"KAKEHASHI Project" Invitation: Whitney M. Young Magnet High School (Illinois)

Invitation in July 2013

Short-term stay in Japan: Group 3 (High School Students)
Whitney M. Young Magnet High School, Illinois

Period: July 8 - 18, 2013
Local Visit Destination: Kure City, Hiroshima Prefecture
Number of Participants: 25

Tour Photo Album

Photo of orientation
Orientation

Photo taken at Tokyo National Museum 1 (Studying Japanese history and culture)
Studying Japanese history and culture
(Tokyo National Museum)

Photo taken at Tokyo National Museum 2 (Studying Japanese history and culture)
Studying Japanese history and culture
(Tokyo National Museum)

Photo taken at Senso-ji/Nakamise in Asakusa (Learning about Japanese traditional culture)
Visit to Senso-ji/Nakamise in Asakusa
(Learning about Japanese traditional culture)

Photo of Moving to Hiroshima by a bullet train (Experiencing cutting-edge technologies of Japan)
Moving to Hiroshima by a bullet train
(Experiencing cutting-edge technologies of Japan)

Photo taken at Mazda Museum (Learning about cutting-edge technologies of Japan)
Visit to Mazda Museum
(Learning about cutting-edge technologies of Japan)

Photo of school exchange at Kure National College of Technology 1
School exchange at Kure National College of Technology

Photo of school exchange at Kure National College of Technology 2
School exchange at Kure National College of Technology

Photo of school exchange at Kure National College of Technology 3
School exchange at Kure National College of Technology

Photo of homestay experience
Homestay experience

Photo taken at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum (Learning about Japanese history)
Visit to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
(Learning about Japanese history)

Group photo taken at Meiji Shrine (Learning about Japanese traditional culture)
Visit to Meiji Shrine
(Learning about Japanese traditional culture)

Photo taken at Tokyo Toy Museum (Japanese cultural experience)
Visit to Tokyo Toy Museum
(Japanese cultural experience)

Photo taken at the National Diet Building (Understanding Japanese society)
Visit to the National Diet Building
(Understanding Japanese society)

Group photo taken at DiverCity Tokyo Plaza (Learning about 'Cool Japan')
Visit to DiverCity Tokyo Plaza
(Learning about ‘Cool Japan’)

Photo taken at Miraikan, The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Learning about cutting-edge technologies of Japan)
Visit to Miraikan, The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation
(Learning about cutting-edge technologies of Japan)

Photo of debriefing session 1
Debriefing Session

Photo of debriefing session 2
Debriefing Session

Voices from Participants

1.Having participated in the KAKEHASHI Project, what do you think are Japan’s strengths and attractiveness?

  • Japan’s strength and attractiveness were mostly the people. The people here are so polite and respectful. I enjoyed all the respect I received and gave. I also enjoyed the school system. Being exposed to it even for a couple of hours really convinced me of wanting to start my studies in Japan. The architecture of Japan was also really nice. Both traditional and modern. All the shrines were beautiful and the modern buildings too.
  • Japan’s strength would be its strong ties to ancient culture while constantly adapting to the new age of technology. What makes Japan attractive to outsiders would be the vast amount of different things to do. People can take part in cultural events and enjoy video games, music, anime etc.

2.How do you change your perspective of Japan through the project?

  • Before arriving in Japan, I expected weird food, weird fashion senses and the students that only cared about school and crazy traffic. I had other ideas of Japan, but it’s too long to list. Now, spending eight days in Japan, my perspective of the Japanese is changed nicer and cleaner than that of Americans. It amazed me. This trip was all that I hoped for and more. I thought that I was going to be stuck eating rice and fish every meal, but that was not the case. The food here is absolutely amazing. I was horrified of trying new food, but I’m so glad I did. Japan is dream come true.
  • I saw it as more open, loose, friendly and personable. It really let me see other people on an individual with realistic lenses, and I got to see great things as a result. It was a lot less foreign as I thought it would be, but it was very close to home. The cultural experiences were truly amazing and seeing the tourist sites was fun. It was very different from what I read once I experienced it firsthand here.

3.After returning to the U.S., what aspect(s) of Japan do you want to learn more?

  • I want to learn more about Japanese pop culture other than anime. We didn’t do anything related to sports or music on this trip. Another thing that wasn’t focused on was the education system especially the one of college. Because Japan’s school system is so different, I would have liked to have learned about it more.
  • After returning to the US, I want to learn more about Japan’s ancient history and mythology. I also wish to learn about the Japanese art of drawing manga.

4.It is hoped that you will promote further mutual understanding between our two countries, serving as bridges in the Japan-U.S. relationship. What will you do to deepen understanding of Japan’s strengths and attractiveness?

  • I’m definitely going to stay in touch with my host family. I miss them so much even now only a few days after meeting them. I’m going to very seriously consider studying abroad here, and I’m going to pursue a study of the Japanese language. I want to come back to Japan. However, it’s going to be almost impossible to beat this experience.
  • I will continue my studies of the Japanese language and hopefully be able to show others that Japan isn’t all about games, manga, and anime. I would show people the deep cultural roots that are deeply embedded in everyday life here.

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

  • My favorite part of the KAKEHASHI Project was the homestay. It was amazing how fast I made a connection with my host family. Although it was difficult at times to communicate, we all got through it. The connection I made with several students at KNCT (Kure National College of Technology) and my host student will now drive me to perfect my Japanese as much as possible. I can’t wait to see them again; I plan on going to Japan next year for sure. However I wish the homestay was a little longer! I liked visiting the different shrines because I also noticed how many Japanese participated in the rituals. Even the Japanese youth were synchronized with the steps needed to complete a ritual. In conclusion, I loved Japan and I want to come back next year! The experience is amazing!
  • It was incredible. Absolutely amazing. For many of us, it was life-changing. It’s an experience that can’t be duplicated-I don’t know when else it’ll be able to do so much and meet so many people and experience as much in the span of nine days. It was truly the trip of a lifetime. The only thing I wish I had was more time in general. I’ll never forget this and I’ll work hard in the future to further these excellent experiences and connection with myself and others. To everyone who worked to make this possible, I cannot thank you enough. You’ve really provided such an incredible experience to all of us that will last a lifetime. Thank you, thank you, and thank you.

[Contact Us]

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FAX: +81-(0)3-5369-6042
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