Saturday, December 16, 2006

Reflections

It has now been a few months since I have returned from Japan. When I arrived back in America, everything felt so surreal, I told myself to let it all soak in for a while. The funny thing is, not much has changed. It still is surreal. There aren’t many other words to describe what this past summer meant to me. I have documented pictures, tangible gifts... and even a translated health insurance report about my hand, - yet the trip seems too big and too good to be true. To put it in a different perspective, I haven't been too successful at efficiently explaining my trip to friends and family. When people ask me " How was your trip? Tell me ALL about it" it is almost overwhelming. I tell them to ask me questions, smiling, because otherwise it just seems impossible to even start talking about Japan. Even my blog doesn’t cover minute by minute what happened (and I did learn things minute by minute!), it just retrospects the highlights of the day. One of the YFU requirements is to make speeches of your exchange experience when you return to America. I was offered to make a few presentations in my school to groups of faculty, foreign language classes, and social studies classes. When I was preparing a picture slide show, I was worried how I would present it to the audience, and if I had enough content. This worry is now a laughing matter. To put it in perspective, I barely got through my first week of my trip in my hour-long presentations, each time I did them. There is just TOO much to say. In my reflection about Japan, to truly serve it somewhat justice, is to write a book about it (... maybe this is a head start!). Japan has so much to offer. The country is a land of contrasts, and although that is almost cliché now, it is so true. As in old and new, I drove through Fukuoka seeing state of the art buildings right next to ancient shrines. Industrious and natural: Japan may be a technological leader, but it still puts so much emphasis on the natural aesthetic world. Maybe a plate of food delicately placed, a structured tea ceremony, ikebana flower arrangement, or simply a car dealership in an urban landscape backed up to a small family rice paddy can show this. The list of these is endless, that is why it is so hard. The country has a uniqueness of having native traits as well as adapted, borrowed ones. Never in my life thus far have I learned so much, so fast. The great thing is, only parts of these things were Japan specific. They are skills important everywhere. From this experience, I learned that it is just as important to give as to receive. What I mean is that you must teach while you learn. I didn't go to Japan just to learn about the country. I also went there for them to learn, or possibly change their perception of, America. This is what I discovered there. As I learned and fixed my misconceptions about Japan, I also was able to see what the world thinks of America. This alone is an amazing reason to travel abroad. The new perception of the world. I feel myself not making any conclusions in my writings here. This is possibly because this trip was not a timed learning experience. My learning has really only just begun, and new interests have been discovered because of this trip. Of course, I still cannot not express how thankful I am to Organizations like YFU and the JBSD for giving me this opportunity of a lifetime. I also am so thankful for my host family. I feel so lucky; since I truly believe that I received the best host family anyone could ask for. I still keep in contact with them by phone every weekend. This brings up another fact that amazes me still. When we talk on the phone, time flies by. Hour and a half conversations aren't rare. Before this summer I never would have imagined having the ability to talk, fundamentally in Japanese, on the phone for that period of time. I am still very close with my host parents and sisters, as well as ALL the friends I met along the trip, Japanese and American. The bottom line about this trip is that everyone should do something like this. If you have the opportunity to go somewhere, do it. If you have the opportunity to bring someone in to America, do it. I have met some amazing foreign exchange students over the past few years that have come to America, and their excitement and enthusiasm is one reason that influenced me to travel. The world has so much to offer, and I don't think that many people realize that. The connections and lessons that I have learned from this trip have only inspired me further. The experience was a once in a life-time one. There are memories from this that will last forever, and so many different opportunities that will come out of this. My journey has only just begun! Posted by Picasa

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

はじめまして。youtubeからきました。
日本語がとても上手ですね。 日本での留学が良い思い出になったみたいでよかったですね。
次のビデオも楽しみにしてます。
hide from california

Anonymous said...

AMAZING BLOG! YOU SHOULD WRITE A BOOK!

Ms. Brown said...

You have done a wonderful job with this blog. I teach English as a Second Language at an American university and have the pleasure of teaching many Japanese students. You taught me a lot!! Thank you.

Emmy said...

hey my name is Emma-Lee but mostly people just call me Emmy.
i'm from australia, and next year in april i will go to japan for a year as a foreign exchange student.
thankyou for your blog it is exactly what i have been looking for to ease my nerves (well alittle anyway) while reading some of your post i felt nervous and excited... for you and for myself. im glad to see that it is possible and seeing you had so much fun im looking forward to my trip so much more
so domo arigatou =P

nancy. :) said...

