I left New Zealand with every intention of spending a year in Japan; travelling, studying, saving a little money and heading off to my next destination in August 2012.
I laughed at everyone who said they were planning two years, three years or more here.
Pffft. Stay in one place longer than a year? Boring.
However, for various reasons, almost from the minute I landed on Japanese soil, a year felt too short.
The language has grabbed my brain: it’s fascinating and frustrating, and it’s the biggest challenge I’ve faced in years.
The country has a firm hold on my sense of adventure: there is so much to see and experience, from nightclubs in Tokyo to beaches in Okinawa, and ski resorts in Hokkaido to onsen in Ishikawa.
And dammit, the people here are great. Yes, I’m a gaijin and I always will be, but the way I have been welcomed here with warmth and patience (and a vague sense of fascination) has made this experience thus far amazing.
So, on that note, when recontracting time came, I realised that I wasn’t making a decision at all, I had decided long ago.
My pen hovered for only the briefest of seconds before I firmly circled “Yes, I will be recontracting with the JET Programme for the 2012-2012 year.”
Signed, sealed, delivered: Japan, I’m yours.