I got back to Nanae two nights ago – I spent 10 days with my family in Concord, one night at a hotel in Hakodate (city next to Nanae), and 3 days at Niseko (big ski-mountain in Hokkaido). I’ve made two large cultural transitions now: one when I arrived in Japan and one visiting Concord. Both times, I didn’t deal with the change very well. The mindsets in each culture are entirely opposite for me, and shifting between them has been difficult. In Concord/Boston, historically I’ve found personal peace through being efficient and staying a step ahead of whatever I see happening around me, and in Japan I’ve found it by letting things unfold in their own time and way. I haven’t really bridged the two ways of life at all. I don’t know yet if they can be. I have formed a new type of relationship with the world around me in a very short time in Japan. It’s something I could not have imagined before experiencing it, and it has come hand in hand with an immense feeling of potential. The only thing that makes sense to me unconditionally is to continue to let it develop and be at its whim – doing so thus far has yielded life-changing results. I don’t know how much of this way of life is a product of Japanese culture, how much is from my specific environment/situation here, and how much of it is due to my personality. I do know that this is the only place I have felt it though, and after a very stressful few days of travel on airplanes and trains between America and Niseko, the mindset reemerged on its own within the first day of being back in Nanae. The last few months have been an amazing experience for me mentally and emotionally, and it has opened up parts of me that I didn’t know could be built on or developed. I believe this is a pivotal moment in my life that can’t be turned back.