Shige’s Final Reflection

About a month before this program started, the alumni manager of TOMODACHI recommended me to participate in it. I was very glad to be able to get the chance to talk about Tohoku with the students who don’t come from Tohoku, and also to be able to visit DC to understand American culture. I actually got new perspectives and takeaways as well as other students. However to be honest, if I only participated in this program, there must be tons of things that I couldn’t get well because I couldn’t connect the takeaways I got to my real life. What I learned were just about Tohoku and DC, so I couldn’t understand them deeper like ‘It is necessary for us/me to take leadership.’ I know, but what is the leadership? Does leadership just mean passing down things or spread the knowledge we got?

After I got back to Japan, I had a chance to be a speaker in a speech competition and the speech must be related to international understanding. My topic was the importance of taking leadership for younger generation. My teacher told me to participate in it after my summer vacation, and the content of last presentation came up to my mind. Passing down what happened and what we learned, and take leadership in next generation. It was not only about Tohoku, wars and something sad, but also many other things.

I myself have an experience to be bullied just because I was a Chinese. I also have a friend who hopes to solve the aging problems. We are always thinking about some big happening to take an action, but there were tons of things we should take a leadership and solve. If I was asked what the social entrepreneur is, I’ll answer like it’s the spirit to take action even if it can only make small influence. I cannot say some decent things but when I look back to this program, and consider what I can do as a student, I think it is just bring interest in a lot of social issues and think what I can do. There was a person I’ve met who is working hard to solve LGBT issue, and she made a comment to high school students: ‘It is a hard and admirable thing to hold a big conference and impress 300 people, but if you talk to 1 person everyday, you’ll be able to impress the same number of people as holding a big C conference.’

I was strongly impressed by the people who try their best to make their dreams come true through this program. I’d like to do what I can, what I hope, what I am needed to do in my high school life.

Shigetatsu Nishigai
Sendai Nika High School

Jarid’s Final Reflection

I remember back when I was applying for the TOMODACHI program that I wrote an essay about my desire to gain a broader scope of knowledge about a culture that I’ve come to love over the years, and that I can only learn so much from the pages of books and from behind the screen of a computer. You know, admiring a culture from the comforts of your own home is ENTIRELY different from actually visiting the origin of that culture and being completely immersed in it.

Well, I guess that’s pretty obvious; however, there were things about Japanese culture that really surprised me. For example, one of the observations that I made while walking around in the urban areas of Japan was that the buildings were very narrow and very tall. This is very different from the buildings here in America, which are very wide and short. This brought me to the conclusion that the Japanese are very conscious about space and how much they use. This is also apparent in the way people sit on public transit– with their bags in there laps, making sure that they leave the seat(s) next to them open for someone else to sit. I think this also differs from America because when I use the bus or train in DC, I put my bag in the seat next to me if I can. I also came to the conclusion that the Japanese were also very particular about energy conservation and their environmental footprint. While in Japan, I couldn’t help but notice that there were a great deal of vending machines (they are LITERALLY EVERYWHERE!). Right next to the vending machines would be about two or three recycling bins which you would throw empty cans or bottles in depending on the type of container that they came in (PET bottles,cans, etc.). There were even waste baskets for bottle caps specifically! There were a lot of times that I wanted to weigh the pros and cons of Japanese culture and American culture simultaneously to mentally decide which one was better overall. However, I had to also keep in mind the mental mantra of, “It’s not better, or worse, just different” to prevent me from coming to those conclusions.

There were things that I expected to like (Akiba culture, the nice tourist-y spots, etc.) and things I expected to have issues adjusting to (the food, being away from home). It took me a while to get used to some things; however, I feel like I have been able to grow as a person from this experience and that my self-confidence has grown a considerable amount.

Yes folks, Jarid Shields can finally smile in a photo without looking like a total maniac!

(I’m kidding of course.)

On a more serious note I feel like I’ve gained more confidence in my ideas and have become more open with expressing my feelings and opinions. I think all the group reflections and discussions benefited me greatly, because they were always assured to be safe environments for people to speak their minds, even if they were touchy subjects like race or politics regarding our respective countries. I’m not as afraid to speak the thoughts that come to my mind. I’ve realized that I have a purpose and so do my ideas.