You're terribly lucky. How much was all this ?!

Anonymous said...

Hi! we are Kaori and Noriko from Japan. we saw YouTube and your Japanese is very good! We study English near Saga prefecture. we cheer for your studying Japanese!

Anonymous said...

Hello, my name is Loren. I'm from California, and I've been studying Japanese for the past year or so [I'm taking my second year now as a sophomore in High School].
I clicked a link from your comment the yfu-usa website, and found this blog.
I just couldn't stop reading!
I've always wanted to go to Japan, and when my sensei told us about the scholarship program, I immediately planned on applying.
I really hope I have the opportunity like you did to stay there for the summer with a host family.
Well, thank you for writing such an in depth blog; it's only made me want to go more! xD
- Loren

Anna Truong said...

Wow, I was checking YFU's page, and I happened to see a link to your blogspot! Let me tell you, it's been keeping me busy for quite a while now, and I can't seem to settle down. Well, the reason is because earlier this afternoon, I sent in my application for YFU along with my scholarships and whatnot.. :< It seems that you had a great time in Saga Prefecture. I just hope I have a chance of going to experience what you did while you were there!

I'm pretty sure I have tons of questions.. but as of now, nothing pops up.. Thank you for capturing every moment of your time there. Through your words and pictures, I felt like I was there. I must admit, I did cry at the end; just a little.

出張ホスト said...

女性会員様増加につき、当サイトの出張ホストが不足中です。女性の自宅やホテルに出向き、欲望を満たすお手伝いをしてくれる男性アルバイトをただいま募集していますので、興味のある方はTOPページから無料登録をお願いいたします

家出 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
救援部 said...

オ○ニーライフのお手伝い、救援部でHな見せたがり女性からエロ写メ、ムービーをゲットしよう!近所の女の子なら実際に合ってHな事ができちゃうかも!?夏で開放的になっている女の子と遊んじゃおう

逆援助 said...

メル友募集のあそび場「ラブフリー」はみんなの出逢いを応援する全国版の逆援助コミュニティーです!女の子と真剣にお付き合いしたい方も、複数の女性と戯れたい方も今すぐ無料登録からどうぞ

倶楽部 said...

簡単にお小遣い稼ぎをしたい方必見、当サイト逆¥倶楽部では無料登録して女性の性の欲求に応えるだけのアルバイトです。初心者でもすぐに高収入の逆¥交際に興味をもたれた方はTOPページまでどうぞ。

プロフ公開 said...

サイト作成は初めてでぇす。プロフは友達も作ってたので私も頑張って作成しました。プロフもってる人はメル友になって見せ合いっこしませんか?メアドのせてるので連絡ください。love-friend0925@docomo.ne.jp

素人 said...

男性が主役の素人ホストでは、女性の体を癒してあげるだけで高額な謝礼がもらえます。欲求不満な人妻や、男性と出逢いが無い女性が当サイトで男性を求めていらっしゃいます。興味のある方はTOPページからどうぞ

家出 said...

これから家出したい少女や、現在家出中の娘とそんな娘と遊びたい人を繋げるSOS掲示板です。家庭内の問題などでやむなく家出している子が多数書き込みしています。女の子リストを見て彼女たちにメールを送ってみませんか

SM度チェッカー said...

あなたのSM度をかんたん診断、SM度チェッカーで隠された性癖をチェック!真面目なあの娘も夜はドS女王様、ツンデレなあの子も実はイジめて欲しい願望があるかも!?コンパや飲み会で盛り上がること間違いなしのおもしろツールでみんなと盛り上がろう

セフレ said...

男性なら一人くらいは作ってみたいセフレですが、実は女性もいつでもSEXしたいときにできる友達がほしいと思っているのです。そのような彼女たちの欲求を満たしてあげませんか

Marie Midtlid said...

Hi. My name is Marie, and I'm a student journalist at a high school in Indiana. For the next issue of our newspaper I'm writing a story about outbound exchange, and I found your blog! It looks like you've have some awesome stories to tell, and I would love to inspire more people to do exchange programs, because I believe it's so rewarding for the future. I'm an exchange student from Norway, myself, and I'm really passionate about this. I wonder if you would like to answer some questions, about your time abroad? In that case please reply to my e-mail as soon as possible, marie.rm_@hotmail.com, or contact me on my blog: www.liveasamovie.wordpress.com . Thank you. - Marie Midtlid