Hi guys, it’s been a while, hasn’t it? Sorry I haven’t written anything lately, I guess I’ve been too busy/lazy. But it’s almost 10 at night and tomorrow I have pretty much nothing to do so I figured I might as well stay up to write. So much has happened that it would take too long to talk about it all, so I’ll limit it to the recent Farewell Party that Niji no Kai had about a week ago.
First of all, I can’t even believe that it’s already getting to be the time for farewells. It doesn’t really feel like I’m leaving soon. Nothing’s really changed, except I have final tests/presentations for class, and everyone keeps saying how sad it’ll be when I leave. I can’t believe it’s already been nearly a year since I came to Japan. To think that I had originally wanted to do just half a year… There have definitely been some rough times this year, but overall it was an incredible, unforgettable experience that I’m so glad I got to have, and I’m so glad I decided to do a full year. I would never have been able to make such good friends as I have now.
So this farewell party was in honor of all the foreign exchange students that will be leaving soon. There were two parts: the first was at Waseda’s cafeteria, which Niji no Kai reserved for the party; the second was in Shinjuku, at the same place where we had the Christmas Party. The first part was from like 7-9, and had a pretty calm atmosphere, just members of Niji no Kai standing around tables, drinking and talking. I hung out with my usual friends and met another person who will be studying abroad in America next year (Earlham College in Indiana, the same place where my Japanese friends Shiori and Kotaro will be studying). There was also a video shown of a bunch of the Japanese members of Niji saying their goodbyes to the foreign exchange students and telling us how happy they were to have met us. It was really sweet.
The next part was the part that my Japanese friends told me had been sort of like a club last year. It went until 4 in the morning, so this was basically the “real” party. People gave performances on stage, which were mostly pretty happy, upbeat things like dancing or that cup-stacking game. But for the last act, Vageesha, our friend Julie, and I (we had decided that day) played a song. First, Vageesha gave this heart-wrenching speech about how Niji was like family to him, which made more than one person in the crowd start bawling. Then we played the song “Into the West” (you know, the last song from The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King) with Vageesha on guitar and Julie and I singing. Ever since I sang “Twist and Shout” at the Niji Live (oh that’s right, I didn’t blog about that! I sang some Beatles songs with some of my Niji friends at this mini-concert thing we put on. It was the first time I had ever sang in front of anyone, so I was incredibly nervous, but it was the most fun I’d had in a while and I realized I wanted to keep doing it) I had wanted to sing more, so I was happy to do this slower, sadder song. It was amazing–before we went on, everyone was in a pretty good mood, pumped-up from the other performances. But after we went on, everyone was sobbing. I’m glad we got to do that, because after all, it’s a farewell party, and people need to be crying! I actually cried my eyes out with Vageesha (Jon fell asleep) which I hadn’t expected at all. I never cry in front of other people, but with all these great people who I can proudly call my friends around me, I couldn’t help but let it all out. These are some of the greatest friends I’ve ever had, and I can’t believe I only met them less than a year ago.
I’m sad to be leaving, but I’m also kind of relieved, to be honest. A year is still a long time, and I’ve begun to miss my life back home. I miss being around my family, my dog, my old friends. I miss having my own space, that I can really call mine. And of course I miss not having to use Japanese all the time.
I leave Japan on August 3 (less than two weeks from now…) but before then, I plan on doing plenty with my friends. Who knows when I’ll see them again. So for now, no tears. I’m going to enjoy the rest of my time here to the fullest.
I’ll leave you with the song we sang at the party. It’s so symbolic of our leaving–we’re literally going into the west–and I feel like I’m just going to play it on repeat on the plane home. Anyway, enjoy, and until next time!