I hadn't been really traveling in a while, but last week I went on an epic 10-day tour of Kyushu and Honshu for my parents first, and last, visit to Japan. I don't know the reasons for my lack of geographical diversity, but my 10-day adventure throughout the wilds of Osaka, Nara and Kyoto reminded of just how important traveling is to me in helping to understand the reasons why I first came here and my goals for the future. It may have had something to do with seeing Kyoto in full bloom, or maybe just with talking to people who are active and passionate about life, but it has really made me come back to my life, and my job, looking to get the most that I can out of being here (and that is a nice feeling to have again) with what little time that I have left in Japan.

So, for those of us who have been a bit shut in due to small towns, cold winters, or apathy, I encourage you to get out of your town, out of Kyushu, and have some good conversations with people you don't know, who are doing things that you don't understand. Because, really, thats one of the best reasons for studying all that damned Japanese in the first place!

Take it easy.