May 18 2008
If it is, I am going to be pissed.
Japanese is a very precise language. It has several different ways to get across the same concept. For the concept of good-bye there are a whole bunch of ways to say it. Each is applicable in a specific context and situation.
For example if you are leaving work, your co-workers would say to you “Otsukari-sama deshita” or “go kura sama deshita”. ( Literally thank you for your hard work that made you tired).
If you are with friends, and you are off on an errand or perhaps going back to the office from the coffee shop, a simple , “Ja ne” short for “Ja matta ne”. (to wait..)”.
Evening time and friends are leaving your house after a dinner together? “O yasumi nasai”.
The “S” word though-conveys a tone of finality. Not total finality-although it is used in those types of situations, but a sense of a protracted period of time before seeing one another again.
So as we are moving to the USA, perhaps its appropriate. But I don’t think so-or want to think of it in those terms. We begin the journey as I write this post. For me though, no matter where my path takes me, my heart will remain here. In Asia.
These last 8 and a half years have been among the best in my life. When I was told I was coming here, I was at one of the lowest points of my life. It was a gift from God-to escape from a bad situation and from those useless people who thought they had a carte blanche to interfere with what was privately my own business. Who could not, or would not, see the distinction between what was work and what was home-and that the only thing they need bother themselves with was work. ( My ex had the same misguided notion only in reverse-fortunately by then she had ceased to be part of the picture-even thought there was a few more months of the legal clean up effort). Arriving in Japan, freshly free, single, and my own boss finally; I had arrived in heaven. The next 2 years that I lived in a tiny apartment were simply heaven.
And for that matter, the remaining 6 were really great for the most part too. I’ve learned a new language, have actually been able to converse, read, and live in it. I never thought I would be able to do that. I’ve seen the sights of the greatest cities on earth. I’ve lived and experienced things that are and were: beautiful, sensual, and just plain fun. I wish I could be starting it all over again. Oh the fun I could have with what I know now!
However life moves on and so for a while at least, God willing, I will be back in the land of my birth. However I suspect sooner, rather than later, the urge to return will overpower me. Till I do, I am going to study, go to school, work hard and improve myself professionally. The better of course to secure a place back on the right side of the dateline.
So I will not say the “S” word to my beloved Japan. I’ll simply ask it to keep a seat open for me at the izakaya, on the train, in the onsen, or standing in front of Hachiko. Soro soro Nihon ni kaeritai desu! Ja mata ne!