1. Check out my new blog "What’s beyond the lighthouse." Instead of exploring the world, I’ve decided to explore my backyard, my country, Trinidad and Tobago. 

     
  2.  ”There is a certain amount of comfort and confidence that you gain with yourself when you go to this new place and start all over again, and a knowledge that — come what may in the rest of your life — you were capable of taking that leap and landing softly at least once.

     Thank you for following me during my two amazing years in Japan. 

    This is the end of Kikosan in Japan but look out for the launch of my new blog and feel free to continue to ask me questions about my time in Japan or the JET programme.

     

    Lots of love 

    Afiya 

     
  3. "And then while I’m away
    I’ll write home every day 
    And I’ll send all my loving to you”

    I was very fortunate during my last 18 months in Japan to meet a man who I now consider a second father to me.

    Imamura sensei and I first met during school. He was a new teacher, a retiree in fact who decided to return to teaching. His desk was placed next to mine in the teachers room and from that day, we became family.

    Everyone loves him, students and teachers. He was respected by all. He hardly knows any English but his effort to communicate with me led him to use whatever resource he had, mainly his dictionary. We would talk about everything; favourite foods, which students were giving trouble in class, Japanese history, Trinidad culture, slavery, and movies. 

    A few months after meeting him, he invited me to his house. I met his lovely wife who is just as kind, gracious and giving. She’s the love of his life, and it shows everyday. If I brought something for him, he’d always take half of it home for his wife. She made bento for him every single day. Even though it’s part of Japanese culture for the woman of the house to make lunch, you could tell that he appreciated it. He was always proud of his bento.  

    They seemed so happy to have me over, and of course his wife made sure I was well fed. Imamura sensei gushed about how much we talked between classes and how much English he learned and told his wife that I am like a daughter to him. That day, the Imamura’s became my family. My mama and papa san. Even though they have three boys of their own, I’m their only daughter. 

    Mama san made bento for me every Monday without fail. I would cook on Sunday evenings and totally forget that I would receive lunch on Monday. She respected the fact that I don’t eat meat and always made a vegetarian or fish bento for me. Every Monday Imamura sensei and I would get similar bentos except mine had a note from Mama san and an extra treat. 

    I visited their house on several occasions. But the second to last time was hard. It was supposed to be the last time I would see them before I leave. We had a very simple lunch and chatted for hours. He then told me he had a present for me. He had just started teaching himself how to play the electric guitar and he had practiced “All my life” by the Beatle’s to perform for me. That song will forever have a place in my heart and I’ll always remember him when I hear it.

    This man really cared for me. He wrote me a long letter wishing me all the best in my future endeavors and gave me moving money as a going away present. He also made sure to let me know that I’d have to bring my fiance to Japan so he could meet him before we get married. He took his father role seriously. 

    I’m going to send a letter to them tomorrow just to let them know I’m ok. They don’t have a computer at home and papa san hates spending time online so snail mail will be our only way of communicating. 

    Today was a rough day for me but I try to remember the amazing people I’ve met throughout my two years in Japan and how they’ve helped to mold me into the person that I am today. 

     
  4. Throw back!

     
  5. I couldn’t leave Japan without getting another taste of Tokyo. Since I had to leave Japan from Narita airport, I decided to take two days to just chill out and connect with some old and new West Indian friends. It was a great way for me to leave Japan. Not too sad, not in tears but happy knowing I had a great time and that I ended my journey with a bang. 

    (Source: kikosaninjapan)

     
  6. Just a few days ago I was sleeping in a tent on the beach after a reggae party. Oh how time flies. 

    Good company, good music, great vibes.

    Thank you Japan 

    (Source: kikosaninjapan)

     
  7. A month and a half full of farewell parties and they won’t end until I get on the airplane. I’m so grateful to have met all the amazing people that have helped to make these two years great but I’m so tired from trying to wrap up things before I leave. Don’t even talk about the food! I feel like a pig being fed to be roasted.
    Even though I’m beyond exhausted, it’s important for me to make time to say goodbye or rather “Matane!” (see you later in Japanese). I don’t know when I’ll see them again so my time with them is precious. 

    I’ll definitely need to get some good rest and a detox when I get home. 

     

     
  8. Instavid from the penguin aquarium 

     
     
  9. An hour and forty-five minutes motorbike ride to the Nagasaki penguin aquarium was well worth it. Although this is not my first or second time on the back of a motorbike, it was still quite frightening at certain points. After a few minutes, I grew comfortable with the speed at which we were going at and all the twist and turns going over the mountain (talk about frightening).  

    The Nagasaki penguin aquarium is lovely. It’s interactive and is home to a variety of fish and penguins. The penguins looked well fed and well taken care of which was great to see. At around noon everyday, there is a diving show. One of the staff members swims in the tank and feeds the penguins so that people to see how deep penguins can swim. At around 1:30 pm, the penguins who live on the beach are paraded around a small section of the aquarium and then allowed back onto their beach.

    They’ve always been on my top 10 list of animals that I love but after today I may have to bump them up to the top 5. I’m glad I got to see them up close. They really are adorable animals. 

     
  10. Last weekend, Keida sensei (Kimono master) decided to display several of my pictures from the Kimono photoshoot at one of the popular tourist sites in Shimabara. At first I wasn’t too keen on it, but she was over the moon about showing what we did so I couldn’t say no. She even invited one of Shimabara’s radio stations to interview us and she put a small article in the papers to advertise the opening. 

    The mayor of Shimabara even came down to take a look at the pictures. The display lasted 10 days so I’ll be getting my photos back soon. Quite excited to be able to take them home and frame them. 

     
  11. The things I would do to just go back to that moment. I just sat there and let my mind roam free.

    This packing is exhausting…can’t I just be done already!

     
  12. Today I looked like my mother when she was in her late 20’s early 30’s

    I got it from my mama!

     

  13. Anonymous said: Hello! I just came across your blog and it is amazing! I'm an incoming JET for the Shimabara area! It looks as though you have had some awesome experiences and hopefully I can do the same!

    Congratulations on being accepted to the program! Do you know who your predecessor is yet? I’m actually based in Minamishimabara but i’m in Shimabara quite often. Shimabara is interesting. It isn’t a bustling city and not necessarily close to one either, (about an hour and forty minutes) but has a lot of culture to offer. I might not meet you when you arrive but I wish you all the best on your time here in Japan.
    Thanks so much for taking a look at my blog. 
     
  14. The countdown to home is on…first farewell party down, so many more to go. I will definitely miss some of the friends that I made here. 

     
  15. Finally got my professional pics! I need to scan and upload them! Eeek!!!