Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hangman in Japanese?

I would put that down as "difficult."

There way more Japanese characters than English letters (in Hiragana alone)!
At least my classmates new a good amount of English vocabulary, so it wasn't too hard for them.

But starting from the beginning of the day, the morning was pretty boring.
When we headed to P.E., which is mandatory by the way (we had it every Monday and Tuesday), we got changed and headed out.
I'm not sure if it's like this all the time, but while I was there the boys and the girls had separate P.E. The boys got to swim, while the girls had a choice of either volleyball or basketball.

I stuck out with volleyball, and what happens is we have a few drills such as having some time to practice passing, volleying, etc. After that we have a few games.

In one of the games, the other team hit the ball and I volleyed it...right into my face.
Amazingly, we were able to get the ball and score a point!

Anyway, later in the day we were headed to math, and the teacher wasn't there that day so we got a free period! Unfortunately, because the teacher wasn't there, we also didn't have the key into the classroom.

Eventually, we got the teacher next door to let us in.

When we got inside, Spencer suggested we play hangman! No one knew what it was, so we had to teach them.
First we did English hangman, but then switched to Japanese.

The last period of the day was English, but for some reason that day we weren't doing much. Therefore, Hiroki, Shuji and Hirotomo decided to create Spencer's name in Kanji! They were actually able to do it, and the meaning ended up something like "needed bear on the top level of the left side of Kanji." Makes sense, if you think really hard about it!

And at the end of the day, during clean-up time, Spencer and I decided to join Nikki with taking out the trash.

Outside, near the place where we toss the trash, was a group of other second years from a different class!

They challenged me and Spencer to rock-paper-scissors to let the losers take out the trash, and I ended up winning every time so they made me switch with Spencer haha!

Japanese Math

Is obviously hard.
I can barely do math in English, so obviously I couldn't follow the Japanese at all. But the teacher is hysterical! He's incredibly energetic and constantly goes off on tangents.

He also can't speak English, which makes it very interesting for me and Spencer. Often during class he'll suddenly stop, and ask us math terms in English. He'll try to write it on the board, but he very rarely gets the spelling correctly. It's pretty funny!

I give the students here a lot of credit, they are doing extremely hard math!

The teacher actually had me and Spencer do one of the tests one time...
Not only is it math, but the directions are smothered with Kanji.
I think I was able to do five problems.

Although the picture doesn't show it....

And I'm actually taking the notes...WHY lol

Going to class here is so fun!
I just can't imagine actually having to get graded.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

First Day of School!!!!


This was probably one of the FUNNEST days of my life!!!

Sayaka let me borrow one of her uniforms, since I didn't have a chance to buy one.


Anyway, Spencer, Hirokazu (Spencer's host brother), Sayaka and I arrived around the same time. So when Spencer and I entered, everyone, well, acted like there were exchange students. More staring than screaming.

The school day started off right away, first with Spencer and me introducing ourselves. Then we moved onto English class, which I was actually able to help my classmates with.
Then Spencer and I had to introduce ourselves AGAIN in world history class. Only I had no idea what was going on in that class haha! But the sensei gave me the classwork as well so the girl sitting next to me helped me out!

After that, we had to introduce ourselves AGAIN in the teacher's lounge in front of all the teachers. That was extremely nerve-wracking.

The day continued to go on, but math class was great! I hate math, but the teacher was awesome. He would keep asking me what certain math terms are in English, and try to spell them out on the board (he was usually wrong and we had to correct him).

I'm trying to write a lot, but if I wrote everything that would be ridiculous.

Oh, computer class was super fun too! Sou and Hiroki talked to me. They were so funny!
At the end of the day, we had one free period. Spencer, Nikki, Hirokazu, Hirotomo, Shuji, Sayaka and I talked for a while. It was so fun!

I also brought Jolly Ranchers for the class, everyone loved those.

At the end of the day, Sayaka, Hirokazu, Spencer and I had to go meet up with the teachers taking care of me and Spencer and the principal. We went over some rules and then had to introduce ourselves once again. 4 times in one day.

When we got back to the classroom, the class was having a little good-bye party for some college students working as teachers to get their degrees. As a joke, the class asked each of them which boy and which girl from the class you would like to go out with. At the end, the classmate of the opposite sex that they chose gave them goodbye presents. Soichiro was one  chosen, so when he gave the gift he said "ずっと。。。好きだった。” (I've always liked you.") IT WAS SO FUNNY. And so cute!