Also, although I didn’t catch the travel bug, as I know many of my fellow TOMODACHI members have (I am very much still a homebody), I feel a little more at ease at the idea of traveling and experiencing other cultures up close and personal.

Being in this program has also helped me to understand my own culture a bit as well. It was interesting to hear the thoughts and opinions of the Japanese students when we talked about America’s mix of cultures. I’ve never been more aware of the fact that I grew up in such a diverse community until I heard the comments of those that look upon modern day American society with fresh eyes. It’s made me have to go back and assess the things that I seem to take for granted day to day – from larger things like the benefits of interactive school curriculums and cultural diversity, to smaller things like the types/brands of products we buy and use and even the music we listen to. America seems so much more varied than it initially did before this program.

Being able to share a part of who I am and where I live with someone from another country, whether it be food, music, or even slang, was fun! And being able to experience the everyday culture of another country was fun as well. I feel like both the American and Japanese students have built a stronger bond because both groups were able to taste a little bit of each group’s everyday life, if only a little bit.

The TOMODACHI program has been a huge benefit for me and my new friends and I hope that the friendships and knowledge that we all gained throughout this entire journey will only strengthen and grow over time.

Jarid Shields
Eastern SHS

Dusan: Reflections from across the ocean

“Ichi-go, Ichi-e”

As I graduated from a simple observer into a storyteller from these experiences in this program, every moment was a reflection. Each metro journey was a new realization, with a different perspective on common issues, ideas, and thoughts. Each place visited offered an insight that dared to break stereotypes and misconceptions on Japan that we had, and that helped us discover more about ourselves. Each story heard was like a new light in our night skies, fireworks that made our minds that much wider, and that unified us. I want to talk about some of my realizations, now that this life-changing book is on its final few pages.

I realized, first, and funny enough, that what I think I know of the world and its people is NOTHING, because I’ve actually experienced so little of it. Watching world events unfold on, say, CNN or the Internet, will never match actually being in those places. As Dan Davidson once said to me, “You can’t really understand someone until you can live a day in their life”, and that empathetic saying is the perfect cover to describe my experience in Japan. Living in a homestay in the suburbs of Tokyo, going to a triple-disaster affected region and talking to its people to hear their stories – ALL of their stories, not just the disaster-ones – eating good food and laughing with friends, as songs filled with happiness and a joyful future flutter into the night sky of a community fractured still in a town still rebuilding…I reiterate: You know nothing about the world until you can actually experience it, with all of its people, acknowledging your biases and putting them in a backseat. Once I realized that, the experience really became something special.

I realized what it takes to be a true leader, a wolf at the head of its pack. There are three main factors: Incredible inner strength and faith, grit in the face of disaster, and the ability to sacrifice for what you believe in. One can say all they want they have what it takes to be a leader, that they could start their own business and write their own story, that they could easily recover from a disaster. I know I used to put on that false front, ‘till we met three figures that tore down what I thought of as leadership: Jin Sato, Rock Newman, and Andy Shallal. These three, coming from three different walks of life, all define it. Jin Sato becoming a mayor of a town newly destroyed, Rock Newman constantly fighting racial adversity in America as a Black man with the appearance of a white man, and Andy Shallal coming from Iraq to America & founding Busboys and poets. They embodied inner strength, the grit it takes to lead your own story, and the ability to sacrifice for what you believe, and I know I never would have gotten their experiences had I not done TOMODACHI.

I realized that out of every disaster can come opportunity, with the effort of a diligent mind. When I visited the city of Ishinomaki and walked through the “scenic route” – where we saw firsthand destroyed homes, empty foundations, piles of garbage and lost possessions intertwined with an air of defeat – it reminded me of the apathy that is seen in the ghettos and impoverished parts of America, especially in D.C. Yet, the comparisons became hopeful, after we were introduced to two local groups doing what they could to bring beauty back to their homes: Ishinomaki 2.0 and Kagikakko Café (Kagikakko was started by High Schoolers, and is successful. I was taken aback.) These groups realized that as the old days were gone, taken away, so came a new day where they could appreciate what they took for granted and, as such, reimagine their lives and work to create a new opportunity for themselves. That spirit to always move forward caused a tremendous shift in my cynical worldview. Even the people at the lowest of times can make opportunity for themselves, so what’s my excuse? Why couldn’t I make a change?

