Friday, January 20, 2006

Birthdays and Farewells- Sunday

Sunday morning I awoke to the stinging sound of my usual 5:30am alarm. This time it stung more than usual due to only 5 hours sleep, unfortunately the bus doesn’t wait for someone who sleeps in, it was time to get up and move.

By 6:40 I was settling into my usual seat on the highway bus feeling rather contemplative- it was my 18th birthday, it was also the last time I would be attending my wonderful church in Fukuoka for a very long time. Time and scenery flew by as I lost myself in the lyrics and music of an amazingly talented Japanese band- Mr Children, before I knew it Fukuoka was before me.

I left the bus terminal and met Rick and Satoko for our last Starbucks breakfast meeting ever (in Fukuoka anyway), I savoured the taste of my usual cinnamon scroll muffin and tall cappuccino. We finished our breakfast and arrived at church to get our morning youth meeting underway, it was a day to be happy and rejoice as there were so many events to celebrate and people to thank (and say goodbye to), but there was also a tinge of sadness in leaving. During the main service church service, the Pastor’s son (Daichi) and I were prayed over and blessed due to our coming of age in our respective countries, me 18 in Australia and him 2o in Japan.- it was a really nice way to finish church. After the service my church held a celebratory lunch in honour of our coming of age, my birthday and the baptism of one of the youth. The church lunch is always fantastic, lots of food and even more amazing was that a big, chocolate “baptism, birthday, coming of age” cake was presented to us and shared with all the members of the church (it was good!). Many hugs were given and many photos were taken as I finally bid farewell to all the adult members of the church, I know I will visit again one day.

Finally managing to leave church, the youth and I all headed to our favourite Starbucks to spend my remaining hours talking about the good times we had all shared together, my good friend Erin was kind enough to buy me my favourite coffee and a Starbucks mug that says “Fukuoka” on the side written on the side- so that I may remember our countless afternoons chilling at Starbucks. As usual we covered a huge range of subject matter in our conversations- always interesting. It was time for our group to disperse in different directions, good byes were given though it really did not feel like good bye- these people are my friends for life.

Erin, Daichi, Rick, Aiko and I all headed to the game arcade where it was the goal of Erin, Daichi and I to win a New Years Mickey Mouse (this soft toy is huge, at least 30-40cm high) on the UFO catcher machine (think toy story 1 “oooh the claw”). Daichi and I not only won 1 of these huge stuffed toys, we won 5!!!! We were rather happy as these machines are almost impossible to win- the game arcade staff didn’t look too happy (one of these toys is worth $30, we spent $20 total to win 5 of them- $20 for a $150 prize!!) this was a fantastic way to wrap up my time in Fukuoka, it was time for me to go. These people were (and still are) some of my closest friends in Japan, so saying good bye to them was hardest. We all hugged and promised to keep in contact; with that I turned and walked to the bus terminal feeling slightly weighted.

I had so much fun on all my trips to Fukuoka and these people helped make these trips what they were. So it is now that I thank you in front of the World Wide Web audience- I love you guys all so much (and you know who you are) and will miss you greatly. You have had an incredible impact on me personally and I look forward to meeting again in the future.