By the way, everyone can tell when you're the exchange student. Almost everyone tells me I look Japanese, but everyone can tell. When Saya and I were leaving, we were walking through the halls when a boy stopped suddenly and said to me (in English), "HELLO!" They boy walking with him was surprised and asked (in Japanese), "the exchange student??" Haha. That actually happens a lot. People just randomly staring or yelling "HELLO!" Sometimes they yell my name after me trying to get me to turn around. You sure get a celebrity status when you're an exchange student.

Sayaka and I ended the day watching the baseball team for a while. A lot of my classmates are on it, so whenever they see us they wave. So cute!

School in Japan is so amazingly fun I can't even describe.



I think I'm going to die.

I'm pretty sure the heat tired all of us out, for we weren't very productive today. Dad, Mom, and Yasu weren't home, so it was just me, Sayaka and Yurika. We pretty much played cards (which was so fun) and watched the small storm outside, since there's a typhoon going on.

We also watched TV, but not Japanese TV since my host family is EXTREMELY into American shows, I've been watching nothing but Glee, Batman, and Desperate Housewives with a Japanese dubbing. Haha I don't particularly mind, I just hope I get to see some normal Japanese TV soon.

A Day Off

I obviously woke up late, so I missed saying good-bye to everyone. Sayaka, Yurika, and Yasuyuki all went to school, and then Dad was at work. Mom took work off that day, so it was just me and her. For me it was a day of relaxing, since they understood I was DOG TIRED.

お母さん lent me a lot of manga, so she let me go to my room to read and then take a little nap.

When I woke up, Mom asked me if I wanted to go with her to pick up Sayaka from high school, the same one I'll be going to. Of course I said yes!

Sayaka was waiting at school, so when I showed up she wanted to give me a little tour. She showed me around, and I even met some classmates. There were some also in the classroom, and from the way they were acting I could tell I'm going to have fun. Some of them were kind of surprised that I was the exchange student, saying I look Japanese. Haha I was flattered.

Sayaka also showed me all the sports teams, and believe me, they are AMAZING. I was shocked at how hard they work.

I also found out that a fellow YFUer who is also an Okinawa recipient will be going to the same school, and even be in the same class. It turns out that his host brother and Sayaka are in the same class!

Can't wait for Monday!

Home Sweet New Home

*Note: This posts since my arrival in Japan have been days behind.

I made it to my host family's house! It was a short flight for us going to Okinawa, only about 2 hours from Haneda Airport to Naha Airport. And boy, were we acting crazy on the plane! We were subtly crazy though, so we didn't disturb anyone. We sure were hyper getting off the plane, thinking "Omigosh we're actually here!"

After baggage claim the whole group walked out together, and it was like one of those movies where you're walking through the door in slow motion toward the bright light. And when it clears, there's the crowd of host families.

Most of them had giant decorated signs up, their host child's name plastered across it, but mine didn't, so I had no idea where they were. Luckily, my younger host sister must have known who I was, because she ran up to me and said my name. She was then joined by her dad, and so after goodbyes we all left. Nago is practically on the other side of the island from Naha, so I though it would take us forever to get to our house. Luckily, Okinawa is VERY small so it only took about an hour. There was music playing the whole time too!

We finally got to our house, and I was greeted by my sister of the same age, as well as my mom. I was shocked when a giant black lab then charged me. I had no idea they had a dog! But she's sweet as could be, so it's all fine.

We then went grocery shopping, me, Sayaka, Yurika and お父さん. I pretty much stuck with Sayaka during it, and we already could tell we were going to be very good friends!

I was exhausted that day, so it was very short for me. I went to bed very early. After all that travel, a girl needs her sleep!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Tokyo High School Students!

After the YFU office, we went to a museum to check out in a way the history and culture of Japan.

But when we got there...we saw THIS:

A horde of high school students! They kept looking and waving to us, and so we were sad when we had to say bye. But then we entered the museum, and lo and behold:

There they were again! The one wearing the glasses kept saying "yes I am, yes I am" to us. And when we asked him what he was, he just said: "yes I am!" Haha they were so cute!

We ran into high school students all over the place! They kept saying in English, "pretty! Pretty!" They were adorable! They kept wanting to take pictures too! We wandered into them everywhere!

But my favorite picture is definitely:

Haha I miss them!

But to the culture part...the museum was actually really interesting! They had amazing exhibits and it covered a lot.

