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Home in America

So here I am in America, listening to a sappy piano song getting into a sappy mood about to write a sappy blog. It's been almost two months since the earthquake on March 11 off the coast of Sendai and a little less than that since my university forced me to come home to America. It's hard to believe I was even in Japan; it all seems like a dream. I wasn't too happy about having to abruptly leave in the middle of my studies, and even less happy when I found out my university was canceling my program with Tohoku. What makes it even worse is that, since I had already left Sendai when I got the order to come home, most of my clothes, a laptop and a decent amount of money are still in Japan. My university has said they will do what they can in assisting me but the emails have stopped flowing and I'm no longer getting answers. I have friends in Japan who can help out with my stuff but I would like an answer so I can make a decision moving forward.

Of course, there aren't that many friends left. Only about 10 of the 60+ JYPE students are returning. Most of them are staying home due to families and only one American is returning. Oddly enough, I only saw students from American universities being forced home and having their programs canceled on them. It's strange to think that a few months ago we were all happy together and enjoying each others' company. Now we are once again scattered around the globe as if we never met.

The hardest part about leaving Japan isn't that I'll miss the food, or the culture, or the different-yet-similar way of life, or any of the intangibles. The hardest part is that I had to leave all the close friends I had met. The first few days everyone was in a completely new and foreign land so it was only natural for us all to grow very attached very quickly. I really wish I could have spent those last 5 months with them, but it pains me to say that I will never see most of them again. Sure, we make superficial promises to visit each others' countries in the future, but in reality that probably won't happen for most. I had also joined a local ultimate frisbee team that I had begun to grow attached to. Leaving them was just as hard since we had so many plans in the future for games and tournaments. We had even just ordered team jerseys.

Of course, I had it pretty lucky compared to some people. I doubt there was a single person in the Sendai/Tohoku area who's life was not put on hold for some period of time. Compared to the utter and complete destruction in some areas, I have no right to complain. I don't really blame anyone for me having to come back home. Although, I do blame my university a little for how they handled the situation and are currently handling it. It's not like we planned for this earthquake to just fall in our lap. I mean how lucky/unlucky am I to experience one of the biggest quakes in recorded history while I am studying in Japan.

I am also saddened by not being able to meet so many JREFers. It would have been so nice to meet some of you especially Mars Man at his annual meeting. However, I'll be graduating next year and applying for graduate schools and possibly doing a super secret internship next summer so it appears I will not be able to make it back to Japan for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, I'll be doing research with a professor at my university and frantically trying to keep my Japanese from deteriorating. Oh well. いつかに会えるように!


It's sad that you could only stay in Japan for such a short period, but as you said there are enough people that lost their lives.

I am sure that you will be able to come to one of the MM's BBQ parties some day. As long as his hair isn't completely fallen out you should still be able to make it.

What kind of research will you be doing?
Hey DB, thanks for reading!

I too believe that some day I'll make it to Mars. I just hope everyone will still be there!

I'll be doing research in trying to predict massive solar flares that could cripple or completely wipe out satellite systems. Should be a pretty interesting Summer...

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