Japan is a dangerous country, it has this tendency of sucking you in and never letting you go again. This week alone I have heard from two friends whom I have met at my old house and who want to see me again. One of them returns to Japan every two years or so for a month or two; the other was my housemate at Ebisu’s, who returned to his country after five years in Japan. Both of them are in Kyoto right now, and I think both of them will keep returning here for the rest of their lives, unless they finally give in and settle here for good. I am curious to see them again, and as they will stay for at least a month, there will be ample opportunity to catch up.

Another friend of mine – who had stayed in Kobe for a year – has also returned to Japan, but only for a two-week business trip. As he is Austrian, and he had mentioned that he would travel with an essentially empty suitcase, I took the liberty of giving him a long list of things that are hard or impossible to get in Japan. The list of goodies he unpacked this morning on my kitchen table comprised the usual jar of Nutella and other sweets; special bakery goods from Austria including Lebkuchen, a type of gingerbread; and some odds and ends like my favourite Austrian wine, a small bottle of Kernoel (pumpkin seed oil), and other delicacies essential for (Austrian) cooking. I had a hard time deciding which sweets to eat first – and I settled on a bit of Lebkuchen, it’s the right season, after all.

And then, when I was already elated about all the nice things I had received and was busy putting them away, a postman brought a large and heavy parcel from another friend in Austria, with two more bottles of my favourite wine, and three enormous jars of Nutella. And a very sweet letter on top of it.

I am an intrGoodies from Austriaovert, I have troubles meeting people, and being surrounded by too many strangers – at parties for example – stresses me out. As such a person, when living abroad where even basic communication is difficult, it is easy to feel alone and unloved sometimes.

Not today though. Thank you so much. I love you too!