The Goodbye

I am currently sitting in the airplane again, watching superhero movies. Just like I was 27 days ago, on my way to Fukuoka, about to travel outside Europe for the first time ever. About to spend a whole month alone, being an artist, all by myself.

I wish I could say that I have some huge epiphany to share, after having had this experience. I suppose I was looking for some kind of change, looking for a revelation about my life, looking for a new direction. Not a lot changed, though, during this month. I didn't become a whole new person who's always zen and who will only make smart decisions from now on and never eat too much candy or stay at home to watch Netlix instead of going to the gym. Same old me!

The same old me is also still confused by the in-flight entertainment and the way they edit movies. In X-Men Apocalypse they'll censor Psylocke's boob window but it's okay for them to show Deadpool cutting of his own arm? How can they show any part of Deadpool is beyond me. Seeing a boob window is worse than the f-word?

This time I'm sitting next to a Chinese girl. I have to say, I'd much rather sit next to a woman, it's somehow less embarrassing to run to the toilet every five minutes when you're sitting next to somebody who might have the same toilet needs as I have. I feel kind of a kinship with her already. When I was watching X-Men, she was watching Batman vs Superman. The she watched Me Before You (still weirded out by the idea of that movie and won't watch it) and now she moved on to Civil War. Maybe I'm sitting next to a comic book fangirl, yay!

Seriously, though, I'm sure I learned a lot on this trip. Like what it feels like to eat squid that still looks alive (not good) or what it's like to be stung by a jellyfish (painful). I also learned a lot about myself, or I guess I figured out stuff I sort of already knew. I've never had a lot of confidence in myself, but at least this month showed me that yes, I can actually take care of myself like the adult I am (I had some doubts) and that I can design and complete a project. Surprisingly, I can also be a social person! I lived with two complete strangers for a month and we actually became good friends and spent some of our free time together too.

I also realized that I really want to be an artist, but I'm not sure that's anything new. I wish I had money to just live my life purely as an artist, working on various projects, hanging out with people in the art world. But that's not possible. Maybe I'll win the lottery one day and then it'll be possible.

I don't necessarily have an idea where my art is going next or how I'm going to forward my "career", if that's how you want to call it. I've met a lot of new people and gotten a lot of really good advice, so I hope that will help me think of new ideas when I get home and maybe get myself sorted out after all this traveling. I think it's going to be a week at least until I'm anywhere near my full brain power.

Yesterday I went to Fukuoka to shop for last minute stuff. I ended up buying a really horrible clown mask for my boyfriend's son. He's 9, he'll love it. I also went to a cat cafe. It wasn't as weird as some of my other animal experiences have been here: the cats had the run of the place and could climb up to have a nap in peace if they didn't want to hang out with customers. Most of the cats were orange, like my little devil and there were some really cute kittens too. The staff kept trying to give me cat toys so the cats would hang around with me, but I was fine just being in the same room as them.

They weren't lap-cats, though. I tried to pick one up and he made a really nasty yowl and tried to punch me. The poor staff was really freaked out but I just waved it off. Seriously guys, I have a cat, I've seen it all. At one point, a big cat actually fell on my head. I was sitting under a little shelf put up for the cats and I think two cats were chasing each other or fighting. I was looking at my phone when suddenly ten pounds of fur and claws just fell on my head. But it was just kind of hilarious. The staff probably thought I was a bit weird, just this lone Finnish woman sitting there and laughing when cats are molesting her.

I miss my Eddie-boy!

I've started watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 now. I used to love the cartoon as a kid, I had such a crush on Shredder. Stayed away from the first movie because of Michael Bay, I think. At five minutes this movie feels kind of unimpressive, though. The CGI-turtles creep me out. Also, I find it really unbelievable that the four of them would order only one pizza. They're pretty big guys and seem to enjoy eating. One pizza isn't going to do anything.

I feel disjointed. Being in an airplane is weird. Leaving a place where I spent a really eventful month is really weird. Suddenly not seeing people I shared a life with for a month is weird. And I only slept 3 hours last night, so things might be about to get a lot weirder soon. The time difference feels more difficult this time around, the day feels super long because I got on the plane when it was 9.30 in the morning and I'll arrive when it's about 17.30, Finnish time. For me, it'll be the middle of the night, though.

Random memories resurface: the first time Thomas (the German artist in house 2) met me, he thought I was 21. Granted, it was the time when I came to the residency house 2, telling the story of how I'd forgotten my wallet at the grocery shop and in the same breath realizing I'd just forgotten my phone in our residency house and rushing out to get it. I guess being a ditz makes you appear young! And then that time I sat in the car with Charlotte, coming from one of Muta-san's English lessons and the man driving us told us a story about how the Japanese have certain colors for seasons and how they're not really what you'd expect. Like winter is black, summer is red, spring is white and autumn is blue. Maybe. I now forgot exactly what the colors were. But it was pretty interesting. And then the man said: "My father is iron man." I think he and Charlotte were talking about work or something but all I could think of was "your father is Tony Stark lol!"

Here are some more random, sleep-derived thoughts:

Things about Japan that I will miss:

- The mountains and the beaches
- The tatami floors
- Saying Chikuzen-Maebaru, now that I learned to say it like the Japanese do
- The peach ice tea drinks
- The onigiri
- The food in general
- People being punctual and polite
- People in shops looking like they actually want to help you
- Seeing shiba puppies everywhere
- The various tiramisu puddings
- The plastic wraps they give you to put around your wet umbrella when you go into a shop so everything won't get wet
- Random cat stuff everywhere
- The safety, how you can just leave the door open and nobody will rob you
- The cute double prints at 7/11

Things about Japan I won't miss:

- The heat
- Having to change the train at Chikuzen-Maebaru every single time
- Certain smells. I will be happy if I never again smell that too sweet lavender smell always used to cover toilet smells
- How hard it is to try to buy food when you can't understand anything it says on the package
- Having to always look like I'm okay. If I look worried or tired (both of which are really just regular expressions for a Finn and for me), everybody will keep asking if I'm okay. I'm okay, I'm just a regular Finnish person! Sometimes we're really gloomy but it's fine! It's just who we are
- The spiders
- Misleading sweets, like those brown piles of goo that look like chocolate chip cookie dough but actually taste like a paste made of ash and sand
- The skinny wildcats who look way too hungry

Things that still puzzle me about Japan:

- The way customer service people have that weird way of randomly shouting "irrashaimase!" First one of them will shout it and then everybody else will follow. They might be shouting it right next to your ear without any contact. They just do it and I freak out because I don't know what I should be doing as a customer
- Why you're not supposed to eat when you walk? Japanese are known as being efficient, I would have thought they'd think it's a good idea to eat and walk at the same time and save time
- Why I can't show my shoulders. It's superhot in Japan, let me keep my tanktops!
- Why you're not supposed to blow your nose in public. If it comes out, isn't it better than I wipe it off than just let it drip?

Okay, I'm done. I'll have some of that Finnair blueberry juice and try to sleep. Or find another superhero movie to watch.


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