Hawaiian Respite

It has been almost 3 weeks since I have arrived back in the USA for good. But I have yet to dedicate a blog entry to what I've done here. Perhaps I am trying to figure out how to keep up this web journal without the obvious prompts of adjusting to another culture. Seeing one's own culture with an outsider's perspective gives valuable insight. Or is it just reverse culture shock? That's what I'm trying to figure out.

I planned my flight back with layovers in Busan, South Korea; Tokyo, Japan; and Honolulu, Hawaii, USA. My school, which graciously paid for my ticket, complained that I had such an indirect route but that was actually the cheapest ticket. A 12-hour layover in Honolulu... ok, I'll take it! Hawaii is a meeting point of East and West. The plurality of cultures there ensured that I wouldn't get the full "American" immersion for one more day. I needed to ease myself back into America.

It helps when I have family over there that I can hang out with. Stephen, my cousin, is a mechanic for a cargo airline that shuttles fish and mail to and from the tiny islands between Hawaii and Guam. His father was born in New York, his mother in Hiroshima, Japan, so he is half Japanese. His wife, Yumiko, is from Tokyo, so their four children are three-quarters Japanese. Staying with them when I left for, and came back from, Japan made for a gentle transition. We ate sashimi, fried rice, and edamame as I showed them pictures of my time there. They were impressed with how much Japanese I had learned while I was over there (I'm surprised at how quickly I think I've lost it since returning!).

What else do you do with family in Hawaii but go to the beach at sunset?! We piled into two cars and set off for Haleiwa Beach. All the way we chatted about our growth during the past year. At the beach, I played with the two youngest in the water while the college aged Jarel and Sara watched from the sand. Sara studies broadcast journalism at Hawaii Pacific University. She offered to take my camera and photos of the event. So the credit for the photos goes to her.

As the sun set and the evening cooled off, we drove back home. My flight would leave in 2 hours. Yumiko and I talked about what I missed and didn't like about Japan. I missed the food, I didn't like having to anticipate what other people were thinking. I have enough trouble figuring out what I think. I missed the public courtesy and customer service. I missed people who made sure they were taken care of by taking care of other people.

The overnight flight to Los Angeles gave me little chance for comfort or sleep. Japan Airlines fed me twice and always kept me hydrated on the 8-hour flight from Tokyo to Honolulu; American Airlines gave me one drink on the 6-hour flight to LA. Welcome back.

In the coming weeks I'll be searching for an apartment, a car, a job, and a voice for my new perspective on life with deeper knowledge of an Asian culture in my worldview. I hope I can keep the tone of my blog upbeat, insightful, and free of politics and ranting.

1 comment:

Geoffrey Philp said...

I hope you will find that space.
One Love,

Countries I have visited

Where I've been in the USA