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!