This weekend a Japanese friend who's now currently living in Duesseldorf came to visit.
This meant having to find out how well my Japanese has kept up after 2,5 years, going on three, of being out of Japan and not having had any significant Japanese language interaction aside from an occasional afternoon. Well, not as well as I had hoped, but also not as badly as I had feared. So it's a mixed positive, I guess.
As a ticket to Japan is nowhere in sight, I'll have to make do with a weekend in Duesseldorf sometime in the coming months for some shopping and what is supposedly the best ramen in Europe. Yumm!
It also reminded me of some of the peculiarities of Japan - constant apologizing for things that cannot be helped, very conservative ideas about relationships, work, travel etc. A reminder of why I don't want to live there long-term. And a reminder that I need to install Japanese language software on my computer again (long long overdue) so I can communicate with friends in Japan again.
But it's always fun to see your own town through someone else's eyes again - the pretty canals, the mostly smiling people, the relaxedness of Dutch cities (well, at least these last two compare favourably to Germany apparently!).