Arigatou, Japan.

It is 2am on the 3rd of April when we finally get back into the flat and lug our bags in. Singapore is hot, and humid, even though the night’s 28 degree weather is cooler than usual. I am sweating, tired and nauseous from travelling, or perhaps the ill feeling is due to a different reason – the realisation that it is goodbye.

I had signed the form indicating I would no longer be returning to Japan with my student visa, and the officer punched a hole into my Resident Card. It was a finality I had known to expect but the reality of it still has not sunk in yet. Waking up in Singapore the morning after was like waking from a long dream, and I wondered why I felt like I was moving along in a slow, suspended limbo as if I had still not awoken from a spell.

I will miss Japan so much, I already miss Japan so much. It didn’t feel like the final goodbye because I had been slowly sectioning out my feelings and making each small goodbye a step toward the last one. But the day came, soon enough, yet it still doesn’t feel like a true sayonara. When will I be back? I don’t know.


The days leading to, and following graduation were all a blur. The four years preceding seem a distant, fond memory. Japan has become part of my identity now, one which I cannot so easily forget and put past myself; one I will not.

We were there a bit too early for the cherry blossoms in Kansai, but as we moved slowly up toward Kanto’s Tokyo, sparing bunches of pink greeted us with their beauty. Japan is stunning this time of year.


I wished I had taken more photos, more videos, stings the bitter taste of regret. On the other hand, relegating some precious moments only to memory and living in the moment made me feel free. Sometimes the most perfect pictures are the ones we create and leave imprinted in our minds.

Perhaps it is fatigue but I find it hard to complete this blog post – I had wanted to fill it with wonder and joy, with picture previews of each leg of the trip. But when I try to let the words flow off my fingers one key at a time, my eyes droop heavy and my heart sighs. It is difficult to try and sum 4 years of emotions, memories and reflection into this one post. Already in our 16 days travelling there is too much to tell. The days since I’ve been back in Singapore hold their own tales as well.


When will I see this view again? Experience Japan in springtime and watch the petals fall? ‘I am tired’ are the thoughts that course through as I try to think of what lies ahead. Perhaps I need more time to slowly think, savor and come to terms with this chapter’s end.

There are other chapters too, that have come to an end. But new ones will begin, even if not for me, but for others. Soon, I too will have embarked on the next path.

Thank you‘ is always the most appropriate phrase I can think of in situations like these. There really are no other terms I can find to properly put things to a close.

I love Japan so much I can’t see life without having her a part of it anymore. Life wasn’t perfect there, but when is life ever perfect anywhere? We make life what we want it to be, perfect or not, we create what we call home.

Arigatou, Japan. Till we meet again.

I’ll miss you.


  1. Kei says:

    卒業おめでとうございます!Congratulations on your graduation! It’s difficult to transition back after becoming immersed in another country, but with time it will get easier. Try talking with any other students who have come back from abroad, or with your family! Good luck!

    • Bernie Low says:

      Thank you Kei!

      I getting more used to being back and since some of my best friends are here I’ve been talking to them and it helps. I still miss Japan a lot but I know I will be back there one day. ^_^

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