Tuesday, February 28, 2006



When I was around 7, I spent 2 months in Japan, then came back to the States and was afraid of my father and forgot how to speak English. I just thought my father looked (cue the fairy-tale narrator's voice) so tall and so white and so long-nosed. And what was the huge smile he had from ear to ear with all those teeth showing? And why was everyone trying to engage me in conversation and trying to hug me so much?

It all came back of course -- the vocabulary and the comfort with smiling. But I still go through a period of disorientation when I come back to America. Sometimes I think I'm just a hypersensitive person, and that the disorientation is strictly the result of a screwed up sleep schedule. I don't do well with sleep deprivation.

But then I read this fascinating blog entry about a guy who has just landed in NYC and is going through some of the similar sensations I do. He writes of the contradictory sense of indivduality that Americans have, which reminded me of something I wrote last summer.

In general, I don't like to talk about what it feels like to come back to America. It is a really crappy feeling, and I don't want to share it with people who, hopefully, are happy to see me back. I'm also not an idiot. I know that I'm American.

Funnily enough, I don't feel anything negative when I land in Japan. This time, my mother laughed at me for trotting around Nara as fast as I could to my favorite little restaurant a few hours after we were off the plane. I was just SO HAPPY to be in this other place that I love and consider home. Adjusting to America is more difficult, and I even go through a period where I can feel myself actively resisting the changes needed to fit in again.

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