TRIP | 3 months in Japan – RECAP Part II
In the first part, I reviewed the aspects related to travel and expenses ; especially expenses !! (pronounce with an emphatic “$$sss”, like Kaa in The Jungle Book, you know). Now let’s talk about the third and final aspect : the emotional.
Take the violons, the guitars, some tissues… Let’s go!
3) the emotionnal aspect
Aaah, the emotional aspect :)! I’ill try to follow the chronology in order not to go in all directions and lose you on the way.
On arrival : On top of the world
No particular apprehension on arrival in Tokyo : this is the 6th time I come, I can speak Japanese, I have my pockets full (of money, ‘kay… no used tissues or old receipts), I’m confident and in addition, the weather is fine, it’s super hot… I think a new page of my life is being written and it’s going to be super awesome.
Originally, the idea wasn’t to stay 3 months but rather 6 (circumstances have made me return sooner sadly :-/) Therefore I wasn’t in a holiday spirit but in a “well this is my new life. This is my country for the next 6 months” spirit. The first 3 weeks, I’m having a lot of fun but I can already feel a bit of anxiety because cash is flowing faster than I imagined (Tokyo is deceitful. Even though you know it, you’re still being fooled).
If I had to summarize this period with a few feelings : joy, carelessness, power.
When you reach cruising speed : the party’s over
In between, I was less comfortable. Not because of Japan, being alone or not knowing anyone. That may be the case when you come for the first time… It’s my 6th time so I’m good. I felt caught up by the financial reality : I want to enjoy my life and have fun but the budget does not allow it. Each expense was finely calculated, each receipt scrutinized under a magnifying glass.
So you don’t do much, you’re even afraid to go outside as it would be one frustration after another : “oh, this restaurant seems so nice! Ah… 2000 ¥ (about 20 $). Almost 4 days of groceries… Well, we’ll see “. “We’ll see” is diplomacy, that’s what you tell the kids when they ask you for sweets, toys or when they want to go to Disneyland. Tightening your belt when you’re on holiday is paradoxical and disturbing.
All this made me enter a vicious circle : you go out less or not at all to minimize the damage but by remaining cloistered, you’re bored and depressed.
When I hit rock bottom*, I became frightened. I tried to analyze what was wrong and accept it. Once you’re aware of this, once you make the effort to see how to deal with this situation and not fight against it, things come untangle. And indeed, everything was better. A halo of positivity surrounded me and I experienced the strongest moments of my stay, in terms of encounters, sharing, discoveries. Basically, good mood attracts good things.
* Rock bottom is when you spend 5 days in a row in bed and your activities are nothing else but : sleepind, eating, brushing your teeth…
Once I knew I was returning to Fance, I said to myself “let’s open the sluices”. And that my friend, that freed me all the more. In consequence, I was on a cloud nine during the last month : first because I was enjoying to the maximum and also because I was eager to return to France to restore my financial health and launch a series of professional projects that were dormant during this stay.
If I had to summarize this period with a few feelings : doubt, depression, serenity, joy.
The return : good… but
The return, I wondered how I was going to feel. Would I be sad? Happy? Indifferent?
Until the last day, I was invaded by a feeling of pride and joy. I was satisfied with this episode of my life while remaining pragmatic about returning to France. I was somewhat in a hurry, looking forward to putting on my new projects, looking forward to ending all the tedious side (packing suitcases, airport formalities, flights, stopover…). But once passed the X-ray control, everything changed. From there, I felt like a prisoner on the death row, who was advancing towards his execution. I felt heavy, full of regrets. I had this feeling of “I don’t want to leave”. “I don’t want to get on that plane”. I thought “this is it, this is the end”. “I have no choice”…
I knew this moment had to happen so why was it so hard? “It’s only 3 months… and you spent your time whining you were broke…”. Arriving at immigration, the agent asked me if I thought of coming back (and then ask for an application for a re-entry permit). I said no. When I saw she perforated my residence card, I was torn. It really meant “it’s over my beauty”.
The worst, in the departure lounge. You see all these planes taking off and you think that soon, it will be you. When I boarded the plane, I didn’t pay attention to any staff members : I merely mumbled “good morning”, head down and dashing up to my seat.
After take-off, things went back in order. I wasn’t really thinking of Japan any more, I was more focused on how not to be bored as hell during the 14 hours flight, as well as what France I was going to find on arrival.
Concerning the latter : cold and not beautiful. It was my first reaction… then you get back into normal life and motivate yourself for the rest.
If I had to summarize this period with a few feelings : satisfaction with a peak of sadness.
That’s it! Everything is said! This is how ended my three months in Japan.