And now the end is near...

(Just a teeny tiny note before you read!) -I started writing this in Japan but am publishing it back here in Dublin. Have had a slow and sleepy restart back into life in Ireland so am only just getting my act together. But I'll talk more about that in a mo.

(JAPAN)

I was just in my room... eating chocolate, because I'm sad, because I have to leave Japan tomorrow and Japan is amazing and you'd be sad too if you were me. Today is my last day in Japan because really I'm leaving at 4:30am tonight. But WOW. Just wow. The only way to explain Japan is to tell you to go and visit it yourself.

For me Japan has been this trip where I learned a lot about myself as well as about Japan. And the value of this trip is waaaaaaay more than just the price of food and aeroplane tickets. 

The most difficult thing I have found during this trip is the people at home telling me they miss me. I have learned (although it took time) to just be in the moment in Japan and not think of home or my family and friends. But when they tell me they miss me, or talk about home I feel like a bad person for being able to forget about home. But I think it's something you have to learn to do is to just be completely your own person. Although that doesn't mean not keeping in touch or stop caring about everyone at home.

I didn't realise how little Japanese I had before I came but I really have improved LOADS. I will really miss hearing the japanese language every day though. Whoever told me I'd be grand with my Katakana and Hiragana (two of the japanese alphabets) was a liar!! You can NOT survive in Japan without kanji (super difficult impossible alphabet with about 8000 characters or more). Kanji are so difficult and are now my arch nemesis! I will defeat the kanji!

When I look back on the start of this trip and think about what I wanted to achieve, I realise I didn't really know what I wanted before I came here. I had all these ideas and interests but I didn't really know what to do with them. Well Japan has given me a little more direction. I now have a college course in mind, which is AMAZING! I am thinking about intercultural studies with Spanish and Japanese in DCU. It will give me the chance to spend my third year in Japan. It also happens to be the year of Ombashira (a local festival where they ride on tree trunks down the mountain and bring them to the shrines) it looks brilliant and I want to go.

This is me and some peeps standing in front of a demo of the Ombashira ehh... stuff? Basically giant logs that are ridden down the hills, which is just the mad and wonderful way that Japan works. The festival only happens every 7 years or so (because they need a break!) and people die from falling off the trees each time it's held. Scary stuff.