What a week. I moved out of my house yesterday and now I'm living on base in billeting for five days. In a way, the transition so far has been so smooth. My move went great, seven Japanese guys packed up my crap with loads of TLC while I hiked up a nearby mountain to a shrine. I've never made it all the way up before but this time I knew I had to, so I propelled myself, dizzy and sweaty, up that sucker until I reached the top. I was rewarded with a beautiful view of my neighborhood and the river peaking through the bamboo groves. It was really special.
I have so much to talk about on one hand, but on the other, I'm still trying to process through it all and I need to do that before I post. Tomorrow is my last day at my job (Can I get an "amen"?) and then I have one full day to wrap up details and try to believe that I'm really doing this. My two branches gave me a Sayonara Doll today. It's a Japanese kokeshi-like doll, wooden, that comes with a paper scroll attached so people can write goodbye ("sayonara") messages on it and then roll it up (looking like a kimono) as a gift. It was nice to come back to my room after work and relax and read through the messages from everyone. One issue I've been sorting through mentally is about what kind of contribution I've made during my time in Japan, personally, relationally and professionally. I wrote a "This I Believe" essay (sorry I can't link to it -- I can't link on this PC; you can look up "This I Believe" on NPR to know what I mean) about leadership, it was questioning the impact that a leader can have. I appreciated reading the sayonara messages and hearing associates describe what they've valued about our time together. Ultimately I'll sort through it all and make decisions about my time here and the gains and losses. For now I'm focused on wrapping up the loose ends and finishing well.
So my final house inspection is tomorrow morning. I sell my car on Thursday and then move on Friday night. I've taken two or three hundred pictures over the last month or so, they've been of all of my friends and my neighbors, but also of normal streets and places that I frequently visit or drive by. I needed to put most of my photos into storage (Oregon) so I won't have them with me in New York, but I did select a good handful to bring with me. I also have all of the pictures on this blog to look at, which is really fun for me. The one below of little Chiaki-chan squatting down looking at flowers was taken right before he walked up to me with a carefully constructed bouquet as a present. I'm going to miss those kinds of things the most.