Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Going Home

Last week I paid an unscheduled visit back to England for the funeral
of my Grandad (by the way, thanks for all the messages of support I've
received from you lot over the past couple of weeks - it really means
a lot to me). The first few days after I heard the news sort of passed
in a blur. I organised time off school and booked the first flight I
could back to England, but it only really dawned on me that I was
going home when I saw the lights of London emerge below me, and
suddenly I was picking out Canary Wharf and Big Ben and the London Eye
and jumping up and down in my seat with excitement, much to the
annoyance of the stern-faced Swedish guy trying to watch the film next
to me. This was it. I was back in the land of crumpets and tea.

Obviously it was a bit of a strange week - my excitement about being
home was dulled by the sombre events I was there to attend. The
funeral was obviously very emotional but I was so glad I could be
there: I think you really need to be with family at times like that.
There was a fantastic turnout too, and I got to meet tons of relatives
I never even knew I had. The reception afterwards at the Kings Langley
Social Club was packed out, and the tuna sandwiches and vol-au-vonts
fairly flew off the plates, whilst the subsidised bar kept the ale
coming all afternoon.

I don't think you could ever describe a funeral reception as "fun",
but it was a pleasant feeling to be surrounded by so many people I
know and love after so long spent in Japan. It was nice not having to
speak in Japanese too, not that I ever really do in Japan aside from
the odd staccato conversation about the weather, or a quick "ohayo
gozaimasu" to the neighbour. Lamentable I know, but I'm working on it.

Anyway, like I say, an odd week. Aside from the funeral it was great
seeing my friends and family again, and it was great to indulge in all
the things I've missed, ie. really decent sandwiches (God bless you
Marks & Spencer!), mince pies, BBC TV (actually better than I
remembered it being - maybe I'm used to awful Japanese dramas now),
comfy chairs, wonderful wonderful tea, really smelly cheese,
doughnuts, fresh pasta and being able to buy magazines and actually
read them.

As comforting as all this normality was though, I began wondering what
things would be like when I return home for good. I must say that the
thought of going home next summer appeals to me, but at the same time
I realise that leaving Japan for good is going to be a massive
comedown. After all, nothing's really changed in England, but I'm
experiencing brand new things almost every day in Japan, even after
living here for 18 months. Like the toilet with the self-raising loo
seat I discovered in a restaurant in Fukui the other day, or the
poster for a local production of "Driving Miss Daisy" featuring a
blacked-up Japanese guy in the lead which I saw this afternoon. Life's
going to be a lot more boring outside the Land of the Rising Sun.


Blogger lemaiz said...

And let me be the first to congratulate you, Mr Lewis, on your reaching 20,000 page views! Impressive...

11:52 pm  
Blogger Matthew said...

As unfortunate events as funerals are, they do present an opportunity for relatives to gather and to see people they don’t often see. There is a Lyle Lovett song to that effect.

9:33 pm  
Blogger Bully said...

Hey Lew,

Sorry to hear the sad news. I lost my grandmother the week before I came to Canada, so I'm glad you made it back to be with your family.

It must have been a bit strange being back in London for a short time. Never fear, well all be back before too long, drinking ale and endless cups of tea talking about something very unimportant.

We'll have a party!!!

7:45 am  
Blogger Lewis said...

Thanks Andy! Looking forward to it.

20,000 hits eh? Blimey. Although I wonder how many of those are just people looking for porn.

9:54 pm  

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