"KAKEHASHI Project" Invitation: Westside High School (Texas)

Invitation in July 2013

Short-term stay in Japan: Group 2 (High School Students)
Westside High School, Texas

Period: July 1 – 11, 2013
Local Visit Destination: Kobe City, Hyogo Prefecture
Number of Participants: 14

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 Shin-Kobe by a bullet train (Experiencing cutting-edge technologies of Japan)
Moving to Shin-Kobe by a bullet train
(Experiencing cutting-edge technologies of Japan)

Photo taken at Disaster Reduction and Human Renovation Institution  (Learning about disaster prevention and reduction)
Visit to Disaster Reduction and Human Renovation Institution
(Learning about disaster prevention and reduction)

Photo of courtesy call at Kobe City Hall
Courtesy call at Kobe City Hall

Photo of School exchange at Kobe City College of Technology (Japanese calligraphy experience)
School exchange at Kobe City College of Technology
(Japanese calligraphy experience)

Photo of school exchange at Kobe City College of Technology (Solar car experience)
School exchange at Kobe City College of Technology
(Solar car experience)

Photo of school exchange at Kobe City College of Technology (Japanese tea ceremony experience)
School exchange at Kobe City College of Technology
(Japanese tea ceremony experience)

Photo of school exchange at Kobe City College of Technology (Kendo experience)
School exchange at Kobe City College of Technology
(Kendo experience)

Photo of homestay experience
Homestay experience

Photo talen at Minatogawa Shrine (Learning about Japanese traditional culture  of the local area)
Visit to Minatogawa Shrine
(Learning about Japanese traditional culture  of the local area)

Photo taken in Kobe City (Learning about Japanese local industries)
Visit to Kobe City
(Learning about Japanese local industries)

Photo taken at Meiji Shrine (Learning about Japanese traditional culture)
Visit to the 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 in Akihabara (Learning about 'Cool Japan')
Visit to Akihabara
(Learning about ‘Cool Japan’)

Photo taken in Harajuku (Learning about 'Cool Japan')
Visit to Harajuku
(Learning about ‘Cool Japan’)

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

Photo taken at Mega Web, Toyota City Showcase (Learning about cutting-edge technologies of Japan)
Visit to Mega Web, Toyota City Showcase
(Learning about cutting-edge technologies of 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
Debriefing Session

Voices from Participants

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

  • Due to their innovations coupled with the preservation of their rich art and history, the culture is vibrant and multifaceted. There is something for everyone: food, museums, theme parks, natural parks, malls, etc. Not only that, but the people themselves are enough to pull people back to visit. After all, they are kind, imaginative, and incredibly generous people.
  • Japan is resilient when it comes to earthquake recovery. Having visited to Disaster Reduction and Human Renovation Institution in Kobe, I am amazed at the way Japan has recovered in a short period of time. Japan is also welcoming; our school, our host families, and the places we visited made lots of efforts to make our trip comfortable. Japan is very diligent and kind. Not once when I went to this place did I feel unwelcome. Also, Japan is very clean. Trash is rarely found around sidewalks, even though they utilize it often.

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

  • My previous notions of the Japanese people were shattered. Instead of serious and stern, I met smiling, friendly people, some even cracking jokes all the time. I also thought I’d visit Japan only once, but there is so much I want to do or repeat, I want to return many times in the future. I’m even considering studying/living here, thanks to the school visit and homestay.
  • I expected everything in Japan to be very cultural or full of manga and anime. Instead of that Japan is a well-rounded country full of all kinds of wonderful sites.

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

  • I want to learn more of the language and their methods of hard work and team work.
  • I would love to deepen my understanding of the Japanese language with my time I spent in Japan. The people around me (my host family, coordinator, tour guides, etc.) worked very hard to speak English so that we were comfortable and had a better understanding. So  improving my Japanese will be returning the favor when I return to Japan one day.

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?

  • To deepen my understandings of Japan’s strengths, I would like to broaden my bond between the Japanese friends I have made and ask them more about their culture.  Perhaps through getting a native person’s point of view, it would facilitate the common and uncommon factors in which US and Japan share. Therefore, the strong points of Japan will be seen more clearly.
  • I will share my personal experiences on social media sites, tell my peers about my Japanese adventures, and spread the culture by involving it in my daily life.

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

  • This opportunity has changed my way of thinking when it comes to my country. How I could better improve my country and my peers in it. It has made me think of the way my country could improve from learning from Japan’s way of life. I have also rethought my future and how I could include more of Japan in it. Our guide and my host family opened my eyes to a new future that I could make for myself and my country.
  • This KAKEHASHI Project helped me greatly understand the culture of Japan. I had so much fun meeting brand new people while trying to somehow communicate through the language barrier. The people here are so kind, and trustworthy! The food was amazing learning about a new meal every day with the struggle of trying to master using chopsticks. The temples or shrines were the best part getting to learn about all the different gods, and methods of praying and all the things they do. I enjoyed this project a lot. I don’t regret a single thing about it. I thank the Japanese government for granting me this opportunity and allowing me this chance to meet such a new and unique culture, adding places to the bridge.

[Contact Us]

TEL: +81-(0)3-5369-6022
FAX: +81-(0)3-5369-6042
E-mail: infokakehashi@jpf.go.jp
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