July 22, 2001


Right now I'm feeling: Depressed

Right now I'm listening to: Do As Infinity

Do As Infinity -- Tooku Made  

The Gatherings

Sometimes people can surprise you. Last week I got a call from one of my old students. Motowa is a highly intelligent, excitable, interesting girl. She has a sharp, sarcastic wit, dreams of becoming a TV reporter and is not afraid to make an ass out of herself (something very uncommon in Japan). She called me because she had heard that I was leaving Japan soon, and her and six or seven of my old students wanted to take me out to dinner one last time. I just couldn't believe it. You know.. students come in and out of your life.. I know they care, right, but I didn't think that they would go out of their way to do something like this or that they were keeping tabs on me.

We arranged a get-together at my favorite Italian place in town, Cappriccosia's, and set a date, which was not easy because they were all busy getting ready to go to colleges, universities, or whatever. In the end, only five of them could make it, but I was really happy. They were the core of my English club, the first students I really met at Seiwa JHS, and they were also the ones who got me to dance with a Peruvian band in front of a thousand people (long story there).

I've seen them around town now and then... some of them, at least. I was really interested in what was happening to Reika, the girl I was talking politics (in English) with when I couldn't even speak whole sentences to the teachers. There was Mayu, the Japanese girl who grew up in the States, who misses America probably as much as I miss Japan now. Also, Shooko, who had forgotten all her English, but tried her darndest anyway, even though she ended up saying the most ridiculous things.

I made them mixed CDs of American songs and was late to the restaurant, but I wasn't as late as Shooko. We ate, clowned around and caught up for the next two or three hours, stuffing our mouths with pizza and pasta when someone else was talking. Shooko and Motowa are both university-bound. Reika is going to a college, which is renouned throughout Japan for its language instruction. In short, they are all doing real well, just like I thought they would, no doubt on their way to great things. It's amazing how when you're in a roomfull of students who are all dressed the same, after one or two classes you can pick out the students who are just a cut above the rest and you know will turn out all right in the end.

It was terrific to see them again and I really hope we can keep in touch when I go back to the States. I'll miss these kids so much and I can't wait to see what kind of people they will become in the future.


I met up one last time with most of the city junior high school ALTs; the ALTs I've been closest with. When we leave here we will all go to different countries and our friendships will be primarily dependent on email. They weren't just casual friends, they were friends. My best friends here. We really clung to each other, living in this foreign, strange place and sometimes all we could do to stop from pulling out our hair was to be with each other.

I'm sure I'll see Lesa and Glen again, at least they live in the States, but as for Ondrea and Kristy... I'm not so sure. Things just feel so final these days. I hate saying goodbye to people who I know I'll never see again. Most of my Japanese friends will stay around here.. probably. But all the foreigners are scattering all over the globe.


Tenjin Matsuri is in a few days and I'm looking forward to seeing that. I have so much packing and cleaning to do that I was toying with the idea of skipping it, but I really have to see it.. it'll be the last Japanese festival I'll see. It's also one of the biggest, best, and most popular in the whole country. It should be good. I'll probably meet up with Machiko and Shin.

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