Chapter 2: Logistics of Departure

Summer has arrived in Massachusetts, warm and humid. My AC has been working overtime while my lifestyle has slowed to a crawl. I had planned to continue working at the airport for a while longer but couldn’t really tolerate working a third-shift job anymore. As as aside, I would recommend never working third shift unless absolutely necessary. It’s a life destroyer.

My final five weeks in the States are a combination of a sort of final hurrah with my friends and family and completing my preparations. I am staying with various friends for the duration of June and then will spend the first week of July (I leave July 8th) at my parents’ house in Vermont.

Moving to another country involves a litany of smaller tasks. Get a passport, figure out financing, book a flight, plan for housing and employment, cull possessions, buy luggage, update wardrobe, practice packing, anticipate lifestyle changes, organize a going-away party…

first passport I’ve had since I was 8

For one of these items – the final shindig, as it were – my friends and I lit a fire on a local beach and stayed there till dawn, drinking and swapping stories from the good ole days.

Or at least, that was the plan.

As it turned out, someone called the cops on us and we got kicked out after a mere couple hours of fireside revelry. I was disappointed to be cut off before basking in the warm nostalgia and sentiment, but I’ll admit that it makes a nice bookend at the end of an era. We’ve spent many nights at that same beach without incident so it’s vaguely satisfying to get kicked out for the first time at the occasion of our last time.

a picture from a previous fire which represents how the night was supposed to go 🙃

And so I’ve been bidding farewell to my friends in a more granular fashion. As I write this, I’ve just said sayounara to my closest friend and greatest (sometimes only) supporter of the past half-decade and for the first time feel a twinge of loss regarding the life I leave behind. While the North Shore of Boston in the present year feels empty and husk-like to me and demands abandonment, I do feel the weight of leaving those patches of warmth and succor that yet remain. I set off into the unknown and I estimate companionship will be scarce for some time.

By contrast, there are some material realities that I’ll be glad to be rid of. These include but are not limited to:

  • East Coast infrastructure (and lack thereof)
  • mm/dd/yyyy
  • US Standard units
  • Car ownership generally
  • Puritan ethics and attendant facets of American culture
  • Crappy job market (theoretically)
  • Did I mention poor infrastructure?

While I’m sure Japan will have its own annoyances and bugbears, I’ll be glad of the change and am hopeful for an overall much better situation.

Time will tell.

I leave for Japan on July 8th. I’ll be flying out of Boston and transferring in Chicago for the leap across the big puddle. I then touch down in Tokyo and have a quick follow-up flight to Kobe. The details here are still somewhat foggy but I will then take light rail to Sapporo to set up shop. If something about this itinerary seems weird to you, be aware that flights which actually end in Tokyo are $100-$200 more expensive across the board.

it should be fun to compare notes from my experiences on the ramp at Boston Logan Airport

The 8th is a little over a week from the time of this writing and I’m quite excited and impatient to get going.

I think that’s about all for this entry. As a small aside, I recently had the experience of trying to verbalize something and coming up with the Japanese before the English phrase! It’s encouraging that my efforts are bearing fruit and I’m excited to see what other experiences learning a new language can offer.

Until next time~~~

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