Luckily they had English descriptions along with the Japanese ones.

U.S. Embassy

No pictures in this one, because you're not allowed to take pictures in the Embassy.

A rough overview, the JUSSE winners and Okinawa winners headed to the Embassy while the other group headed out to their destinations in Japan.

We got there and there was a HUGE line! The weather was scorching too! Luckily since we were going to meet the sponsors we got to go in first. We sat in a room with tables and mikes on a stage-type thing in the front. Behind it was the Eagle symbol, you know, the one on the dollar.

We waited for a while, and finally the people working there came up! There were four of them, and they each gave us a speech about their job at the embassy, and working for it in general.

At the end an Okinawa winner and a JUSSE winner each gave a speech and presented a plaque to them.

We got back on the bus and then headed over to the YFU Japan office for lunch!

We met the former Japanese ambassador to the U.S. and Australia, Okawara. He then gave us a speech and another JUSSE winner gave Okawara-san a thank you speech and a plaque.

Afterward, they had a buffet, and we were waited on! I was so not used to the treatment, and had no idea what to do.

The food was soooooo yummy!!! And afterward we also got little desserts! This was mine:

Isn't it too gorgeous to eat?

Next event in next post!

Tokyo Orientation

This update is SUPER late since I am already in Okinawa and have been for a little while, but I'm going to tell you guys anyway.

Arriving in Tokyo, the people not getting picked up at the airport by their families were split into two groups : JUSSE and Okinawa winners and then the rest of the people.

The groups went on separate buses, and it turns out that we got different itineraries.

We JUSSE and Okinawa winners left after two days, while the rest left after one. In Tokyo, we also didn't get to see each other much since the JUSSEs and Okinawas had a packed schedule in Tokyo.

First, we got to go to the hotel to rest up. It was needed after that 10 hour flight! After we got settled in, I caught up with my friend Sam and we headed around the shopping area of the hotel for a little while. We weren't allowed to leave the grounds though, which kind of put a little hole in our plans. But the shopping area was fun enough!

Haha I look Japanese (in Japan. In America, people can tell I'm not full), so people were looking at me and Sam like "whattttt???" We also ran into some high school students! But whenever they saw us they would literally start walking the other way. It was kind of funny!

The first day in Tokyo was basically just hanging out and walking around
Next post is the next day!

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Oh my gosh, JPDO (Japan Pre-Departure Orientation) is finally over.

It was amazing meeting everyone, and I'm sad that we're going to have to part seperate ways for the next month, yet I'm eager to get my butt on over to Japan!

I've been at Berkeley for 2 days, and basically we got into kumis (groups), and I was purple kumi! I'm not going to say everything that we did at JPDO, because that would take absolutely FOREVER.

Let's hope that the video explains most of it:

Basically, I met everyone, and we are already super close!! It really does help getting together on a group on facebook or something, because we all had really become friends even before we had even met face-to-face. Everyone is sooooo amazingly nice, and I'm having a "wi-fi" party with them right now haha! We're all huddled in the only place where there is wi-fi, and we're all on our electronics updating and everything!

But back to JPDO, we all basically did the same thing as we did at regional orientation, and a few more games to teach us about adapting, etc. We also were separated into different groups based on skill to go study Japanese classes.

Most of the fun was hanging with everyone though!!

Anyways, I am headed to Japan tomorrow!!


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Just a little more...

Hey guys!

So, this is my last day in my state today! Tomorrow I'm headed off to California for JPDO!

I'm so excited, I get to meet everyone there and that is just where my adventure is going to begin!

I finished packing was a tight squeeze...AND I had to keep the suitcase under 50 pounds or I would have to pay extra fees....OH WELL!!
I DID IT!! I got it all in at 38 pounds! *Pats self on the back

I had to put in all the omiyage for my family in there too...woo! It was tough!

I got them...

  • A map of my state
  • A book called A City in Time (shows past and present comparisons of monuments and sites in Washington D.C.)
  • A Betty and Veronica comic book
  • A Christina Aguilera CD
  • A Bruce Springsteen CD
  • A magazine of my area
  • A local sport team's Jersey
  • A "Red White Blue" shirt
  • A whole bunch of little accessories and pouches
I hope they like them!!

I have to finish JPDO in Cali for a couple days, then I'm headed to Japan!

Looking forward to it!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Moshi Moshi Part 2

Alrighty, so after called my host family yesterday and got cut off, I vowed I would call them again.

