That break has given the New Zealand Maori and All Blacks regular the motivation to remain on home soil.
He told The Christchurch Press: "I'll stick around for a couple more years yet. I love playing for Canterbury and the Crusaders. I'll be here for the next couple of years, if they want me.
"Japan helped break up my career, and gave me a chance to carry on. But I'm really happy with the Crusaders and love playing under Robbie (Deans) as well."
However, former Crusaders and All Blacks captain Reuben Thorne is less clear on his immediate future.
The versatile forward said: "I just take it year by year at the moment. I'm getting close to the end of it all, but I still enjoy it. There's stuff I'd like to achieve this year. Next year, who knows."