Saturday, November 12, 2011

Japan is Here

It's kind of a shock to log in to this blog and realise that it has been nearly two months since I last blogged. It hasn't felt like that long, and at this stage I think any attempt at recap would be thin, and wasted effort, so all I can do is explain my absence...

Although I blogged - sparingly - since coming back from my holiday in NZ, I think this blog lost its central premise when I returned for my second year here. The problem is, I now know Where Japan Is. There is very little chance that I will ever again mistake it for Papua New Guinea on a map (I won't rule it out altogether, because my precedent is alarmingly bad on this front). I'll never be a local here; I'll never blend. But I am comfortable here, and though Japan still has the capacity to surprise me, on a day-to-day basis, I'm just living my life. I'm living in under the falling leaves, and amongst the giant crows; I'm living it under the imminent threat of an icy winter and amongst the shrines and the rules and the old men who follow me through subway carriages, and the students who express shock at my solo marital status at the grand old age of 24; but it's my life now. It doesn't feel like a weirdly distended holiday, or an experience on another plane (plain?... level).

It's almost cruel, then, that I've made the decision not to re-contract with JET for a third year. There will never be another autumn in Japan for me, and that's an exciting and an awful realisation. I've gone from being baffled, everyday, to being happy, everyday. The friends I've made here are people I'll know forever, and I've learnt things, mostly about myself, not always good things.

Japan is bitter sweet, but mostly sweet, and so I want to leave this blog as it is, a sweetly bitter recount of a strange and wonderful year. I don't want the tone to change; I don't want anything jaded or settled or knowing to creep into a diary that is largely wide-eyed and wondering.

So thank you to everyone who has been a reader. I don't know if I'll be writing any more non-fiction Japan-based blogs in the near future. If I did, it'd be more along the lines of an ordinary life, and that's not the kind of thing that hooks people. I have a fiction blog that I hope to keep updating with some regularity, but as for The Life of Scarlett - that is, for now, off the internet.

You know, except for Facebook. And Twitter. Apart from that, I'm a closed (face)book.