Where do I begin my thoughts and feelings about this storied archipelago? Just the name “Japan” conjures up images ranging from the ancient samurai to the most cutting-edge of modern technology.

In some ways, it is a nation in crisis. As the images between ancient Japan and modern Japan continue to diverge, so too are its people torn between the old and new cultures. Likewise, during my year in Japan, I was torn. Torn between some of my best memories, and some of my most difficult, trying times. I was selected for the 2006-07 JET Program, a true honor. Looking back, I wish I had taken it more seriously, but I also think I needed to struggle in order to grow from the experience.

Perhaps I was not ready for Japan, or perhaps Japan just isn’t a good fit for me. Regardless, I still look back fondly on the Land of the Rising Sun, and hope to return (to travel) some day soon.

I still have a soft-spot in my heart for Nagasaki, and the great friends I made there. Whether we were singing for 3 hours in a Karaoke room, or playing soccer, or just drinking in Nagasaki Harbor Park, we were always there for one another.

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