The thing about being in the military that has been the most difficult adjustment for myself is not being in complete control of my own destiny. There are a lot of people pushing buttons and pushing your buttons that affect your day-to-day livelihood. We’re trained to deal with it though, respect our leaders and roll with the punches. Yet, every once in a while, a decision is made that truly affects your life in ways you cannot brush off.
While out to sea at the beginning of August, I learned that I’d be leaving Japan and returning stateside to attend a training school. I was told that I would not be returning to my command and I won’t know where I am going next until I graduate from the school. Now normally, that wouldn’t be such bad news because you generally have around 6-9 months advance notice that you will be transitioning to a new command. Well in my case, I was being given only a two month notice and most of the first month was going to be spent away from Japan.
That news was part of the reason why I was away from blogging and the travel blogs period all of August. I suddenly had to begin planning for a move that I didn’t think was going to happen until July 2013. Even now, I am still making preparations, packing, scheduling movers, all sorts of things that I did not plan to do yet.
I’ve been making the most of things now though. I’m actually excited to return stateside for the first time in two years. I’ll first spend a few days exploring a new city- Seattle- then I will spend a couple weeks in my hometown, before heading to Washington D.C. and my school in Richmond, Virginia. As I do when I travel, I’ll be looking for exciting places to eat, interesting tourist attractions, fun things to do, great nightlife and the chance to meet new people. If you have any recommendations for Seattle, D.C. or Richmond, send them my way please.
I’ll be leaving Japan in two weeks. For now it’s, “Sayonara Nippon,” but there is a possibility I could return- although I’ll be assigned to a new command. Prior to leaving though, over the next two weeks, on this blog, I’ll be highlighting my favorite moments from the three years I spent here.
The first moment I will highlight is from my first trip to Kyoto, Japan. It was May 2011, my ship was on a port visit to Osaka. My friend and I decided to take a one-day tour of Kyoto. Part of my travel philosophy is to take advantage of opportunities to see a place because you never know if you will get the chance again. Although I’d return to Kyoto two more times, it was the chance to see it then, even if only for a day, that spurred me to go.
Any one who has been there will tell you that it’s impossible to see Kyoto in a day and it’s true. Yet, in one day, we managed to see quite a lot. The highlight of the day was getting to Gion District before sunset and see our first maiko (apprentices) and geisha.
The beauty of the maiko was exquisite from the first moment I captured them on camera. Their graceful walk down the street spoke of a silent pride. All eyes would stare at them as they sauntered down the street to the restaurant they were requested to entertain at. I’ll not forget the first moments I saw maiko and geisha for the first time.
Memories of A Geisha. Memories of Japan.
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