We have safely made it back to the U.S. The last day started later than usual but it involved a lot of traveling. But there were no delays or accidents. It was a fantastic trip. We had a few bike accidents with one being serious enough to require a hospital visit but aside from that, all was good. Students did very well, too.
As soon as we made it back to the U.S., they commented how loud people around them were. They were told to be quieter than usual while in Japan because people are a lot quieter in Japan. We told them that Americans tended to be louder. Now they could see that it was really true. They also noted how authority figures asserted their power. In the U.S., immigration officers and police officers both look intimidating. But in Japan, they do not. They ride bikes and mopeds. They don’t look scary. But in a nation where “guilty until proven innocent” is true, they don’t need to look intimidating, probably. It was nice to hear my students comment on those differences that they did not see before.
I still have one more flight to go to make it back to Grand Rapids. The rest of the day will be unpacking, doing the laundry, mowing the lawn, and just relaxing with Nicki.