Jarid’s first blog post

After witnessing the program presented by the outgoing TOMODACHI program participants, I have started wondering more and more about how well I’ll perform. I mean, doing the workshops and lessons feels like it will be a breeze for me. However, it’s the social aspect that has me a little apprehensive at the moment. When it comes to educational group settings, I’m really cool and collected. I take control of the situation and don’t feel afraid to voice my opinions, because I want to ensure that the work produced is the absolute best it can be. On the other hand, when it comes to group settings outside of work, my social interaction level sort of flat lines.

I was enamored by the idea of making friends across the world and making a positive connection with my host family. When the outgoing TOMODACHI participants talked about their experience, I became very excited. However, now a sense of anxiety has settled at the pit of my stomach. I worry that no one will like me. I guess that’s about as simple as I can put it. I would never describe myself as an interesting person: I don’t go out a lot, sometimes I can go long periods of time without talking. I have some difficulty picking up on social cues, and I have a strange sense of humor. Honestly, I feel like that person in the group who’ll walk behind the group if the sidewalk is too small. Yeah, that would be me. That’s why I’m worried. I feel like people will think I’m weird or too boring. That anxiety still chews at me at the back of my head.

Jarid Shields
Eastern Senior High School

Caitlin’s first blog post

Heyo! So this is my first blog post! It’s a bit weird, writing this all out. I’ve never kept a blog, so I guess we’ll see how this goes! I still can’t believe I’m going to Japan, but I’m so excited to go!

On June 4th, I went to the TOMODACHI presentations, where last year’s participants talked about their experience with the program. I honestly still had a pretty limited knowledge on what we were going to be doing, other than going to Japan, so it really was an eye opening experience. It really makes me look forward to bonding with the other kids (both on the DC and the Japan side) of this program. I’m still really nervous, as I have never left the country and I am still pretty unfamiliar with the people in this program, but nonetheless I am still so so so excited to go to Japan, learn all about the history and culture, and make lots of new friends! (I’m also hoping to see this “rock band” one of the girls talked about, it sounds like something right up my alley.) Thanks for reading!

Caitlin (Caitie) McDermott
School Without Walls

Nina’s first blog post

The participants from last year did an outstanding job at presenting what they learned during their Japan experience. It’s going to be difficult to top them, but I think we can do it! I’m feeling extremely honored and blessed to be in this program because many of our peers don’t have this opportunity. Being in this program is allowing me to wet my feet in international experiences, especially because I want to study abroad and major in international relations/affairs. The part of the presentation that stood out to me was the story about the little girl who was on public transportation by herself late at night. This showed how safe Japan is and how much the natives trust the environment. Because personally, I know my mom doesn’t like me being on public transportation by myself at night and I’m almost 17 years old. I’m most excited for interacting with my host family and seeing how well I can adapt to a totally different environment. I’m honestly not nervous. I am ready to take on this new challenge in my life. So stay tuned!

Nina Reyes
Banneker Academic High School

Andres’s first blog post

I think the presenters of last year’s program did well on delivering their message towards everyone. I know from previous experience that presenting to a large group can be nerve-wracking and it’s not easy to pull off, so I applaud them for doing it. I’m feeling great about being in this program and experience the feeling this program gave to those we saw present last Wednesday. Something that most intrigued me was about the way each student has changed throughout their adventure in Japan. Each unique to their life and that is one thing I hope to achieve as well during my own adventure in Japan. I am most excited about really finding out who I really am as a person and how I will adjust to this new obstacle in my life. What I am most nervous about is stepping out of my comfort zone because I hold it dear to me, but sometimes we have to push the envelope somehow.

Andres Alvarez Jr.
E.L. Haynes Public Charter School

Dusan’s 1st Blog Post

So . . . 1st impressions. I’ve gotten over the initial surge from earning my 1st ticket to Japan, but it’s still a somewhat unbelievable moment. It is hard to explain, but I expected to escape DC. I never expected my 1st journey outward would be out of the country! Call me global, but this is fantastic.

While exuberant for the Japan side of the events, D.C. is still the homebase, and so I wonder just what our schedule looks like for here. Will we learn basic Japanese? What kind of team-building activities will we be participating in? Will there be food? Mos Maxime, how will this experience change us? Simple things really. We’re all here for something, so I hope we gain it and more. Heck, maybe I won’t be as introverted from this!

Time’ll tell though, so for now the expectations are at a middle ground. Till next flight.

Dusan Murray-Rawlings
Washington Latin Public Charter School

Korey’s first blog post

Last night was a fun experience. I was able to see what last year’s group experienced while in Japan. As of right now I feel as though I am very lucky to have been chosen for this program. The thing that interested me most about last night was how when you go into an anime shop every last anime is covered with plastic, so you can’t read them in the store. I am most excited about the homestay portion of the program, where I’ll be staying with another family. The food is the thing I’m most nervous about because of how the alumni all had mixed feelings about the food.

Korey Carter
Friendship Collegiate Academy