05 November 2013
This summer a group of 8 young people travelled from Leeds and Huddersfield to Japan for a 10-day youth exchange trip. Accompanied by two Heads Together staff, they stayed in Matsudo near Tokyo; travelled to Ishinomaki—a town devastated by the tsunami of 2011—and took part in the traditional Nebuta festivals in Hirosaki and Aori.
“Tonight, I ate my dinner with chopsticks. Those skewers of wood I brought from Tokyo for my mother. Something didn't quite feel right though. Like something wasn't there. That 'something' was me, and 'there' was somewhere in Japan.
A few days ago, I posted this on Facebook: I miss Japan. I really, really do. You forever hear phrases like 'post-holiday blues' or 'post-break comedown' or something along those lines. Those 'phrases' have never rung more true.
I miss the hostel room in Ishinomaki; the recording session that we did in there, the jokes about the squat toilets, being woken up to dirty dirty beats.
I miss the nights in the temple in Matsudo, being barefoot on the concrete, how the weather could change mood within a split-second, and just having everyone sat round that big table.
I miss that night where I stayed in a stranger’s house, and felt like I was leaving home the next morning.
It's the people I miss the most though.”
Niall Devine (from his blog)
To read more about the trip and more from Niall, download the full report below