Don’t Make Me Go Back in the Bubble!

There’s been a change of plans. My departure time has now been rescheduled for tomorrow, which means that in T-Minus 27 hours I’ll be blasting off of Planet Tokyo, headed in the general direction of the the US of A with a couple week stopover in Singapore and Hong Kong.

My last day of work was on Tuesday so for the last three days I’ve done nothing but mope around Tokyo in this fog of sadness. I feel like I’m a ghost and I’m haunting my former life. I’m jobless and homeless and it’s really time to move on. I can’t bare the thought of spending another day in limbo.

But I’m scared. I feel like I’m Kianu Reeves and and I’ve just been asked to return to my normal, blissfully ignorant life in the Matrix. It’s impossible. I’ve seen and experienced too much of the Outside World…I can’t go back to pretending that it doesn’t exist. And let’s face, if I have any hopes of ever fitting into life in the giant bubble that is mainstream America, that’s what I’ll have to do.

I think that the hardest part will be leaving my exciting life behind. In the last five months, I’ve gone rock climbing and snowboarding and white water rafting. I’ve fed wild snow monkeys and danced on stage in front of thousands of people and attended a penis festival. I love that I can call up my friends on a random weekend and say: “Hey, you wanna go walk on fire with me and a bunch of monks?” and be taken completely seriously.

Rafting in Minakami last weekend.

When I think of America, I think strip malls, giant parking lots, pick-up trucks and shopping malls. When I close my eyes, I can practically smell that Mall smell. It smells like pennies, Elizabeth Arden perfume, air conditioning, gasoline, hot tar, and plastic. It’s enough to make me shudder.

They have this perfume store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn called I Hate Perfume. They have anti-perfume scents like ‘Leather Glove’, ‘Playdo’, ‘Rubber Cement’ and ‘Camp Fire’…and they smell exactly like the real thing. It’s amazing. My favorite is ‘Library’…it smells like an old, musty used book. I love it.

I think that they should make a scent called ‘Tokyo’. It would smell like tofu, green tea, wooden chopsticks, cherry blossoms and incense. I could spritz myself with it every time I get a little homesick…Every time I get a little tired of life inside the Bubble.

I could then come back to Japan and market it. I’d make it available in bathroom vending machines and in the duty free shops at the airport.

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Comments ( 15 )

  1. Emily

    "I think that they should make a scent called 'Tokyo'. It would smell like tofu, green tea, wooden chopsticks, cherry blossoms and incense. I could spritz myself with it every time I get a little homesick...Every time I get a little tired of life inside the Bubble.

    I could then come back to Japan and market it. I'd make it available in bathroom vending machines and in the duty free shops at the airport." -- I love it! At least you have a business plan for when you get back.

    Have a safe trip. I'm sure many adventures will be coming your way.

  2. Katie

    ... Check out the Tokyo scent. Close to what you described, except fruitier.

  3. Martin in Bulgaria

    You are very business minded. Go for it if yo think it would work.

  4. Erin

    Why do I feel so sad about your epic departure from Japan? I love your stories and I feel like I am vicariously living through you...and I don't want to live in America!

    Anyways, I look forward to more. Safe travels to you!

  5. Reannon

    WHAT?! Someone beat me to it and came up with a Tokyo scent? Figures. Every single one of my 'Get Rick so I don't have to teach English anymore' plans don't ever materialize. ; )

    But I looked at that site and I couldn't find a Tokyo scent. I found a Kyoto one but not a Tokyo...maybe there's still hope?

  6. Reannon

    Hi Erin,

    Awww don't feel sad. Maybe I'll be back. Who knows...I don't really want to go back to America either. So I seriously doubt I'll be there for very long. Just long enough to come up with a new plan...I applied for the Peace Boat. So if I get the job, I'll be back in Tokyo in December. We'll see...

    Thanks for reading and I hope you (and everyone else) keeps reading even after I've returned to the States. I'll try my best to keep things interesting!

  7. Chase

    *shudder* I know how you feel. I believe traveling has (already) changed me forever. I don't want to return to America a standard American. I don't want to stop looking for the extraordinary in the mundane. I don't want to see endless miles of concrete parking lots and people of plastic and think "That's all there is to life."

    I hope you continue blogging as you encounter reverse culture shock.

  8. Sarah

    I know how you feel. I was despondent the first time I left Japan. But I came back. You can always come back too. Japan isn't going anywhere.

    But I disagree with your thoughts about America. When I think about the U.S. I think about some of the most spectacular wildlife areas I've ever seen. The Southwest is magical. California, Utah, Nevada, Montana. Yosemite, Glacial National Park, Zion...there's so much raw, rugged beauty in America that you just can't find in Japan. There are adventures to be had in America, too. Enjoy it.

  9. kakeline

    i will always read what you write here. i absolutely love your writing style and what you write about. Like someone else said, it gives me that wonderful feeling of living vicariously through you. i'm always wishing the best for you and i know things will work out. life is always unfolding perfectly.

    much love

  10. Brad White

    I just stumbled on your blog when doing a little research on packed Japanese trains.

    My wife and I are here for a few years and seem to be going through the same things you did over your time in Tokyo.

    About 5 years ago, I lived in Argentina, fell in love with it, and had a really tough time moving back to the States. After a few months with old friends, family, and new job opportunities however, things looked up for the next several years. But now we're in Tokyo and who knows, maybe something similar will pop up for you again in a few years.

    Good luck and God bless you in your travels!

  11. medula

    What exactly is the Peace Boat?
    I've never heard of it before...

  12. Reannon

    @Chase - I think that learning how to'find the extraordinary in the mundane' is sort of why we're all here...don't ya think? I think that living abroad makes that easier because everything is so fresh and different so it makes seeing things from a different perspective a Hell of a lot easier. But I think that we can do that from home, too. At least I'm going to try to.

  13. Reannon

    Thanks everybody for your comments!

    Medula, the Peace Boat is run by a Japanese NGO. It sails around the World on three (four?) month voyages. They hire translators and English teachers but the positions aren't paid...but you get a chance to visit 15-20 countries and all of your expenses (room and board) are taken care of. It's a great opportunity and you should look into it! I have friends who did it and said it was an awesome experience...

  14. Juice

    I'm always left wondering how someone can go home after gap year and just go back to doing what ever they were doing.. and be happy with it.

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