January, 2015: Breeze Issue #87

A Free Monthly E-Newsletter for Friends of Japan & Teachers of Japanese

Gwenyth Nicoloro

Brien McMahon High School
Norwalk, CT

This summer I had the most enjoyable and memorable time during the JET-MIP program in Japan. Before the program started, even though I have studied and researched about 3.11, I didn't fully understand all the information I have read. I felt great sympathy for all the victims, but also felt powerless to help out. However, after eighteen days in Japan I have experienced and saw all influences and effects in Japan and Japanese people. I have also learned different ways to help rebuild Japan and make strong friendship with Japanese people. I am very proud and honored be a member of the fourth generation of the JET-MIPpers.

Everything we did in Japan was so unique and pleasant that those memories will live in my 心 (heart) forever. I want to send special thanks to all the staff members in Japan Foundation and everyone who helped out to make this program possible. With all of your hard work, you have made changes in my life. And I will pass down this power and strength to other people to make our friendship stronger. In Japan, I was amazed how organized everything was! I loved all the healthy meals we got everyday. Especially those side dishes, they were so delicious! I love all the classes and my teachers. They helped me a lot to improve my Japanese. I love my comfortable room. It has everything I needed. And the Karaoke room gives us space to relax and bond with friends. All of the above made me feel like I was at home when I was in the institute. Hence, I got institute-sick when I am in United States. I am very grateful to have a home like the Kansai institute.

This program has encouraged me so much to continue study Japanese. I have been studying Japanese for three years. In those three years I had to go through some struggles to learn the language. Although I realized those tough times were all worth it when I was in Japan. I felt all my hard work in school gave me feedback, because I am able to have conversations with my host family, teachers, and native speakers. It allowed us to connect with another country. For example, we made friends that are college students from Thailand. Since we moved in Kansai institute one week earlier than them, we showed them around town. And biked to Aeon mall and went shopping together. Because we don't know each other’s first language. They can't speak English. We can't speak Thai. Therefore, Japanese became our common language to communicate with each other. While I only had three years of Japanese, I was surprised that I can make friends from other countries. It really cheered me up to learn the language and made me realized the importance to keep studying Japanese. Through this program I learned many lessons throughh my experience: with three years of Japanese I am able to do some simple conversations and make new friends. I am so glad I studied Japanese, but this is only a start. I am not satisfied with these successes. I want to learn more about the language and culture. In the future I want to go back to Japan to visit more places, my family, and friends I made. I want to be part of JET program like Tayler Anderson and Montgomery Dickson.

Even though we experience the same event, we might have had different reactions. When we visited the elementary school at Ishinomaki, I was very thankful to see smiling faces in the fourth grade class with had exchanges with. I understand they have gone through a lot of emotions the past four years. I felt very honored they opened their heart for us and chose to move on to a bright future. While I shared Edo San's story and Tayler Anderson's family messages with my family and friends. They all felt deep grief for their lost, and astonished the courage and strength they have. Their love and support didn't diminish as they lost their love ones. This message is a role model for life.

To Tayler and Monty: after experiencing what you experienced, I understood why you enjoyed being a member of JET, and why you are so important to us and your memory will forever be with us. I am so proud of what you did. The “bridge” you started to build between Japan and United States, is respected by everyone. And we will continue your path to make this “bridge” stronger and wider. Tayler, I told your Dad “Thank you for having a daughter like Tayler. And sorry we had lost her!” He said, “ I am glad some good things have come out from it.” Then I realized it's you that brought us all together and encourage us to learn more. Thank you for being around us and letting us make thirty-one new best friends that I will have forever. In Japan I learned this proverb “いちごいちえ”, this adventure is a“once life long experience” for me, but I will make sure I will return to Japan in the future. 


Nippon Through My Eyes Photo Submission

Tohoku GO!GO!!Go!!!

Shopping for souvenir for my family is one of the ways I can show a little of my support for the Tohoku region. And I am glad to do it.