Almost a year since I arrived in Japan, the products on the shelves at Family Mart have rotated back around and now I buy the products I bought when I first came here.

I'm eating an apple danish whilst the rain outside throws up lingering farts of mist and frenzied pods of mosquitoes.

Moths are grouping around the balcony light, which I leave on to give them a purpose.

Stood at the bus stop today, umbrella low over my head, I looked toward the mountains beyond the chicken farm, beyond Kusumi chugakkou. If you squint just right you can ignore the power cables and cell phone masts and see only the Japan you dreamt about. But that's silly. This is the Japan I dreamt about.

As rainwater pools in front of the apartment door and high school students cycle home past the park I gaze at the things surrounding me. I've got used to these things. A year ago the eyes were wide, the nostrils flared - for smells of foreign nature. That the surroundings are now accepted is both a blessing and a curse.

I know I love this place, and if I could talk in the way that it understands, I'd tell it.



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