"KAKEHASHI Project" Iwaki Student Council President Summit (Fukushima)

Dispatch in November 2013

Group 2 (Junior and Senior High School Students and University Students)
Iwaki Student Council President Summit (Fukushima)

Period: November 1 - 14, 2013
Local Visit Destination: Elkins Pointe Middle School (Georgia)
Number of Participants: 25

Tour Photo Album

Photo of Orientation in the U.S. (Presentation practice)
Orientation in the U.S.
(Presentation practice)

Photo of JETAA Chicago (Presentation)
JETAA Chicago
(Presentation)

Photo of The Japan America Society of Chicago (Presentation)
The Japan America Society of Chicago
(Presentation)

Photo of School exchange at Jane Addams Junior High School (Presentation) 1
School exchange at Jane Addams Junior High School
(Presentation)

Photo of School exchange at Jane Addams Junior High School (Presentation) 2
School exchange at Jane Addams Junior High School
(Presentation)

Photo of School exchange at Elkins Pointe Middle School (Welcome ceremony)
School exchange at Elkins Pointe Middle School
(Welcome ceremony)

Photo of School exchange at Elkins Pointe Middle School 1
School exchange at Elkins Pointe Middle School

Photo of School exchange at Elkins Pointe Middle School 2
School exchange at Elkins Pointe Middle School

Photo of School exchange at Elkins Pointe Middle School (Exchange meeting)
School exchange at Elkins Pointe Middle School
(Exchange meeting)

Photo of Celestial Seasonings Factory (Learning about local industry)
Celestial Seasonings Factory
(Learning about local industry)

Photo of Visit to Lookout Mountain (Learning about local nature)
Visit to Lookout Mountain
(Learning about local nature)

Photo of Departure from Denver International Airport
Departure from Denver International Airport

Voices from Participants

1. What impressed you most in this experience of promoting the charms of Japan in the U.S.?

  • The homestay made the biggest impression on me. At first, I clammed up because I didn't know what to do at home. But my host family talked to me a lot about America, so that I could finally open up and talk about Japan, Fukushima Prefecture, and Iwaki City. They also told me the details about table manners and how to interact with other Americans. I was able to learn a lot about the United States, which made it a wonderful homestay.
  • Our group made presentations on Kinkakuji, Ginkakuji, Mt. Fuji, rice, and the Star Festival. I was happy that the American audience listened intently to our presentations with a great interest in our talk. We realized that the more presentation we made, the more confidence we gained. Each of us took various measures to make his/her presentation easy to understand such as paying attention to his/her own English intonation as well as using hand gestures. This is also a happy memory that I cherish.

2. What would you like to pass on to people in your community and school after you return to Japan?

  • I was able to gain a better understanding of communication through my homestay experience. What is important for communication is my willingness and expression to communicate something regardless of the language difference. What I think will not be delivered to others until I have a desire to communicate it. Mainly, I'd like to talk about this and then mention other things such as different kinds of food and cultural differences between America and Japan.
  • Americans all have a strong will of their own. School rules that American students follow are completely different from those of Japan. Even being in a free environment, they can behave in a disciplined manner and actively participate in class activities. They go to bed early, so no one sleeps during school hours. It seems to me that many Japanese students are passive, so I'd like to tell people how much Americans are engaged in class activities and enjoy their school life.

3. Please freely describe your experience in the KAKEHASHI Project.

  • Before participating in this project, the image of the United States that I had was just a scary place. But once I got there, I could have a lot of fun, so I learned that you cannot judge anything without experience. At the orientation meeting our teacher told us that if we wanted to communicate, people would understand us. To be honest, I didn't really believe in it at first, but I was surprised when American people actually did understand us even though the language we speak is different from theirs. I'm very grateful to my teachers and all the people who supported the project and helped me realize these things.
  • Most of the things that I witnessed and knew through this project were what I experienced for the first time in my life. So I was confused from time to time, but I could manage to get through the challenges that I faced. Thanks to the support and cooperation of many people including the tour guides who helped us travel safe and the teachers who led us, we were able to finish our two-week trip without any problems. I won't forget the events of these two weeks and would like to get more experience and work hard in order to show leadership in many fields in the future.

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