I’ve made it home. Things were a bit confusing in Dulles. A number of people got bumped off my flight to Buffalo. There was too much luggage, so the plane was going to be over-weight. The policy is that they’ll take the luggage, and leave the people stranded in the airport. I almost volunteered to stay back, but it didn’t look like there was much of a chance that I’d get to Buffalo before Christmas, as all the other flights were over-booked as well.
This trip was a good one; Japan is an intriguing and beautiful place. Over thousands of years they’ve developed a way of life that allows millions of people to live in close quarters without much strife. The Japanese people I interacted with were very kind and extremely helpful. They all seemed excited that I was American, which is a bit unusual in my experience. Many people seemed very interested to talk to me, and asked me a lot of questions. It’s amazing how people there truly do their best to help, and hold themselves to such high standards of civility. After four weeks in Japan, I don’t know the word for “no.”
I leave there feeling grateful to the people at home who helped make this trip possible, and the people in Japan who helped me and shared a part of their lives with me along the way. It is a rude awakening to travel around for a month in a place where you can’t read most street signs. Without the kindness of strangers I would have been lost.