As part of the Kakehashi Project, our students kept a photo journal detailing their experience in Japan with the hopes of building better relations and global interest between both countries.
I thought that the language barrier would make it awkward, and so I was a little bit hesitant to come. I was right and it was very awkward, so awkward that it was funny, and fun needs no translation. I miss them so much.
The golden fish is called a Kinshachi, and is a talisman seen in many places around the castle, with the belief that it prevents fires.
It was an intriguing experience because despite the train moving faster than any mere New York Subway line, the ride was more comfortable, and we could barely feel any motion at all.
Where we experienced a sort of street fair setup with icees, soft drinks, souvenir shops, toy stands, etc.
l grew up in Japanese media. From birth, I was a Power Ranger, Transformers ruled my world, and when I was 6, my life changed forever when I touched my first Yu-Gi-Oh card. The Kakehashi Project put me in the center of the rich media and culture that I always knew that I’d one day be a part of. In school, I have never studied the Japanese language (not for lack of trying), and being a naturally talkative person, the thought of not being able to communicate my thoughts was terrifying. However, this trip taught me that the language barrier that I so feared was imaginary, and I found that if people are open enough to accept you, communication is not an issue. I have also been able to cast the stereotypes I’ve unintentionally picked up, finding them to have very little truth.
My future plans have not changed, I want to own a comic/collectibles shop (preferably in Japan) and create my own Anime/Manga. However, this trip has motivated me more towards my goal, and I’ve decided that collectible shop or not, I will visit Japan again. I have also begun considering to study abroad, although Japanese language will be a must in college for me in either case. Thanks to the Kakehsahi Project, I will be a bridge!
A group photo of my wonderful and amazing homestay family. At first I thought it would be kind of awkward to talk with them because of our languages, but we broke through that language barrier and spoke a lot about our daily lives. Even now, we still talk to each other through social networking.
Shibuya was “alive” at night, having a majority of its shops and restaurants open ’till very late. Our group went around the shops for a bit, but all we did was sightsee. We visited several famous attractions in Shibuya, such as the Statue of Hachiko, the 109 building, scramble crossing, Dogenzaka, and Cat Street.
During the homestay, my family took me and my roommate Angel to Okazaki Castle and Mikawa Bushi and Iyeyasu Museum. Okazaki Castle was demolished 140 years ago, but the castle is now being rebuilt, keeping almost every detail of the castle intact. The photo here is one of the watch towers used to protect the Okazaki Castle back in the 16th and 17th centuries.
Lastly, this would have to be one of my favorite days. We visited Aoi Seicha, the matcha factory. They specialized in making quality green tea powder, and they also made tea pots, tea cups, Chawan( Tea bowls), and a wide assortment of green tea candies. As a fan of green tea goods, I really enjoyed the experience in the factory and shop. I bought myself several green tea sweets, a bag of powdered matcha, and a ceremonial tea set.
This trip to Japan, from beginning to end, was an adventure I would never forget for ages to come. To have this opportunity to travel overseas and represent my school and state, and to build upon my learning experiences, was surely an experience worth preparing for. Traveling overseas on a plane towards a new country and interacting with new people wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I have never traveled outside of the United States before, and the plane ride wasn’t as bad as I imagined, but that isn’t the point. From the moment that I stepped off of the plane in Tokyo, the atmosphere was completely different.
These ten days in Japan were, again, ones I would never forget. From visiting the peaceful and historical shrines in Nagoya, to seeing an array of trends in the streets of Shibuya, and having fun playing arcade games in the streets of Akihabara, this trip to Japan has shown me not only its modern era in present times, but has also taken me back in time to the past during the Asuka periods, the beginning of the Samurai legacy.
Plans for the future and goals after this trip would involve opening up new clubs that I have seen in Nishio High School, such as a tea ceremony club, a kendo club, and an archery club. These clubs can help provide cultural diffusion between Japan and the United States, and also could help give students a better understanding on certain aspects of Japanese lifestyle. I also want to improve on my grades the next upcoming years so that I may be able to study aboard in Japan. It may not happen, but I won’t surely know if I don’t try.
On our visit to the Aoi Seicha Co., Ltd Tea Factory in Nishio, Aichi Prefecture, we found out how they make matcha (green tea). While we were there, we learned how important matcha is in Japanese culture. At the end of the tour, we learned what to do when we go to a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. Also, they gave us a sample of their renowned matcha ice cream. It was delicious.
