On June 3, as I stood on the bridge next to my host mother and sisters, breathing in the night air and watching the hundreds of fireflies, I thought of the Japanese version of the song Auld Lang Syne. The song is called Hotaru no Hikari meaning “Glow of the Fireflies.” Hotaru no Hikari is played when something comes to an end and is a popular New Year’s, graduation, and closing time song. The lyrics of the original song have been completely changed, but the tune remains the same. I couldn’t help humming the song as I reflected on my ten months of exchange and remembered that I only had two short weeks left until my return. As I am writing this article, I have already returned to The United States and have been home for three weeks.
As my final couple of weeks began to fly by, I continued to think about my time I spent in Japan and what I would take away from the experience. On June 11 I went with my host family to a restaurant for my dinner with everyone. Grandparents from both sides came, along with a cousin. Saying goodbye was a little difficult but thankfully everyone managed to come and see me off at the train station later that week, so I got to see them one more time. I really cherished the last bits of time I had with my host family. I had a lot of fun going with my host sister after school to try “doctor fish.” For those who don’t know, doctor fish are small fish that eat the dead skin off of your feet. It was a new experience for both myself and my host sister. The fish were rather ticklish so we laughed the whole time. As strange of an experience as it was, it is one memory that I will probably remember for a lifetime. Read more