This is the post I both looked forward to and dreaded writing. As of July 27, my five years as an ALT on JET came to close. I looked forward to finishing up my job because, let’s face it, five years is a long time to be an ALT. But on the other hand, finishing up JET meant that it was time for me to set out from Japan.
I’m writing this two months after I left, and you know what? I really miss it. I really, really miss living in Japan. There were certainly plenty of downs that came with the ups, but it was a time in my life that I’ll look forward to fondly for the rest of my time.
About a month or so before I stepped foot out of the country for the first time in about three and a half years (I visited the US for Christmas in 2008), I tried my hand at taking JLPT N1. I didn’t want to. I had passed 2-kyu (now N2) about three prior but didn’t really see myself passing N1. I only took it because Beth was taking it and wanted moral support.
Well, as fate would have it, a few weeks ago I received notification that both Beth and I passed JLPT N1. That kind of blows my mind. When I first got to Japan I viewed 1-kyu (now N1) as an insurmountable task–something that I’d never achieve. But I guess I was able to after all. Cool, eh?
I think passing N1 is quite a fitting way to finish up my time in Japan.
So what now? Well, Beth and I have decided to put off returning to the US for now, as for the time being we’re on a planned year-long bicycle journey in Eurasia. As I write this post, Beth and I are in a hotel room in the city of Yinjiang, Guizhou, China. Don’t feel bad if you don’t know where that is (south-central China), as I didn’t know of this existence of this city until a few days ago either.
I know that updates on this journal have been quite sparse, but if there are any of you out there who still wish to follow along, but this time on a completely different journey than my time in Japan, the story is being continued over at crazyguyonabike.com/westfromjapan. Feel free to stop by, and thanks for your time here.