Most people think “sayonara” is simply Japanese for “goodbye.” However, in actuality, saying “sayonara” upon a separation implies a certain amount of profound finality. It is not meant as an informal and light-hearted farewell, but rather as a parting utilized to acknowledge situations where one will not see another for an extensive period of time, if ever again. It was (and is) the most fitting name for our going-away party and celebration recently held at our home and hosted by me and my wife.
Interspersed throughout this blog will be quotes from Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s North to the Orient, who expresses in a simply paragraph what I have tried to mentally capture for days now:
“For Sayonara, literally translated, ‘Since it must be so,’ of all the good-byes I have heard is the most beautiful. Unlike the Auf Wiedershens and Au revoirs, it does not try to cheat itself by any bravado ‘Till we meet again,’ any sedative to postpone the pain of separation. It does not evade the issue like the sturdy blinking Farewell.”
Jody and I like to throw parties, themed parties, where we encourage complex dress-up, coupled with relatively immature fun. We wanted to make sure that we celebrated not only the friends and family that make our lives so very rich, but also the “Far East Fling” we are only now just starting to flirt with. We attempted, in many small measures, to lend that sense of adventure to those who came to help send us on our way.
“Farewell is a father’s good-by. It is – ‘Go out in the world and do well, my son.’ It is encouragement and admonition. It is hope and faith. But it passes over the significance of the moment; of parting it says nothing. It hides its emotion. It says too little. While Good-by (‘God be with you’) and Adios say too much. They try to bridge the distance, almost to deny it.”
Asian and the Far East, I believe, still holds mystery and awe for many, if not most Americans. I have friends that almost never leave the continental United States, and others that only recently got passports to travel at my urging well into their 40s. Even many from the west who enjoy traveling look at Asian and the Orient with both awe and some measure of trepidation.
“Good-by is a prayer, a ringing cry. ‘You must not go – I cannot bear to have you go! But you shall not go alone, unwatched. God will be with you. God’s hand will over you’ and even – underneath, hidden, but it is there, incorrigible – ‘I will be with you; I will watch you – always.’ It is a mother’s good-by.”
However, it is exactly for those reasons that I anticipate going back to live there – for the 3rd time. It is a great journey to move overseas, and an even greater adventure to live outside of the United States. But living, working, driving, eating, and just generally sustaining yourself in the Orient, where customs and peoples are so very alien, where even the writing cannot be deciphered without great difficulty, is an issue that I face with some measure of anxiety, mixed with a massive dose of excitement.
“But Sayonara says neither too much nor too little. It is a simple acceptance of fact. All understanding of life lies in its limits. All emotion, smoldering, is banked up behind it. But it says nothing. It is really the unspoken good-bye, the pressure of a hand, ‘Sayonara.”
We have been officially regaled by those who thought enough to come see us off; we celebrated in grand style, complete with Asian-inspired drinks, more Sake than could be drunk, and all-you-can-eat Sushi. Jody is checking out of her command here in Pensacola today, and the first of many days of packers and movers invading our space begins tomorrow.
Sayonara My Friends.
All will be missed.