Friday, March 23, 2012
It's hard to pack 9 months of your life into suitcases and move across the world. When I was packing to come to Japan, I was thinking strategically. What won't I be able to obtain in Japan? What will I need to hold me over until I receive my first paycheck? What sorts of things might be easier to bring than to purchase? I had two suitcases and a carry-on, and I tried to make every last inch of space count. In retrospect, I think I was mostly successful.
Re-packing for my trip home, I realize now that nine months of Japanese lifestyle choices have netted me a ton of souvenirs but not much else. Many of my purchases were pragmatic, such as tables, sofas, and kitchen supplies. I'm coming back with most of the same clothes I brought (minus some significantly worse-for-wear shoes). I have one more suitcases than I had originally, but it's a small one. In the end, a lot of stuff will either be left for my replacement or tossed in the trash.
That's not to say I didn't have fun. Most of my souvenirs are small, and I think in this age of amazing technology, our ability to maintain memories has become smaller and more sophisticated. I have hundreds of photos on my phone, along with countless messages to my friends. Imagine trying to bring a comparable amount of photo albums and bundles of letters back to America... it would be impossible!
My best memories have all been chronicled here, on this blog. And as long as I have my memories, I can stand to go without life-size sculptures of Buddha, or authentic samurai swords. I'm very eager to return home, and I hope my suitcases make the trip as well.