Here's a belated update on leaving Japan -- I'll do an entry about home sometime soon:
Well, it's official: I'm moved out of my apartment, no longer a teacher, and back in the States. I spent Monday through Friday either at work or cleaning out my place. The apartment didn't seem big at all until I had to clean it. So by Friday afternoon I had three ~35kg (Jesus, I just reckoned weight in kilograms) pieces of luggage and about 30 trash bags outside my front door, ready to be biked over to the neighborhood dump.
Friday morning I biked over to Toyo Daigaku to assist in a workshop teaching the elementary school teachers on English teaching. It quickly became clear that I didn't need to be there because the other teacher had it covered, so my supervisor let me run home to finish packing and cleaning. Around 3 o'clock Ono-san came by my place and I gave her some omiyage from Indonesia and said goodbye. Donald made it back sometime before 4 and said his goodbye with a toothy-grinned "ALL THE BEST!" Then Yamada-san gave me a ride with my ton of bags to the train station.
I checked into a hotel in Akasaka (Tokyo) that was the stop for the airport bus and had Kirk, Ren, Gen, Ry, Luai, and Michiyo over for drinks before we went out for my last night.
We eventually migrated to Camelot in Shibuya and danced the night away until around 5. Then we got a last supper of kare-raisu and said our goodbyes as I hopped into a cab.
So I got back to my hotel; packed up again; and made the 7:30 bus to Narita. The ANA lady said I'd have to pay $1400 in excess baggage fees but with some charming nihongo and creative repacking I eventually got her down to $200. Not bad at all for more than 200 total pounds of luggage.
I promptly passed out on the plane; skipped the meals; and woke up some 12 hrs later as we were about to land in D.C. I cruised through customs and walked through the doors to baggage claim to the screams of "Uncle Johnny!" from my niece, Caroline. So she, my other neice, Jacqueline, and my Dad hopped in the car and headed for home.
BACK IN AMERICA!