Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Day 13 – Something about Japan that reminds you of home?

When I was in grade school, they did an "experimental spelling" program with my class. To this day I can't spell worth shit. Also, I apparently thought clouds = leaves when I was in first grade.
The definition of "home," for me, is a place where I have a bed to sleep in and a closet to put clothes in. I've never liked living out of a suitcase, so as soon as I move to a new place, the first thing I do is get my clothes put away and a bed made up for myself (no matter how temporary both may look). One of the most frustrating things about my study abroad experience was staying in a room that didn't have a place I could put my clothes away in. Although I stayed in that house (with the most wonderful host family) for six months, I lived out of my huge suitcase the entire time.

Since this post is about nostalgia, I only thought it appropriate to show pictures from "way back when" I was about as good at English writing as my junior high school students, hahahaa
I've also never been one to get terribly attached to places I live in. During my childhood, I moved 5 times. Add that to changing living spaces every year in college and finally my major move to Japan and you can see that I've never had a very stable place to call "home." Of course, this has been fine with me! I love traveling around, moving to new places and discovering new things about where I live. My moves have also never been quite as dramatic (always the same school district or close when I was younger and my campus was small, so it really wasn't much of a move each time) as the one I did from Chicago to Japan. I know that this prompt is about what's something that reminds you of your home country in Japan, but the word "home" always strikes a chord with me. I feel like life is a constant battle about where one should call "home." Japan has become home just as much as Chicago is my home.

So. Something about Japan that reminds me of home. My answer is going to be really abstract and can be described through an anecdote:

A few days ago I was over at my friend Nat-chan's house having dinner (as I usually do Tuesday nights) with her, her boyfriend, and my friend Yukiko. Whenever we make dinner together, we all prepare dinner together, then sit down and watch some sort of movie/chat/watch youtube videos/listen to music. This last Tuesday, we watched some of the Lady Gaga Monster Ball tour DVD Nat-chan got cheap (because it was in English) and they had be translate some of her dialogue (difficult, to say the least). Once we got tired of watching her strut around stage, Yukiko pulled out the Famicon and we all started playing the original Mario. For all of us, the game is so nostalgic of childhood (even though I'm the youngest of them all) and it had been awhile since any of us had played the game. Even so, there's that deep-rooted memory of the jumps, moves, and secret boxes you're supposed to get that had still resided in all of us. This feeling is what reminded me of home.

All through childhood and high school, me and my friends would sit around and play video games together. I'm not much for video games, but I appreciate the classics like Mario and Donkey Kong, and I've always been a fan of hack-and-slash or racing games. However, sitting around with my friends here while playing nostalgic games brought me the warmest feeling of "home" I've ever had. It was so comfortable and familiar that I didn't feel like I was in Japan, in America, or really anywhere at all. I was in a good place with good people, enjoying something that made us all laugh and remember what was fun about being a kid.

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