To Sleep The Whole Flight

In November 2017 I was asked to write a 300 word narrative essay about an experience, a trip or an event in my life that was especially meaningful or even life-changing for me; here’s the result.


September 2012. The weather was nice over Rome. We had just left Fiumicino Airport, and the “Fasten your seatbelts” sign hadn’t yet turned off. I looked through the window, watched the clouds go by, and suddenly realized something.

The next ground I was going to walk on would be in Japan. At last.

This thought struck me like a lightning bolt. I felt relieved and melancholic at the same time. It had certainly been a long path.

Many things had happened in the previous ten years. I had gone through a painful breakup with a really nice guy, ended up in a very toxic relationship shortly after that, went through a mild but long depression, changed jobs, lost many old friends and found some new ones. And now I was finally fulfilling a dream I had been dreaming of for ten years already.

I was a bit scared, though. Would Japan be as I imagined it? What would it smell like? Would I experience something like the Paris syndrome but with Japan? I had watched so many Japanese TV shows and live-action series that I feared I would find something totally different; that, maybe, it would disappoint me.

24 hours later, I found out that Japan felt like home. It smelled nice and looked even nicer than on TV. Its people were kind, the food was delicious and public transport was easier to use than expected. It felt as if I had been there before. But all that, I couldn’t know yet. I couldn’t even imagine that I would visit it again three more times.

Back then, I could just stare at the clouds, wishing to sleep the whole flight just to wake up in the Land of the Raising Sun…

As it turned out, it was worth the wait!


Thanks for reading! :)

Lanterns in front of Hōzōmon, Asakusa, Tokyo. October 18, 2012.