Nearing the end of my High School career, I felt like the future had yawned out before me into an abyss. I felt teetering at the edge of it all. I felt unready, unsure about what comes next. I decided to take a year as an exchange student. I chose a destination with dart-on-the-map-board precision: Japan. It was as far from home as I could get without coming back, literally the opposite side of the planet.
These are my observations, written during that year. They were originally published as a column by the newspaper of my hometown: Shepherdstown, West Virginia.