Hard to believe I’ve been back now for 11 days. Heck, at this point it’s hard to believe I ever left! Such is the re-entry to life, work and all things habitual. I would add all things American to that list, but somewhat surprisingly, I experienced precious little “culture shock” upon my return to the States. I left Japan at 3:45 pm on January 3 and arrived at SF International Airport at 7:30 on January 3, in essence, traveling backwards in time with a little help from the International Date Line. The small amount of culture shock I did experience — that “why does this scene so dreadfully familiar when I left look so utterly strange now” feeling — hit me during my rush hour ride home on BART.Â I think that my housemate’s gracious ride back from the BART station and intial presence at home really helped to smooth the transition.Â Thanks, Chip!
I hadn’t slept at all on the 9 hour flight, so by this point I was ready for a serious nap. Of course, a nice warm shower, some food shopping and two delicious fish tacos from Taqueria La Familia down the street were tasks I had to complete before the big sleep. When it came, it came hard. Within my first 36 hours home I slept 16 and a half. Sweet, delicious sleep.Â I woke up at 2pm the next day and quickly jumped into unpack and resettle mode. By the time Monday came around three scant days later, my life back home seemed familiar. Work was another story. I didn’t miss much while I was away other than a few important meetings and budget crunch politics — better I was absent for all that anyway. My first week felt more like a month, though, and I was quite relieved for Friday to roll around. And now, in week two of re-entry to work, it seems like I’ve been here all along.
Yes, I would say that I’ve been experiencing “lifestyle shock” much more than culture shock.Â The many experiences of my trip come back in vivid flashes, but few remain present in my short term memory.Â Sorting through my photos has been a welcome task to bring back that vacation mindset.Â And I’m working on a slideshow to really share my trip with friends and co-workers.Â Thankfully I’ve got a few other things going for me to help ease the pain and fight the tendency to fall back mindlessly into all my previous habits. Prime among them is my new home which offers plenty of opportunities for self-evaluation and to change things up for the better. Another is the new year and all the wonderful challenges it will bring and grand intentions for which I’ve set. A third is my new position at work, learning new skills and interacting with new colleagues which.
All in all I feel most fortunate, not only to have had the time and means to travel around the world for 7 weeks, but also to have so much waiting for me at home.Â I’ve posted the rest of my Japan photos and I do plan on adding titles to my pics and writing a few more entries on some notable experiences in Japan, including the Hiroshima International Peace Museum and my geek indulgences in Tokyo (see picture above for a sneak peak!).Â For the most part, though, I’m home and my trip is a wrap.Â I’ve even finished distributing all the gifts I brought home…well, almost.Â Mom, Dad, Grandma, don’t worry, the package is in the mail.Â And so, with the acknowledged close to a incredible adventure, I must thank you, the reader, for tuning in and checking out my words and images.Â It is always a pleasure to know that a few folks out there on the interwebs enjoy this here blog.Â Happy New Year, Namaste and Sayanora for now.