Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Another ending, a new begining...

And just like that, my 1 year, 9 month and 9 days of employment with AEON are over. Quite the roller coaster ride it has been, especially these last few months. After a frustrating lead up to my final days, I've felt at peace with things for my last two weeks here.

Japan is a very interesting country with fascinating things to see and experience, but I think what will stick with me once I get back home is the people I've met and interacted with during my time here. From the xenophobic student who wishes all foreigners would just go home to the open-minded human rights activist, our students certainly run the whole gamut of characters, and my life has been infinitely enriched by having gotten to know them. Some goodbyes are over, the next set will happen at the farewell party this Saturday where an over-capacity crowd are gathering to say goodbye to me and welcome Anthony to Utsunomiya.

My last few weeks of employment went well. Despite some last minute inflexibility and stupidity on behalf of management, I decided not to punish the new guy for it and offered up a chunk of my Monday afternoon off to help get my replacement settled in to life in Utsunomiya, and I'm glad I did. My last two days at the office were spent running Anthony through the various hoops and mazes that make up the daily grind at AEON Utsunomiya, and I'm glad to report he will do fine once he gets some time under his belt.

After class tonight, I was offered the traditional card with pictures from all the staff. Kumiko did a fantastic job taking very candid pictures and the messages from my coworkers were as usual priceless... right down to their spelling and grammatical errors. A great big thanks goes out to my (now) former coworkers at AEON. Selective memory being what it is, I will only remember the good times... and there certainly were plenty of those!

I was pleasantly surprised that a group of students had taken half of the Lion's Head and waited for me to complete my final paperwork. We all had a good time over a few drinks in "room 11", and I hope to be able to make it for another few of those Wednesday night get togethers before we leave next April.

On my break today, I decided to take my camera along and was somewhat surprised to see that the plum blossoms have begun to bloom... in February! After checking my pictures from last year, I've confirmed that this is a full 3 weeks earlier than Spring 2006. A strange year indeed. Here is a tree doing its thing up at Futarayama Shrine in downtown Utsunomiya.

As I wandered around the grounds of the shrine, I happened to catch a glimpse of my first apartment building out on Hanawada, and snapped a quick shot for old times sake.

It really was a gorgeous day, and I hope tomorrow is just as nice. Seeing as I am now a free man, I think I'll hop on the bike and do a bit of touring. Maybe a run out to Oya? We shall see. I also have to decide what's going on with the skiing thing. Have to get my next trip lined up and book. Definitely leaning towards Shiga Kogen, but Niseko is still a contender.


Blogger Anskov said...

We're gonna miss you, Michel. I got a little depressed thinking about it last night. See ya on Saturday night at Esprit(e) ;)

8:34 PM  
Blogger tornados28 said...

Saw your earlier posts about the Senators. They're doing Ok this year. My home team the Kings are not that good this year. They haven't done much since Gretzky left.

I played ice hockey for 14 years here in So Cal. One of the best players on my team was also French Canadian. Some on my team called him a puck hog but he was actually my favorite player to play with. If I fought hard to get open, especially near the net, he would get it to me. Funny thing is he had only one good eye. He was also a crazy snowboarder. He broke his ankles racing me one year. And it was only a practice run before the actual race. Very competitive.

Enjoy your last couple months in Japan.

1:07 PM  

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