So today I did! I didn't wake up early enough to call them in the morning, when it would be nighttime for them, so I called them in MY evening time when it was morning for them.

This time, my sister answered the phone! We were going on about how awesome it was to talk to one another, but then I asked her the question...does she play any sports?
My dad had asked me if I played sports, to which I replied I used to do tae-kwon-do (which is true, and I became a provisional black belt and was pretty good at it toot toot haha, but I'm actually very unathletic.)
And Okinawa (especially my school) seems VERY sports-orientated, I swear, they have like alomst EVRYTHING,
  • soccer
  • basketball
  • baseball
  • soft tennis
  • soft ball
  • volleyball
  • rugby
  • badminton
  • ping pong
  • ground hockey
  • dance (which I could actually do)
  • weight-lifting
  • and others that I can't read what they are....
Anyway, I was scared thinking I'm going to be this weakling amidst all these athletes, when she answers..."No, I can't do sports."
I answered back, "REALLY? I CAN'T EITHER!"
We both were so happy, because she felt the same way I did! We kept going "yokatta! yokatta!" (Thank goodness thank goodness)

In all, we talked for half an hour! All in Japanese! There were still the awkward pauses, but it was still so fun! I think she and I are going to get along great!

It turns out that pretty much no one in her family can speak English, which I was kind of happy about. More practice for me! She asked that I teach her, so of course I agreed. My pleasure, of course! When else has English ever been so cool?

Haha I was really disappointed when we had to say goodbye...

But speaking of my host family!!
Being the insane stalker (kidding) that I am, I've been google-mapping the city and doing street-view! It is soooooo entertaining! I've been through the same streets like 5 times!

This is the street headed right to my school. See the red sign to the left? That's the school sign! This was as close as I could get though...
Oh well! I'll see it in person soon!


Friday, June 3, 2011

Moshi Moshi?

So just now, I got off the phone with my host dad! :D

After days of trying to figure out the area code to call, getting that annoying woman's voice going "I'm sorry...," dealing with time difference, etc...

I finally reached through today! I did not understand why people were saying that calling their host families were so awkward, but now I do. I think I died a little on the inside.

My stomach was already churning, but then when he picked up and said "Moshi moshi?" I practically flipped out. I meekly replied (in Japanese of course) "Hello? Is this the Nakamoto family? I am a YFU exchange student," and he immediately understood. We talked for a really long time, with excrutiatingly long pauses in between haha! And he spoke really quietly, so sometimes I had a hard time understanding him... But he said my Japanese was very skillful! That made me really happy! I had to speak in only Japanese!
  1. For practice
  2. He said his English was very bad :P
But he was extremely nice! I can't wait to meet the family! Apparantly he was the only one there when I I'll have to call back later :)

But man, was that nerve-racking!

And then, to top it all off, I couldn't ask him on whether or not I should hang up! I kept saying it in english hoping that his little known amount of english would spare me... But I guess fate decided that for me because MY CONNECTION BROKE.
I absolutely could not believe it...I really hope he doesn't think I'm super rude now...

I'm going to call later! Hopefully I can get in touch with the whole family!

Lemme do a little cram before I do that....
Now let's do you say "hang up"...

Wednesday, June 1, 2011



So, lately people in the YFU group have been getting their host families, and I was absolutely DYING just waiting for mine!!
Of course, the mail had to be late today...I thought I was gonna have a heart attack...

When it finally came my sister yelled at me "Mail!!!" and I practically fell down the stairs in my haste to get it. I finally grabbed the mail, and was flipping through. I had gotten to the small envelopes and had seen nothing, so me heart sank. Usually YFU sends fairly noticibly sized packages, so I thought I would have to wait even longer. I was depressingly flipping through the rest of the envelopes when LO-AND-BEHOLD.....


I now know that I'm going to be in Okinawa, Japan! I have a mother and a father, 3 host sisters, and 1 host brother!! What a big family right??

I'm so excited to get to meet them! And it turns out that one of my sisters is my age! We'll probably be going to school together...but I'm not sure.

I really can't wait for school to end and head to Okinawa now! I couldn't sleep at all last night! And now that I got my host family...I'm going to be awake forever!

Oh wells!

Until the next post!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Hello again!!

Lately the people that I have met that are also going to Japan this summer (through scholarships) have been talking to each other non-stop. Through chats, comments, etc.

