It's such a delightful surprise to find that we had a week of summer break not too long after joining. I was looking forward to using the time to catch up on the project, familiarise myself with Kobe, and perhaps do a quick visit to Tokyo.
So it was great timing that there was an IUJ gathering, which was actually a farewell dinner for a few people. It's a bit sad knowing that the people that I looked forward to meeting back in Tokyo weren't going to be there the next time I visit.
Perhaps that's why I came to be in Kobe instead. Maybe starting again in Tokyo would be rather bittersweet, though I still have many other friends whom I can visit.
To see Kus joining Kedar in Singapore, Zadli taking up Chinese lessons in Hangzhou, and Au stopping by Singapore before going on to Australia would have been too much of bad news all at once, just when I've barely settled in Kobe. But I guess with all the whirlwind of changes, and knowing they've had enough of Japan, made it seem almost certain that I'll have to meet up with them elsewhere.
It was quite surreal staying back at my old house in Tokyo for the night. Watanabe-san looked the same, though I found out that he had some problems with his blood pressure which made him faint once. I hope the current tenants take good care of him as just like how Imm, Aishah and I did >.<
Mi-chan was still around too, and was surprised to find that she recognised me enough to come look for me when I was downstairs at the kitchen.
It felt funny to be staying in Imm's room but at the same time brought back memories of the 3 of us cooking in the kitchen and exploring Tokyo together during my last few months. Quite amazing how after 3 years, we're all in different parts of the world - Imm doing her PhD in Taiwan and Aishah doing research work in Tokyo.
The next day I had the privilege of enjoying Stephen and Masami's new home in Chiba. Finally met Mie Elizabeth, who was born just after I left Japan. God's blessed them with their own home, with amazing finishing and design. I didn't know it's that affordable to own a house, but of course it has to be away from the city.
It felt so good being with fellow brothers and sisters in Christ again as we shared about each other's journey and just catching up. I hope to be able to have something similar in Kobe. It's too expensive to run to Tokyo everytime I need some spiritual bonding!
I decided to extend my stay by bunking in with Au on the 3rd day. She was due to move soon, so she passed me some stuff to bring back. Too bad I can't carry the electric heater, rice cooker, mattress and cabinets back on the bullet train with me!
It isn't me to go for high-rise buildings, but since Au and Kus were leaving Japan soon, we did some touristy things like going up the Tokyo Skytree, which is now the tallest free-standing broadcast tower in the world. Apparently just shortly after its grand opening in May, it had already hit its 1 billionth visitor!
Being in Tokyo made me realise how big a city it was compared to Kobe. There are things I miss about it, there's still many things familiar and dear to me. Even though some things may change, I'm glad I made the trip there, it was worth it.