In 2020 I had the privilege of spending two months in Japan. It had been 8 years for me since I last visited Japan. As loyal readers of this blog will know, I have spent a year living in Japan in 2011-2012. That experience was incidentally also my first time to visit Japan and it changed my life.
Despite having fallen in love with Japan, I moved back to Belgium in 2012, following the plan that had been laid out from the start. I was anxious to get back to Japan quickly but life happened and I was unable to travel for several years. Fast forward to December 2019. I impulsively decided that now was the time and come March 3rd 2020, I found myself on an airplane to Japan!
Arriving in Japan felt like coming home. I spent two months reconnecting with Japan and it nourished my soul. Japan didn’t seem to have changed all that much. I however had and it was interesting to rediscover my relationship with Japan. My sense of awe at every little aspect of life that has fueled this blog in the past seems to have given way to something that I can only describe as a deeper personal bond with Japan. I attribute this mostly to the fact that the past 8 years for me have been filled with the study of traditional Japanese culture like tea ceremony and kimono, although age might also be a contributing factor.
I came home from my travels with a renewed passion for all the things that I love about Japan. It has inspired me to resume writing articles on The Japans. As I write, I hope to keep learning about Japan and to further explore my evolving relationship with Japanese culture. I hope you will join me on my journey!
How do you see it now compared to 8 years ago? What were the things that surprised you the most on your return?
I felt it hadn’t changed that much. The most notable thing to me was the ‘drip coffee’ rage. I did feel I was very different however so it was very interesting to see how my relationship with Japan had changed. During the 8-year hiatus, I have immersed myself in traditional Japanese culture (mainly tea ceremony). So my sense of wonder that fueled this blog initially has given way to a deeper appreciation and a sense of familiarity. The things I notice are different now. I hope I can write many an article yet about these new things that I’ve experienced.
Leuk Hélèna om iets van jou te vernemen. Jij die zo enthousiast over japon verteld hebt in jouw blog. Ik ben benieuwd wat je nog zal schrijven. Ik had zelfs je blog aangeraden aan iemand die naar Japon vertrok. groetjes aan je broer en je papa en heel veel liefs.
Zo leuk om iets van je te horen Véronique! Ik ben blij dat mijn blog destijds in de smaak viel. Bedankt ook om anderen de weg te wijzen naar mijn blog. Ik doe mijn best om vanaf nu weer artikels te schrijven. Ik heb al veel ideeën!
Oh wow. You were here during the pandemic, like arrived and left during it?! Amazing!! Would love to hear how you spent your time.
I am planning a blog post about what it was like to be in Japan during the pandemic. But overall corona-virus did not pose a big problem for my plans. I was lucky.
Love to be on your post again. I love the Japanese culture and especially love the gift wrapping!
Sent from my iPhone
Thank you Lisa! Yes, Japanese gift wrapping is amazing. I love it too 🙂
I’m happy you were able to spend time “back home”! I so enjoyed your blog during that year, having lived in Japan for a year myself (2005-2006). Looking forward to hearing more!
Thank you Ann! Where in Japan did you live?
I lived in Nagoya (Yagoto area to be more specific). I had two return visits “home” after leaving in summer of 2006 – two weeks in spring of 2007 and a week in summer of 2008.
Nice to read that you were able to reconnect with Japan after many a year. I look forward to seeing what new, fascinating cultural features you have been able to uncover.
Thank you Ray!