The last few weeks have been a blur. I really can’t put it any other way.
For months I anticipated my concert in Fukui (now 12 days ago!) and practiced nearly daily, a huge feat for practice-disliking me. I can’t say it went without a glitch (okay, so maybe “Pay Phone” on my pitchy guitar didn’t sound too pleasant) but it was an incredible experience to have with the people I love.
I remembered what it felt like to run free in the fields, along the river. Hours of conversation brought be closer to the women of Fukui I’ve known and loved for more than two years. I even had the opportunity to stay with one of them in her family home for the first time – a first time even for her, who said she’d never had a guest stay over who wasn’t part of the family. So, even though I’d lived in Fukui for two years and visited twice since moving, this latest adventure was riddled with familiarity and novelty. A perfect combination.
Next, Nagano time with my family for some 4+ years now. From my college days through two years of work to my present as a graduate student, they have seen me change throughout the years as parents see their own children grow. I have nothing but incredible things to say about my once-home-stay, now real family. I only love them more and more each visit.
This time around was my fifth Puppet Festival, including the one in which I performed five years ago during my summer abroad. However, this time felt different. I didn’t spend nearly as much time with the summer program students and did my own thing instead. My boyfriend and I explored a temple, visited old friends, and went for a lovely (hot) run along the river and fields. Ah, countryside love. I was never meant to live in the city, even if I was born a city girl.
Lo and behold, I’m back in Tokyo. Stress has erupted throughout my body like an allergic reaction. I need the freshness of country air, the freedom of space. Here I’ve only cramped myself up in my room, a hermit in an air-conditioned box. It’s much too hot and stuffy to leave. And my master’s thesis isn’t going to figure itself out.
But there is good news. Very, very good news. In one week and one day, I will be home. Far, far away from my Tokyo worries and surrounded by the people and places I’ve loved, missed, and dreamt about for the last year. My cuddly monster/dog awaits.