Don’t Take Me Back

Holly Toner
Rikkyo University, Tokyo, Japan
Major: Japanese

Tomorrow is the first of June in Japan. I have less than two months.

Yesterday I met a student who had just returned from Kent State after 9 months abroad. As she was telling me some stories she began “Back home…” paused. “…Well.. I mean back in America, I guess this is home.”

Photo Credit: Holly Toner
Photo Credit: Holly Toner

It made me start thinking of when I have to figure out my own words describing my stories to family and friends back in the states. It made me think so much how I’m not ready to go back there. At least not back to the same life I left. It’s my biggest struggle… returning to what is all the same. I don’t want to be the same person I was before I left. I’m not that person now. When I talk with people from back home, sometimes it sounds like they assume you can just pick up where things left off. But not only have I changed, things there have changed. It’s a whole new set of adjustments. But at the same time… all of it to me is simply what I left behind.

Of course now that I’ve gotten so accustomed to my life here I have days I think I want to run away from Tokyo too. I want to get away from the certain troubles that bug me here. I want to hop place from place. If I learned anything about myself while I’m here, it’s that I certainly cannot be in one place for too long. I have a desire to see too much.

But I can’t imagine leaving my Tokyo life for the states. Sure I miss things like Walmart, or being able to take a drive at 3 a.m. IHop. Trees. No crowded train. Certain faces.

Photo Credit: Holly Toner
Photo Credit: Holly Toner

But when I leave here, it’s just a whole new list of things to miss. Taking a train aimlessly with no plan to the countryside. The bidet! Food that doesn’t taste like chemicals. Expressing my differences. How people here don’t spit, but will pick a wedgie or their nose in public. Constantly making connections with people from all over the world. Relating on more personal levels then, “jee, that test was hard.”

Every day I’m reflecting lately… But I can’t even begin to put those thoughts into words yet. But right now my time in Japan feels like a ticking clock. Each second that goes by I’m closer to having to leave. And I’m realizing more and more, how much I still I want to learn.

Photo Credit: Holly Toner
Photo Credit: Holly Toner

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