“Home sweet home,” as this saying shows, home is a place where people are able to go back. Usually, people are relaxed at home, and they cherish their home very much. I believe that each people have their own homes, both physically and mentally. Looking back at my experience, I haven’t had a strong attachment with my own home, where I lived. This is because I moved in different places every three or four years until I became a junior high school student. After that, I finally settled in one certain place, and I have been living in this place for more than 10 years. However, I still don’t have strong attachment with my home and district. This may be due to the fact that I have never been in the school in this district. When I was in junior high school and high school student, I was studying in private school, and I did not go to a school which is near by my home. Because of this, I have no friends around my home, and I do not know very well about the district I am living now. The home which I am living now is just a place where I can go back and spend time there with my family.
Because of this experience, my definition of home may be wider than others. For me, home is a place where people are able to go back, or want to go back, and both physical and mental home are included. I believe that home is not only a place where we are able to go back easily, and the distance doesn’t matter. No matter how far it is, home is a home if people believe so.
Sometimes, we don’t realize we have a home besides the place where we live, but certain events make us realize the existence of it. A school, for instance, is a home for me. When I was a junior high school and high school student, I studied in the same school for six years. Right after I graduated from the school, I often visited there with my friends, but I do not visit there very often these days. Last summer, I had the opportunity to teach extra English classes for junior high school students there, and I visited the school for the first time in a year. I walked to school from the nearest station for about 15 minutes, and I realized how calm it was. The school is located a bit far from the station, and there is isn’t anything special around it. There is no supermarket or convenience store. As it was summer, I just heard the sound of a cicada and the wind. This made me feel comfortable, and I realized this place is my home. I don’t miss the school very much as I graduated a long time ago, but I realized it is a place I can call home. Moreover, the school was renovated after I graduated and it looks totally different now. Besides, most teachers I had are not in the school any more. However, the school is still a home for me. Though I do not visit there very often, the school still exists physically and the memories I had there remain in my heart.
After I entered the university, I found various kinds of new homes for me. A club activity is one example. I was in club activities such as English speaking society and the committee for school festival, and they were also home for me. I also had an opportunity to study in other countries. Although I have various kinds of homes, the most important one for me is Finland. As I wrote in the first edition of this journal, I studied in Finland as an exchange student from 2011 to 2012 for 10 months. Last summer, I decided to visit there again as I miss Finland very much. I stayed in Tampere where I studied for a week, and I spent a few days in Helsinki. When I visited there, I realized that Finland is also a place where I can go back to.
When I arrived in Finland, there were two things which made me realize ‘I am in Finland.’ After I arrived in Finland, Helsinki, I took the bus to get to Tampere. On the bus, I first heard the melody of the Nokia phone. Many Finnish people use Nokia phones that have a specific melody. After that, a woman who was sitting near me started to eat an apple. These two made me realize ‘I am in Finland, I came back to Finland.’ I expected that I will have these feelings when I see my friends, taste Finnish food, visit beautiful nature, but these tiny things made me realize I was back in Finland. Through this experience I realized Finland is a place where I can go back. I noticed I got used to these tiny things happening in every day’s lives in Finland.
During my stay in Finland, I strongly felt Finland as a place where I can go back. My friends in Finland kindly welcomed me, and just being there made me delighted. The most important thing I realized is the fact that Finland is always there. Finland is quite far from Japan, and it is not easy to visit there. No matter how far it is, however, I realized Finland itself does not disappear. When I visited there again, everything was as it used to be. I visited my favorite beautiful lake, the university I studied, the apartment I used to live in, and everything was there. Of course, I am not sure if they will be there forever, and there must be some changes from now on. However, I believe that Finland itself exists there physically, and the experiences I had there will be in my heart and my mind.
I have indicated some physical homes for me, but I also have a home which exists mentally. For me, reading a book also connects to finding a home. When I read a book, it is possible to meet various characters and places and I feel that the world there can also be home. One of the most attractive points while reading a book is that it is always there. When I open a book, the characters and places always exist there and it never fades away unless a book itself disappears. In other words, it is possible for us to go back to the world which exists in the book whenever we want to. These days, I do not have many opportunities to meet and communicate with people, and I have a difficulty finding a place where I can settle. However, reading a book always shows me a new world, and a book is always with me. No matter how hard it is in the real world, a book is always there. Reading a book always helps me a lot, and the world there is definitely a home for me.
Besides reading a book, watching a musical is also very important for me. I enjoy watching musicals. Sometimes go to a theater to watch it. Some I watch several times since I enjoy them very much. In other words, I watch musicals again and again because I want to be back to the world there. I like meeting the characters in the story in particular settings. Because of this, watching a musical also relates to going back home for me.
Through the experiences I have had so far, I believe that it is quite important for us to have various kinds of home, places where we are able and also want to go back to. A home can actually be anything, and it varies from people to people. Some feel that home should be something that exists physically, while others have a home which exists mentally. Each people have different definitions of home, but the important point is to have a home. The existence of home makes us relieved, and it helps us in difficult times. It is necessary for us to try to find a home in as many places as possible in our daily lives, as a home is a place where we can go back to.