Dear Kerstin,

When I first arrived in Japan this time last year, I was incredibly apprehensive. About the situation, yes, but about the people even more. I already understood that Japan seems to attract both the best and the worst people, and although we had chatted a bit on Facebook and you seemed mostly normal, I wasn't really sure what to expect when I actually got here. And while I was hopeful that maybe my new neighbor would be someone who could show me around and maybe even be a friend, never in a million years could I have imagined forming the kind of friendship that we did - and so quickly too!

Maybe being butt naked in an onsen together from day one helped to break down barriers and get us comfortable with each other real quick, though I feel like friendship is probably built on a little more than nudity. We've been through so much that it's hard to believe that we've only known each other for a year. From our late night Kasumi beach adventures last summer, to our near weekly Osaka trips in the fall. From spending hours shoveling snow and complaining during the winter to our trips to Fukuchiyama just to eat curry and try the newest Starbucks frappuccinos in the spring. I feel like we've got a lifetime of stories already.

But in all seriousness, my first year on JET wouldn't have been the same without you. Thank you for always being someone I can trust (and bitch to). Thank you for always being so cheerful and upbeat. Thank you for all the advice you've given me. Thank you for going along with my sometimes irresponsible antics. Thank you for being a great friend. 

I'm so, so happy that the timing worked out so that we could have an entire week together at the end doing the things that started our friendship. And the fact that we ended our run the same way we started it - naked in a bath - was just icing on the cake. I'll miss our weekly sushi dates and seeing you everyday, for sure, but I'm positive life will bring us together again sometime soon. In fact, I'd like to see it try to keep us apart!

Love you lots.