Summit High School
Almost four years have gone by and with those four years I have begun to see doors open through the language and culture of Japan. With those four years, I would have never expected such an opportunity to arrive. I remember hearing about JET-MIP from former classmates who have gone, and their stories got me very intrigued into applying. As time went on, I passed the interview and was accepted into the program, which was a very exciting moment. As I waited for the program to start I began to study a lot more daily and grew a stronger interest in all things Japanese. Once JET-MIP had arrived, I was nervous and excited. However, when it ended I had made a lot of new friends, and my Japanese had become a lot better. The way that the JET Memorial Invitation Program was structured was very good, everything was very fun. This was because everything was planned, we would have a plan for about half of the day, and then have free time, both of these really allowed me to experience all aspects of japan. All of the teachers, guides, and Thomas/Okumura were very kind and helpful. Whenever we were having trouble or just needed help in general there always someone willing. Whenever we were at the institute or with any instructor Japanese was always spoken, it was very enjoyable to be fully immersed all the time. It allowed for all of us to really grow in our own Japanese language skills. This program really showed me the true relation between the American people and Japanese people. I now know that I want to try to get into JET and hopefully live in Japan in the future. Since the trip I constantly keep in touch with Taro (my host brother) and a few Japanese friends. I hope to one day meet my friends from JET-MIP and meet my Japanese friends too. To this day I study a few hours a day and get some tutoring from my Japanese friends, my Japanese has slowly become stronger because of this.
The JET-MIP experience that I underwent was hands down the best experience of my life. My favorite experiences were visiting the schools, touring around Japan (disaster areas and so on)/ free time, and the idea of total culture immersion, no English. At the begging of the trip we went to Kesen JR High School. It was our first experience at a school, and I was very nervous. We started with a power point and then went on to lunch. It was a bit awkward at first, but as we began to socialize and get to know each other it became a very fun experience. I remember Chris and I being handed the microphone randomly and he gave me a beat while I danced, and Japanese students soon joined in. From that moment on I knew all of the school experiences were going to be amazing. We also participated in the high school summit, East Sendai, and Senboku High School. All of the schools gave me a life changing experience. I have made so many new friends that I constantly keep in touch with them on both Line and Facebook. I feel grateful that I was able to experience a Japanese teenager’s lifestyle in school, and also try many different Japanese traditions (like kendo and the tea ceremony).
My realization of being in Japan started with the tours. The Tohoku tour, Sendai tour, and all of the other city explorations were absolutely phenomenal. I will always remember seeing the before and after shots first hand of the tsunami and earthquake. Being able to go to Rikuzentakata and Ishinomaki really allowed me to experience the effects of the disaster first hand, which was very sad. Still to this day I can say that I feel honored to have been able to stay in Hotel Boyo. The story that the place shares not only is sad, but it is very impactful to us as a youth that is reaching out to Japan. One thing I really enjoyed was being able to explore Sendai. The experience that we had with the people in the shops and all around were very different from any of the tours. There were no instructors, and it was just you and Japan. This really allowed me to enhance my Japanese and experience a more modern culture that we hear about today.
I immediately fell in love with the idea of waking up and just speaking Japanese all day. The whole idea of being fully immersed 24/7 was something that just left me speechless. I fully enjoyed being able to communicate to people working at the Hotel, Institute, any food or shopping Businesses, and just communicating to people on the street to just ask for directions. I love Japanese culture, and the way I experienced everything is something that I will never forget. One day I promise to return to Japan for my future while having the most fun I have ever had, and I can thank all of it to this wonderful program that I was so blessed to have gone on.
To Taylor Anderson
Hello Taylor! All I can say is, we share so many of the same interests, and that stand out so much to me. I too love everything about Japan. I know that you loved being a JET and the impact you made really shaped the people of Ishinomaki. I know that one day I want to follow in your foot steps of being a JET. I want to be able to wake up everyday and know I’m in a place that I love more then anything. Your story of determination with trying to get into JET really gives me motivation to never give up on something. Your story constantly makes me work harder and harder at my Japanese, with the hope that someday I will return. Thank you so much for creating such a large impact on almost anyone who has heard of your name. Your life and story will always stand as a bridge to America and Japan.
To Montgomery Dickson
Hello Monty! You are such a character, your whole life story is so amazing and I really strive to live my life like you did. Your Japanese skills and cultural knowledge were like no other. You truly loved everything about Japan and its people, and that is just like me. Writing this makes me so emotional because I see a lot of myself in you, and that makes me strive even harder for my goals in Japan. The way that you communicated and were known by the people in Rikuzentakata was a life changing experience for almost everyone. You made an impact on all the kid’s lives, and just about everyone in that town. You always wanted the best for others, and the more I think about it, the more it sounds like I’m just talking about who I want to become. You are a perfect role model, and the impact you have left on me is one I will remember everyday.
(P.S. That Tokyo banana video was the best thing I have ever seen!)
“日本文化理解 (Understanding Japanese Culture)”
This is a photo of the Kinkau-ji. The photo stands out to me because, it allows me to understand traditional Japanese culture, in which we were there to adopt and bring back aspects of their history.