My first Christmas in Japan marked my first serious bout with homesickness. Holidays away from home hadn’t tormented me in South Africa or the UK — but this was my first time overseas with no one to visit. There is a big difference, I discovered, between being away from your family, and being without any family at all.
At loose ends for the end of the year, I maximized my vacation time with a trip to Kyoto, the destination most recommended to me by my Japanese co-workers and students.
Before I boarded the plane, I tackled my first full month at work, with all the typical frenzy and festivities.