This is my host family when we went to a sushi restaurant that served food on a conveyor belt. Theえんどうfamily was extremely kind to me. When we first met, they did not expect me to know Japanese, so they thought there would be a huge language barrier. Once they discovered my Japanese language background, we instantly bonded. My younger brother, ユタさん (black shirt), and I had a lot in common. We both love soccer, One Piece, and Naruto. They showed me a lot about Japanese culture, grown on me, and I will always remember them and their kindness.
One day, we visited にしおHigh School and it was a great experience. They had a huge welcoming assembly where we saw more than 1,000 students, all ready to meet us. When we went inside the classrooms, we were able to talk to the students. They were surprised by my Japanese and I learned that Japanese students aren’t that different from American students. They treated us like celebrities and I will remember the friends I made there.
The Kakehashi Project had a positive effect on my life. The time I’ve spent in Japan has shown me that I should be kinder to people, hang on to my family traditions, live life to the fullest and be the best I can be. My experiences from this trip will help me this upcoming school year when I become Student Body President. I can plan events that not only display American culture but also introduce students to an unfamiliar way of life. This trip also enforced my beliefs on Japan, its people, and its culture. Ever since I started studying Japanese, I knew that Japanese was a parallel America. Japan is a technically advance nation that still values its traditions. Seeing this great nation with my own eyes has been a highlight of my life and I am very grateful for being chosen for this program.
I thought that this was one of the first things we discovered by just wandering around.
My host family was such a valuable experience I thought that I couldn’t leave it out.
It is such a crowded city that reminds me of New York but with more order. This place is filled with arcades; I love anime and games. This place has a lot of things when it comes to anime.
My participation in the Kakehashi Program affected me heavily. For me, this experience was one of a kind. It was a very, very emotional experience, from awe to sadness. When I was happy at the zip-line to emotionally sad when I left my host family. The Kakehashi Program changed my views of Japan. I always thought Japanese people were a bit grumpy. However, I was very wrong they are always looking to help people, and they are so friendly. This whole trip has been a helpful experience
The Kakehashi Program has changed my goals in the future. First of all, I am definitely going back to Japan one day to visit my host family again. Therefore, I may save up money to go back to Japan. Not only am I going to visit my host family, I am going to visit some shops that I never got to visit this time. I made room in my future to add this awesome place.
This is the school that we visited, Nishio High School. We preformed the “Cup Song” for them and we also went around the school. We got to meet the students and try out their clubs. It was so fun getting to meet them and spending time with them.
This is my wonderful and amazing host family. Throughout the few days that we had together, I felt that I was a part of their family. They brought us to so many beautiful places and we shared so many unforgettable moments. I cried so much when we had to say our goodbyes, but I know that our bond will never end. We will always stay in contact and I know that someday we will see each other again. I love them so much! Thank you for everything!
This is The Golden Temple. It is an amazing and beautiful temple. It is made out of gold and I just wanted to touch it. The setting was so peaceful and divine that I just wanted to stay there. I never saw anything like this before so I was clearly amazed by it.
This is another group from the Kakehashi Project, Marianas High School. Not only did we make long-life bonds with the Japanese, we also made bonds with the students from Saipan. We became so close with them that we would always talk to each other. We have friends from all around the world! We all experienced this Japan adventure together and we learned together. They were such an amazing group of people! We all hope that someday we will get to see them again and hang out.
My participation in the Kakehashi Project has really affected me in many ways. It’s been my dream, ever since I was a kid, to go to Japan and live there. I finally had the chance to do it and I took it. I’m so glad that I came on this trip and that there was this kind of opportunity for students to visit another country and learn about their culture. I have learned so many things about Japan and I will always remember this experience. I always talk about Japan to my family and friends and I just can’t stop talking about it.
I met so many amazing people and I created so many bonds with them. I will never forget the people that I met during this trip. We’ll always stay in contact and hopefully we will all see each other one day. I will also never forget the amazing places in Japan that we visited. Japan is such a beautiful place and it’s different than America. I loved the neighborhoods, landmarks and just everything. This project has increased my love for Japan and I will most definitely live there. My host family has made me feel like I’m part of them and I have become so close to them. I really miss them and I couldn’t thank them enough for everything they did for me. I love them so much and I would love to see them again!
In college, I want to take a Japanese Language class and study abroad in Japan. In the future, I want to work as an animator and I also want to be a Japanese translator for the United Nations. I want to continue my Japanese language skills because I just love it. I enjoy it very much and I have wanted to do this when I was younger. I am one step closer to fulfilling my dream job. Thank you so much Kakehashi Project for giving me this opportunity. We have made a bridge between America and Japan because we have made long-time friendships with the people there and it will never break. We will continue this bridge till the end. I will never forget this and thank you very much.
Stay tuned as more students will continue to share their experience in Japan.