A lot of people dream of living abroad, imagining a life of freedom, wanton abandon and the indulgence of wanderlust.

Yet, in time, even the rowdy all-night drinking sessions become sobering reminders that things have changed. I go out sometimes with the crew I met at the beginning of my stay in Japan and realize there's just a few of us left. There's an unsettling feeling in the air, as if everyone is aware to some extent of their self-deception yet is afraid to bring it to the surface.

The scene sometimes reminds me of the Noah Baumbauch movie "Kicking and Screaming," about a bunch of university graduates who choose to stay on campus and continue the student lifestyle, minus the studying. Conversations about the future always end with "Well, I'll figure it out later" or words to that effect.