the scenery along the way whenever I can see it in daylight or the early evening.
I like discovering new spaces.
I like the adventures I get to have here, both alone and with other people.
Last August, I came here thinking I would stay on JET for a year, maybe two years at most, then move on to something else. But this original vision has been revised; I decided to do what I thought was best for me when I signed my recontracting papers at the beginning of the year, and now I feel that I might make the same decision next February.
There is still so much I haven’t seen or experienced here, and I do not want to leave until I break out of more old patterns, explore beyond the well-treaded paths of this past year, and feel like I have made the most of my time here.
Whatever time I have lost for working on my art in the adjustment process, the switch to a completely different lifestyle, and the general tosses and turns of these thirteen months, I have made up for in terms of personal development, which I feel will be crucial to my work from now on.
For the longest time, I felt like I was floating around, unable to connect to my life here and the people around me. As long as I kept feeling like that, I knew my growth would be stunted, and I would not be able to thrive. It took me a year to feel genuinely comfortable here, to start feeling like I can put down some kind of roots, even if temporary, and grow. That is an investment I do not want to waste.
When the time comes to move on, I will know it. For now, I am quite happy to be where I am. Plus, in some way, I feel like it would not be right to leave until I use up the spices and tea I have brought here from the US.