I went to the airport via a shuttle driven by a man wearing no white gloves (as is the custom for every driver in Japan) and seemeingly proud of how quickly he was able to maneuver the large vehicle through parking lots. "It's really bumpy in the back," he said as he whipped around another corner. In the airport I spoke with countless people looking at the cello on my back, calling it a guitar, a violin, asking if I played in a band, telling me they or someone they knew played an instrument. A girl named Déjà who sold me a banana at a kiosk in the airport and looked no older than 14, stared at me and asked, "Is there really something that big in there?" as though I might tell her Santa wasn't real. "Yes," I said. Perhaps on the way back I'll see her again.
I spent five hours waiting for the flight, watching the staff work at the fast food counters, staring at the clouds and the planes taking off and landing while children bid them farewell and country music played loudly over the sound system.
And now I'm home. In the hands of my family. Perhaps some Ohio waffles in the morning.