by Joseph Bonney
After spending two intense, fun-filled weeks, I prepared to leave for Matsumoto where I will be living for the next year. It still hadn't quite hit me yet that I was in Japan, and honestly it still hasn't. I'm not sure if its a numbness or what, but the raging excitement others seem to have I'm not feeling. Sure it's an adventure, being in a new territory, trying new things, meeting new people. Yet I can't help but feel like something's missing. It’s not a sense of loneliness (which the training manager assured us we would feel as some point), but just this feeling of existing.
I don't know, maybe I'm getting to existential. But the train ride doesn't help stop these thoughts. The gorgeous scenic view of cities slowly transform into gargantuan mountain ranges eclipsing the area. The serenity of the rice fields, mountain peaks, and kanji filled banners add to the stereotypical Japanese landscape archetype.
The further from Tokyo we got, the population changed: from hip young adults and teens, to business men and conservatively dressed women. People entering the train were more likely to stare at me. Questioning with their eyes “Why are you here?”. A question I couldn't really answer myself to be honest. But the closer we got to Matsumoto, the people started to look more like they did in Shibuya. Fashionable, but more so with a purpose.
It was a beautiful 3 hours of me pondering my next stop, scanning the horizon, and thinking about what's next that kept me awake for the ride. I'm hoping whatever I find in Matsumoto will be a fun, pleasant, introspective moment in my life. I'm hoping to use my time in Matsumoto productively and to also enjoy myself.
Joseph Bonney is a contributing writer for Human Influence. Originally from Central Texas, he moved to Matsumoto, Japan, to teach English.