As I write this brief post, less than 24 hours remain until I depart Japan, and return once more to the land of my birth: Los Angeles, California, USA.

The past two years in Japan, and more specifically in Kagami-machi, Kumamoto-ken, have definitely been full of exceptionally high highs, as well as abysmally low lows. Indeed, within the pages of this very blog, I have launched tirade after tirade on what strikes me as strange or frustrating about Japan. After a bit of reflection, though, I realize that most of what bugs me about Japan—people dancig in rows at clubs, random people staring at me on trains because I’m foreign, lack of international food, etc.—is largely confined to the countryside. I’ve spent the past couple days cris-crossing the neon-lit streets of Kyoto and Osaka, and not a single person has gawked at me, nor asked me if I could eat rice. And people dance facing each other, ensuing in all manner of salaciously sweaty grinding—the way good dancing should be! I walked into a local grocery store and lo and behold, I found international food: fiber cookies from Spain; more than eight varieties of Twinings tea (commissioned by the Queen, mind you); fresh jam from France, among many other equally international and seemingly delicious items. I havent stumbled upon any authentic burrito mix, but hey, even Kyoto and Osaka aren’t perfect.

It’s not the case that I didn’t thoroughly enjoy my time in rural Japan; I did, but there are only so many years a 25-year-old man can go without indulging in the hedonistic trappings of a large city. And that probably goes for living in the States as well. I can only imagine how raving mad I would’ve become had I been stuck in the Middle of Nowhere, USA, for two years. Somewhere where french fries are considered to be foreign food. Somewhere where Friday night outings consist of getting drunk and raiding the local Piggly Wiggly. Now that would have been rough! To be fair, I have no idea what it’s like to live the Middle of Nowhere, USA, but I can imagine. And I choose to imagine the worst!

In short: Japan, land of geishas, hair dye, talking atm machines, Pokemon, Playstation, green tea and yes, rust and rice fields, thanks for two of the most interesting years of my life. You’ll always have a special place in my heart. (Yes, even you, rural Japan..even you) Sheeee yuuuuuuu again!