The time has (almost) come to say goodbye to Shimonoseki. My two year contract has come to an end, and wow, what an incredible two years it has been. I am so proud of us for what we have achieved, overcome, and experienced. Living here will be an experience we will never forget and which will continue to motivate us as we move on to pastures new.
Part of the moving process has been an apartment purge. It was so cleansing to get rid of lots of ‘stuff’ we have little use for and realise we can pack up and move on in just a few bags. This purge also forced me to confront my somewhat unhealthy bag owning obsession. So from here on in, I will try *try* to cut back on bag owning in favour of lighter living.
As part of saying goodbye, we have taken a few more local trips and I am planning to use up the last of my nenkyu (annual leave) holidaying at home for the first time ever. The first of these local trips was to Fukuoka. This is a much loved city in Kyushu, just a short bus ride from us. It is vibrant, reasonably liberal, and pretty much always sunny. We have spent so much happy time in Fukuoka, this final trip gave us the chance to say a proper relaxed goodbye.
We also made a mini bucket list of things to do in our local area. Turns out, we have done most of them so the list is actually quite small. It includes taking a trip up Shimonoseki tower (edit: one of my students said it is a penis tower and no one in Shimonoseki goes up it, so we’ve scrubbed it from our very short list) and visiting our local cafes for one (or two) last times before we leave. Apart from that, we have enjoyed living here and maximised every experience, so have little left on that ‘must-do’ list.
During the past 12 months, I have been editor of a local newsletter for the JET community. In the final edition from me, I have posted a goodbye poem which I think captures the mood of leaving and moving on to new things:
The Drifter’s Poem
The time soon comes for parting,
And our time is at an end.
The rest of your life is starting,
And we have no time at all to spend.
You knew one day you’d have to go,
But thought you’d have more time.
We can’t reverse time’s one-way flow,
But at least you’ll have this rhyme.
You had your shining moments,
Upon this life’s darkened stage,
And in my book of wonderments
You’ll never be just another page.
Like the exploding of a star,
You’ve changed me in and out.
Your light will travel with me far,
Past when all other lights go out.
By Megan R. Bokowski, published 2007
So, as we enjoy these last few weeks, it is time to say thanks #Shimonoseki #Yamaguchi and Sayonara. Next up…Tokyo.