Today is our last full day in Japan and that fact is bringing with it conflicted feelings. There’s sadness that we’ll be leaving, and several of our students have shared lovely messages from their host sisters expressing deep connections. There is also homesickness and a desire to return to the “real world”. The students are looking forward to their last few chances to have fun with their new families, to see the amazing sights of Tokyo, and, of course, to eat amazing foods.
This morning our students had an opportunity to practice shuji, the art of Japanese calligraphy. This ancient art requires many years of study and practice to achieve proficiency; in the hour they had, I think our girls did remarkably well! Like many ancient arts in Japan (such as the Chado they experienced yesterday), the purpose is not just to create something beautiful, but to focus the mind and body. It is simultaneously writing and meditation.
Later today, Team Tokyo will enjoy a farewell party with Kichijo students (and are planning to sing for them to show their gratitude), and then many will have a Friday night on the town.
Our current plan is to leave Tokyo at approximately 7:30 Saturday night local time, to land in NYC at 6:30 Saturday night. It looks very strange because we will be traveling backwards in time. We are all very hopeful that we don’t encounter the same kind of delays as we did at the beginning of the trip…but if that happens, it’s just another chance to practice resilience and flexibility!