...I left for Japan!
That is not possible. That amazing year has just slipped away from me!
I can remember leaving my family in Heathrow so clearly, waving goodbye through the gate, as I queued for the metal detectors, for as long as I could see them. Then praying the flight would last forever, so I wouldn't actually have to land. And then the amazing feeling of seeing Japan, which I had only seen in photos or dreams, and breathing my new reality in as I left Narita Airport. One thing that has stuck in my mind is walking to customs from the gate, and stopping to go the toilet. For some reason, I was thinking that if the toilets weren't compeletely different from Britain's, and were normal, everything would be okay. How illogical is that?!
Then there was the incredible journey as I, bleary-eyed and confused, made my way across Tokyo to the Sakura House main office in the centre of Shinjuku. And after that, finding my guesthouse and collapsing onto my new bed for the next seven months of my life.
How do you fit so many memories into one day? I am overwhelmed by it. And now, finally, it starts to feel like a dream. I tell people about it and explain how I did it and what I did, and yet it doesn't feel real.
I have photos and videos of everywhere I went, and the friends I made, and the memories I keep, but it's like someone else took them and then superimposed me onto them.
And now, as I sit in my home in England revising for my exams next week, looking outside at the coldest winter Britain has had for decades (seriously, -11C!), I realise I can't wait to go back to Japan.
That's my motivation. I must pass this year of University and go back to Japan. And then I can record even more memories, and have as many new experiences as I can.
Hopefully, this time in eight months, I'll be back on a plane heading for Tokyo again. What a dream...