I'm actually back!
Very tired and a little confused, but definitely back in Britain!
I will write about my flight properly soon, but it went without a hitch. It was extremely sad to leave my guesthouse and my housemates, but I knew that it had to happen. I said goodbye to everyone, and everything, and really had to fight myself to stay as composed as possible. I was leaving my home of seven months.
My Chinese housemate, very kindly, came to Tokyo City Air Terminal on Thursday morning to wave me off. It was incredibly sad to say goodbye to him, because he was very kind. I waved until the bus rounded the corner and he was gone.
On the bus to the airport, which cost Y2,900, I was having real flashbacks to various times during my trip. I know it sounds like something you see in a film, with grainy black and white images representing memories, but the journey was actually filled with random images of people, places and emotions.
At the airport, I sent emails to some people from my phone, and told them I was safely ready to go, and thank you for everything.
I couldn't believe I was leaving Japan. The last few days there didn't feel real.
On the plane, I looked through the selection of music you can make your own playlist out of, and I found some songs that meant a lot to me while I was in Japan. I feel I must admit that Touch My Body, by Mariah Carey, was included, but I probably heard that song more than any other over the last seven months.
I only slept for about 90 minutes the night before I left, and had maybe 3 hours of broken, uncomfortable sleep on the plane.
But somehow I stayed awake and alert, probably from adrenaline, until 11pm at home. My mum, brother and cousin met me at Heathrow airport in London, and then we had lunch in a pub (so British) and drove up to Birmingham.
The over-riding feeling was a dream-like state that I found myself in. It felt like I was just in Britain for a little bit, and I'd be returning 'home' to Tokyo soon.
Once I got home, everything felt strange, lovely, but very strange. It didn't quite register that I was at home. My real home, in Birmingham.
I knew that, after a few days, Japan would feel like the dream, but for now, Japan is still my reality.
I can't find the words, and that's not because I lived in a non-English speaking country, to describe how absolutely amazing my trip to Japan was.
The way my personality, outlook, and life has changed as a result is more than I ever expected. I can't recommend doing something like this enough.
Although I was sad to leave, I'd much rather be sad to leave because I enjoyed it, than be happy to go because it was a painful, trying seven months.
And sometimes it was difficult, looking back at it, and I did feel a bit homesick at times, but the memories and experiences I have now make up for it a thousand times.
I have to close that chapter of my life behind me now, and look forward to University in September, where I'll study English & Japanese, and after that, in September 2009, I will return to Japan as an exchange student to study for one year.
An exciting four years lie ahead of me!
And I can't wait.