The past week, I was able to spend some time with my family who came over from California to visit me in Tokyo. It was their first time in Japan, and I was so happy to finally be able to share this place with them. Now, it's already been officially 4 years since I first landed here, and I still can't believe how fast it's gone.
The second week of September, and finally Japan is cooling down a little. The humidity level and heat are backing off slowly, and the scent of autumn is in the air. I am still a California summer girl at heart, but this summer in Tokyo felt longer and hotter than usual... now, the crisp fall breeze nips at my skin pleasantly. I can already envision fall colors turning trees golden yellow and deep red, snuggling comfortably into a blanket on cold nights.
During my four-year stay here so far, I have gone back to California to visit my family twice. Having them visit me this time was a strange and wonderful feeling, like having them bringing me a piece of what I always knew, and sharing with them something new at the same time. New, and yet a normal part of my life for the past few years. More photos to come later, but we visited some of the spots around Tokyo that gave me a renewed appreciation for this city - I was able to view this place again through their eyes, for both the good and the bad. Every city has its own personality and energy, yet in the end, a place is just a place - it's where you choose to call home, and the people you have with you who truly define it and help you feel a sense of deep belonging.
These days it's so easy just to move around and hop from one place to another. Having moved around a lot ever since I was little, I'm used to it and perhaps almost expect it now. There's nothing like traveling to help you learn, grow, and gain new experiences in life. But on the other hand, it's harder to build a stable sense of community... what with technology these days, it's so much easier to keep in touch with everyone. But still, nothing is like the real thing - being able to meet, touch, give a hug. When I first arrived in Japan, I used a regular Japanese cell phone for the first two years it was much harder to keep in contact with friends and family back home (unless I went on my computer after work, etc). Ever since switching to a smartphone, I can communicate by email, Facebook, chat applications, and I can instantly write back and forth to family and friends even on the train, at lunch break or walking around stations. It is wonderful. But it also depends on the communication style of each person, I've come to realize. Some are fantastic with keeping updated and in touch through these methods, while some aren't as motivated to write and do much better in person instead. Not just with people overseas, but especially those in Tokyo, sometimes it can be very hard to make schedules match, or even to get in contact since everyone is rushing around and being very very busy (myself included at times!).
So the Olympics will be coming to Tokyo for 2020. Seven years from now, it feels so incredibly far away that I still can't imagine it yet. Where will I be in 2020? What will I be doing? I have an idea of what I want to be doing. Now all it takes is working toward that and keeping positive.