Although over 6 months have passed since my exchange in Fukuoka, Japan, I still keep in contact with my host family and friends; yesterday, I wrote letters and wrapped gifts to send overseas. While doing so, I pulled out the gifts I had received from them: a home-made sign that reads “Mimi, welcome to Japan” that my host family held when I met them at the airport, a photo/ letter album that my classmates created for me, and care packages from my area representative and host family.
When I was in Japan, everything was brand new and foreign, almost as if I had been re-born and was experiencing everything for the first time, just like how Frankenstein’s creature felt when he was first created. Like the creature and its “family” in the cottage, I learned much from the family I lived with. My host mother taught me how to make takoyaki, and my 12-year-old host brother taught me how to be an older sister.
Like my host family, my teachers were phenomenal, and they went above and beyond. Toni-sensei, my math teacher, stayed up late to translate the math homework into English for me. In addition to preparing everything from my schedule to my textbooks, Kanamori-sensei, the English teacher who was in charge of me, sewed the button onto my skirt after it popped off. Miller-sensei, my homeroom and English teacher, went to the airport to say good bye to me.
Also at the airport to see me off were thirteen of my friends (and my host family and area representative). After school, I always went out with them, and we would go to Starbucks (and order matcha frappacino), take purikura pictures at the local mall, play taiko at the game center, and much more. Even though half a year have gone by, I still clearly remember the adventures we went on together and will continue to cherish the memories I created with them.
Below is a video that I created after I returned from Japan: