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What will you take with you when you leave Japan?

by Melanie Burton

Marc Bell
Teacher, 32
I would bring my address book so I could keep in contact with people, which means there is never a final farewell. Also, I would bring back my keitai. It’s a symbol of Japan’s power — how they can use Western technology and make it better than we do.

Ilaria Girolamo
Waitress, 26
I would bring my friends and a more open mind about life. In Italy, I always hung out with the same kind of people, but here I hang out with a range of different people, so I find I can relate to people better.

Melanie Burton
Copy editor, 26
A taste for shochu? A heightened sense of personal cleanliness? A crushing hangover on the plane. If I could, when I leave Japan, I would bring my big fat catfish. Nobody loves that fish like me, especially my old housemates. And some good memories.

Yoshito Matsuzawa
Teacher, 28
I would bring “yamatodamashi,” which is Japanese spirit. And umeboshi, pickled plum, and rice — but not too much because it’s heavy. Maybe soy sauce. And of course, a smile.

Shawn Rover
Teacher, 35
I would bring my girlfriend, as number one. Second, I would bring some language, like sumimasen. You just yell sumimasen at restaurants and you get served straight away, none of this trying to catch eye contact business. Also, the term “ganbatte.”

Yoko Shindo
Flight attendant, 30
If I was leaving Japan forever, I would bring a photo album of my family’s pictures, a rice cooker and umeboshi. I would also bring some Japanese moisturizer, and an electronic dictionary.