I truly am amazed to have gone to Japan. It was like waking up to Christmas every day. I went to many fun places with my first host family, and I got to cool down and enjoy the little things with my second host family. I also learned many new words and things. I think all that I wanted and more was what Japan gave to me. I am so grateful.
My family and I all pitched in to pay for my fee to go to Japan. I took short jobs and saved up my money, and for my birthday I asked only for money for Japan.
I came to my first host family with my host mother Tomomi. I got to talk to her in English through the car ride to the house. I enjoyed talking with her and just easing my excitement. When I got to meet my first host family, it was very cheerful. I got to finally use my introduction that sensei had taught me, and they called it good, so I felt accomplished. Throughout my stay I played often with Yamato, because Tenfu was at tennis club with half a day of school, but when I went to his school I felt like I had a good time. I went to a good number of shrines, took walks and hikes, and visited delicious restaurants. It was a sensory overload; I was ecstatic!
I developed good relations with Yamato. I treated him like a younger brother, very kind and cheerful. Yamato treated me so much like a real relative thought that his parents had to correct him when he asked me if I could take a bath with him. It was quite humorous, and the parents are probably telling this story over and over again to their friends relishing in the naiveté of children.
But the most memorable event with Yamato was when he caught dragonflies, oni yama or“king of dragons.” We had been hiking to nico nico iwa, and on the way back to the parking lot, we crept up to the dragonfly, caught it in a hat, then in between Yamato’s fingers. We marveled at it; it was as long as an average finger and the wings were so iridescent. Yamato carried it all the way to the car and when his mother was telling him to release it. He began to say that he wanted to keep it. But you can’t really sustain a dragonfly. When we reached the parking lot Yamato released it begrudgingly. We then saw a few of oni yama flying around, and Tomomi said to Yamato that they were saying thank you. And Yamato said goodbye. But in the car Yamato leaned out the window and started crying. I then talked to him, frantically trying to correct my grammar as fast as I could, and said, “It’s okay. He says thank you Yamato. His friends say thank you!” Yamato calmed down, and finally fell asleep in the car. I got to carry him inside the house. It was so sweet.
I loved my host mother and host father. They made me so happy when they talked about how I’m their first daughter. I really felt accepted. I did see why they thought so strongly about this, because having three boys would kind of make you want to have a girl to throw into the mix – and what a wonderful opportunity to have a grown-up eager girl for only for a week. But I know that it’s not that simple, because when I had to leave the family, my host father’s hugs were so sincere, and my host mother was breaking into tears. When I passed the front of the school, I saw her standing holding a tissue, and very teary eyed, and I said goodbye again. In that moment I truly felt how much I meant to my host mother, and I was so touched that I had made such a strong bond in a person so fast.
My second host family had stayed in America for about two years, and the two younger girls had learned a good amount of English, so much so that they had no accent when they talked. Listening to their speech after always listening to Japanese was a bit startling and it took a while for me to get used to it. I enjoyed the company of the two girls, and saw myself and my sister in their conversations whenever they conversed
As I spent a long time with the youngest, so did Asumi and me. I would often talk with her and practice Japanese. Asumi liked dramas, and so we would act around, trying to write out plays. During the first couple of days I taught Asumi basics of drawing, and helped her develop proportions in drawing. We would then sit around drawing in the living room. I also went to aikido with Asumi. She would often be very quiet, shy and reserved. I also had a great time with my second host mother; we would sit down after dinner at the table and talk. She would talk about her experience in America, and I would give a response. We also would talk about her family and how she observed them. It was very comforting to have these talks while sipping tea (her) and water (me).
As for this wonderful society, JAS, I enjoyed the opportunity to go to Japan. Thank you for this trip, and I love remembering it.