A lesson learned… And thank you 

Of all the lessons I’ve learned during my time in Japan, the one that tops the list is that having friends and people who love you and accept you makes life worthwhile. 

The support and encouragement I’ve had from my friends here has allowed me to to grow into the person I am today. Without them there are many things I would not have been able to do and I would’ve spent more of my time here crying instead of smiling. Although there have been tears, without my friends I would not have been able to overcome the problems I’ve had. 

I’ve also learned just how much each of us are struggling with money and financial hardship here. Yes, even in a first world country there are people who have problems with money and that I think is disgusting. 

I want to thank my friends who have taken me into their homes and fed me, have paid for my meals when we went out and have bought many beers when I’ve been upset and needed them. The beers I mean, not my friends, although I do need them too!

I want to thank my friends for reading my Japanese letters when I didn’t understand and telling me not to worry about it and just to throw them away. Again, the letters, not my friends! 

I want to thank my friends who have bought me presents that cost them so much money but more importantly, presents that they took the time to think about because they knew I would like them. 

I want to thank my friends who have sent messages or come to visit to check up on me when I was sick or when I was really upset about something. 

I want to thank my friends who have hugged me and stroked my hair, or patted my back and kissed my head and simply been there for me when I’ve cried. Many times they didn’t say anything and I didn’t need or want them to say anything; I just wanted them to be there for me… And they were. 

I want to thank the friends who despite how busy they were, put down whatever they were doing and took time for me. 

I want to thank the friends who made me laugh even when I felt like crying or who made me laugh when I was crying. 

I want to thank my friends for being there even when I yelled at them or got angry with them because I was upset or scared or knew what they were saying was true. 

I especially want to thank my Japanese friends for never judging me when I made stupid decisions whether I was drunk or sober. They never said I told you so and they never ever gave me advice because they know I wouldn’t listen anyway. 

To all my friends, Western or Japanese, thank you. You know who you are and I love you. 

Thank you for being the kindest, most caring loyal friends that I could ever have. You would do anything for me and I would also do anything for you. Don’t ever hesitate to ask when you need my help. You know I’m always there for you. 

Someone once told me they didn’t need friends and they asked me if I needed mine. I didn’t even have to think about that. Of course I need mine. Everybody needs friends and without them, life is meaningless.

本当にありがとう。

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