It’s really happening. The fact that we are leaving Japan is slowly becoming a reality. With a mere 57 days left, we have started preparing. We have one suitcase packed and others that will be soon.
The hardest part, logistically, about leaving Japan is getting rid of all of our stuff. When we came we replaced two different JETs that had households worth of stuff. Both their households got moved into ours. At first it was overwhelming, too much stuff for a small space, so we worked to downsize. But now we really need to downsize.
This year the JET Program in Gifu took a bit of a hit. Starting in August, all high school ALTs will be teaching at two schools, instead of just one. As a result, there are far fewer new ALTs coming to Gifu this year. Both the ALTs that will be replacing us at our schools already live here and, as a result, do not need or want any of our stuff. So, we must get rid of it all.
It is notoriously difficult, and expensive, to throw things away in Japan. So, we are trying to give away all of our belongings. Dishes, pots and pans, laundry baskets, a genuine green pleather sofa, everything. So this past weekend we held our first in-home garage sale.
I wasn’t expecting to get rid of much, but I was pleasantly surprised. A number of people came through and took a bunch of stuff off our hands. All our bookcases are gone, the tv, tv stand, a few pans and baking dishes. And many people spoke for other items. It is great and such a relief to see things slowly move out, even if it is painful and sad at the same time.
The weird thing about this is that this has become home. I have grown to love everything about this place (except the kitchen, I never will get used to a kitchen this small) and I am sad to see it go. I have loved the simplicity of our lives. I have loved how we have spent our money and resources on seeing things and going places, rather than filling our house with nice stuff. As much as I initially hated my return back to dorm-ness, I feel that it was a good departure for me. One that helped me realize, again, what is really important in life.
As we transition away from Japan, we must transition towards the States. I hope that we can hold onto what we’ve learned, what we’ve loved, and what we’ve realized we want and need from life. If we can combine all those lessons while living in MUCH closer proximity to the family and friends that we have missed for the past two years, I feel that we will be truly lucky.