end of march, japan,
much ichi-go, ichi-e (一期一会)*
april start anew
(*perfectly worded reminder from Patty's comment on my Facebook status)
Today is the last day of the school year for teachers, and this year so many at my school, including some of my favorite teachers that have made here feel more like home when I'm living so far away, are being transferred in this puzzling Japanese March tradition. Today I wrote some letters and shed some tears, and people finished clearing out their desks, slowly transitioning them from full to empty by the end of the day when they will leave for good. This year has been the biggest transfer time blow I've experienced since I've been here. Tomorrow night, we will eat and drink and cry and maybe sing karaoke together one last time if I'm just lucky enough.
Next week, about a third (!!!) of my co-workers will be brand-spanking new total strangers.
It's hardest on those leaving, for sure. This isn't their blog, though. From my side, like many foreign teachers here, this big shuffle that happens in March can be really hard in a different way. It can be exceptionally difficult for a foreigner to fit in in Japan, and most of us never really feel like we completely do. Still, I/we finally manage to navigate the complexity involved in achieving even just a handful of those super elusive meaningful relationships, only to have to start all over again, from scratch, come Monday (or, OK, technically, Tuesday) morning and do this all again come this time next year. In one word, it's bittersweet.