I think I've passed the point of no return...I think I've now really made some ties that I will be sad to 'break' when I finally leave this place.
It's a common joke among the gaijin (foreigners) that the Japanese people are always asking us when we're LEAVING (like they can't get rid of us fast enough!). But the other night, when I was out to dinner with a nice couple whom I see each week to help them practice English (more "enkaiwa"), they asked how long I was staying in Japan. When I told them I'd probably leave in August, 2009, they said how sad they would be when I left! It's nice to feel wanted :)
At the end of our dinner, the shop owner brought over some special desserts for us - this pudding in these very uniquely-shaped cups. Mmmm...oishikatta, yo!