I know it doesn’t have the same ring to it, but since I had posted in honor of my one-year “Japanivesary” back in Jan. ’11, it’s only fair that I take a moment to pay homage to my year (and five days, but let’s pretend it’s August 3rd again) back in U! S! A! U! S! A! (My Japanese students LOVED to chant that annoyingly whenever I was around… though clearly American patriotism officially died when Gabby Douglas wore a hot pink leotard to the Olympics). I digress. So on August 3rd, 2011, I returned to the States for good, from Naha to Honolulu via Tokyo and Seoul, after spending one year and seven months in Okinawa, Japan. Exactly a year later, August 3rd, 2012, I did another full circle and flew back to Honolulu from LA (via Las Vegas, but again, that’s another story!), this time with a well-worn year of grad school under my belt and the marks of fatigue and exhaustion to show for it. It’s been a hard and testing year, but I emerged from it with a working thesis proposal, the opportunity to co-author a journal article related to my research, and the skills and capabilities (which I still doubt on most days, but I know they’re there) to carry out these tasks. I also ran a marathon, visited the Midwest for the first time, and built an incredibly healthy relationship this year. My life has indeed been worlds apart from what it was in Japan (and before that in San Francisco), but it’s also fortunately moved many steps forward. Nevertheless, I try to keep Japan/Okinawa alive in my heart, mostly by eavesdropping on Japanese conversations I hear in Mitsuwa Market, supporting the decolonization of states previously and currently occupied by foreign militaries, and keeping a running list of all the local places I know that sell Orion beer.
Though it doesn’t feel like it on individual days, one year passes by so fast. Here’s to many more milestones over the next few years in school, life, and love in America! (F*** yeah!!) (I still haven’t seen that movie.)