West Bloomfield High School
West Bloomfield, MI
I am very fortunate to have been chosen for this program through the Japan Foundation, Los Angeles. This program was one of the best experiences of my life. I have always had a love for Japan, but this program just solidified my love for it. It even inspired my family to all visit Japan together. Everyone I met in Japan was extremely nice, whether it was a stranger helping us find our way when we were lost in Nara, or the high school students we met in Ishinomaki. Everybody was so friendly, understanding, and excited to learn about us, and they were excited by our excitement! Even if we only knew how to say basic things, every native we talked to encouraged us. They complimented how well we spoke (even if we didn't necessarily think that was true) and were impressed with us. The people of Japan love that a foreigner enjoys their culture and language, and is interested in learning more about the Japanese culture and language. It made me feel more confident and made approaching people and talking to people a lot easier. You didn't have to be good at Japanese, you just had to try.
Before this program I wasn't sure if I wanted to continue studying Japanese in college. I am in the college of education, where you can choose between taking once foreign culture class and getting a Bachelors of Science or taking three semesters of a language for a Bachelors of the Arts. This is the difference between having one more required class and three more required classes so you can see why I was contemplating my decision. But after going to Japan, it solidified my desire to continue studying the Japanese language. It added fuel to the fire that is my quest for learning Japanese. Unfortunately the Japanese class for my fall semester of University was canceled and none of the other classes fit into my schedule, but I am determined to take it second semester and will keep on practicing by myself until then! Thanks to this program I have also become determined to become an ALT in Japan through the JET Program.
I was affected most by most host family and I hope that I affected them too. I told them about how my father was stationed in Japan and about how my brother is very interested in anime and I am very interested in Japanese history. They showed me true kindness and hospitality and improved my already glowing view of Japan and its people. They told me about how important they think studying English is so I hoped I inspired them to keep studying it. I know that they made me want to continue learning Japanese. I continue to tell my friends all the amazing stories I acquired in Japan; I hope they aren't getting bored of me! But I love to tell everyone, friends, family, frenemies, all about the JET Program and how amazing it is. I love to inform people about JET and becoming and ALT because I think it is such an awesome thing that everybody should at least have the chance to know about it if not participate in the program. I know I want to participate.
Dear Taylor and Monty,
Thank you for having been and continuing to be a bridge between America and Japan. I am so thankful to you for being able to participate in this program. You two continue to inspire me both in regards to my relationship with Japan and in my everyday life. Monty, it was clear that you had a great personality and sense of humor, watching the video you made about Tokyo Bananas was so bittersweet, it was so funny, but it saddened me to know that I would never be able to see you anymore. Taylor, your dedication and spirit inspired me to continue studying Japanese. You two give me strength and let me know that I can do it. I can become good at Japanese, I can go to Japan, I can go teach in Japan, I can get out of bed each day and continue to live life to the fullest. Thank you.
This is a picture of matcha from the sadou; it was taken at East Sendai High School. Sadou is the tea ceremony and matcha is green tea powder. We got the chance to watch the ceremony and make tea ourselves. The ceremony was beautiful and the tea was both delicious and extremely hard to make.