But yesterday, after much pressure from the other YFUers and HOURS of trying to get the stinkin' thing to work, I finally set up skype!! It was my first skype ever, and some of the other winners and I skyped late into the night. We literally went for 3 hours! It was awesome! We ended around 1:00 AM haha!

We're trying to do it more now, but because of our schedules we can't do it tonight. But we're planning on more late nights of skyping!

Kristine actually recorded our skype convo last night:

Too bad I'm cut off on the screen haha!
But I'm there!

For those of you planning on study abroad in the future, I HIGHLY recommend contacting and getting to know other study abroaders through skype. It may be a pain in the butt, but you can make really good friends through it (granted don't talk to strangers). We haven't met face-to-face yet, but already we're all really close (because we know it's safe. Don't talk to strangers  kiddies)!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

One Orientation Down...

Helloes!!! Hasn't been that long, has it?

Oh well! Today I went to my pre-California orientation! It's a residential orientation, so kids that were going abroad (to anywhere, not just Japan) that lived around a certain area met up and we had a 7 HOUR orientation. You're probably thinking "ridiculous," right? But it was  surprisingly fun! :)

Most of the kids there (like 3/4 of us) were headed to Japan during the summer. I made lots of friends there! It was super fun! During our breaks we all stood around and we just TALKED and TALKED. Some of the things we were talking about were actually pretty obscure. It was so hilarious! I laughed so hard today!

Orientation (the whole point) itself was actually pretty interesting. We had these huge discussions on culture shock, what to and what not to do, etc. Just some good "survival" tips. However, during one part, they did some sort of fake ritual to us. I'm not going to go into detail, in case whoever's reading this does end up going to orientation, I don't want to spoil it! :) but you should have seen everyone's faces during it. We were all so confused! We found out at the end that it was to help us try to appreciate and respect other peoples' culture. Granted, it was a fake (i think...most likely) culture, but it actually made a very valid point.

A lot of other stuff happened too, but if I went into all the detail then this post would be longer than the 7 hour orientation.

The orientation  may have been mandatory, but I'm glad I went anyway. :)
It really was extremely helpful in many ways, and during orientation it actually hit me:
"I'm going to Japan for six weeks...I'm going to be living with a host family..."

But no doubt I am UNBELIEVABLY excited!

There are actually 3 orientations:
  • Residential orientation
  • California (pre-departure) orientation
  • Tokyo orientation
And then the rest of us will be headed to our destinations (for me, namely, Okinawa!)

Unfortunately, no pictures today. I didn't feel it would have been appropriate to be randomly filming during orientation. Luckily, one of the friends I met did, so during breaks she would whip out her camera.

Well then,
'Till the next "exciting" expenditure!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011








Friday, May 13, 2011

My Vlog

I had put this post up before, but it somehow it was deleted (or for some reason I can't see it). So I'm gonna do this again.

I made a Vlog! It's up on youtube, and my username is "sunnchu" :)

Here's the link:

I'll be putting videos of fun things that happen in Okinawa there, so I hope you guys follow along :)

This is my first vlog entry...I hope it's at least decent (I'm not used to doing this kind of stuff).

(haha what a weird thumbnail)

Anyway, I hope you guys follow along and I'm looking forward to putting videos up!
I hope they're interesting enough...I'm going to be updating with things that I think you guys would want to see, so I hope you like!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Nice to meet you all!
This is a typical American girl...who has become a new Exchange student thanks to Youth for Understanding (YFU)!
I have to admit, this post is really late (but I actually only made the blog today). I got my acceptance letter almost a week ago, but I am still dying of excitement! I won the Okinawa Peace Scholarship Program scholarship! I came in the regular mail, with an acceptance letter, a World Traveler's Guide, a Parent's Guide, and my favorite thing aside from the letter, my very own YFU T-shirt!

I think I'm going to die waiting for the school year to end so I can finally go...but it'll be worth it once I get there!! Okinawa...also known as the "Hawaii of Japan" haha! I have already met people from all over the country through facebook who are also going, and I am so excited to meet them all!

As many of you know, (at least the ones who have enough to at least hear from other people) Japan was hit with a MAJOR earthquake and tsunami this past March. YFU has made it very clear that they won't be sending anyone within 100 km of the disaster area, but I will be headed to Okinawa anyway, and that is probably the southest south you can get in Japan, so I won't be anywhere close.

Hmm....I can't think of anything else to say (which is so me btw)... I'll leave it at this today!