But my final realization began to form after our visit to IDEO Tokyo and our last days together in D.C., and that is this: It takes little steps in your community first to make a big change in your world. Now, this sounds almost far-fetched, but think: If every ghetto, every disaster-destroyed community, every part of a bad area, could take or were given the little steps needed to persevere and climb above their negative circumstances, a world where we could all live close to true happiness could be a possibility. It all starts with the little steps though. For me, that little step is education, but I am not just talking a school education. I’m talking about educating people about different ideas, about different perspectives, about different experiences outside of the norm or the comfort zone. I’m talking about fostering creativity in the youth of our communities so that they can grow up to make the changes we couldn’t make happen, happen. I sure know I wouldn’t be saying any of this if it weren’t for me being able to escape America for some time, and many others like me hold the same sentiment, such as my now close friends K.Y. and S.M. For me, I realized that community is the key, but the community must first be educated on how it can be a unified force of positive change. Without the community, there is no tree. With the community though, a thousand cherry blossoms can bloom. It all starts with the little steps of watering and nurturing the community to become something great, by actively being a part of it and working for not just your own, but for its greater good.

So now, it’s time to close this book and place it on my forever growing mental bookshelf. I do not know what the future holds for me, except that it is something great, and I wholeheartedly thank everyone and everything that was part of this experience for me. Each of these realizations, and the ones not mentioned, are only the leaves stemming from the roots this program has grown in me, and as the future goes on, I look back leaving a message to two. For the TOMODACHI family I have now: Though we may walk many different paths, we still walk side by side in our shared hopes, dreams, and experiences, and where that path leads…well, it’s a victory no matter how far we have to walk. Thank you for making me believe I can become something great again, that I can do something to make the future well. For all future participants: I know not of what your experience may do for you, but just remember: Ichi-go, Ichi-e – One life, one meeting. Whatever you make of your experience is up to you, but don’t forget the lessons you’ll learn and the amazing people you’ll meet from this. I know that I won’t. So, until the next book…

Dusan Murray-Rawlings
Washington Latin Public Charter School

N.Y.’s Final Reflection

First, I apply for this program to improve my English skills. However, the program’s aim was not for English. I really feel this from visiting Touhoku. I won’t forget the impact of my first sight of the disaster area and what I thought; isn’t this good for nature? If humans weren’t living on the earth then nature would be strong. However, I learned that coexist of human and nature is possible if human care of nature. Also what I learned was high schooler’s power. We met many high school students who were going to some action. I thought, we shouldn’t think our power is weak and be passive. We can make an action and it can be a strong power.

In America, we think deeply about various discriminations. I had never thought deeply about that theme because it is not so big problem in Japan. The one thing that I learned was we shouldn’t persist in slanted image. We can think that every problem of discriminations happened because of the bad image about each race. Also there were some times that I realize that even if I thought I know about it, there are many information which I had never known. I felt my innocent and thought, I should have various perspectives in myself.

Last, to be honest, I was thinking my low English skill is my inferiority. There are many situations that I couldn’t follow what a person says, couldn’t understand the meanings, and couldn’t tell exactly what I want to say. However, all the people who I met were so kind. Some Japanese students translated for me and some DC students explain for me in other easy words. Many people took communication for me. Thanks to everyone, I felt very comfortable when I was with the member of TOMODACHI. I think I was demanding of perfection to my English. I wanted to speak correct English and that’s why I couldn’t open my mouth. However, what we really need is not perfection. Although it is not perfect English, if one really tried to tell what him want to tell, everyone will understand. I used to think that language is people’s ability, however it is just a tool.

I felt people’s kindness and warmth during this program. TOMODACHI member became more than friend and like my family. TOMODACHI is one of my comfort zones. If I have a chance, I want to go back there and want to solve many problems in the world. My biggest takeaway is “believe others and believe myself”. What I think is not wrong. There are some cases that my thinking differs from other people but that is not good or bad, just different. I believe that admitting the difference and cooperation with everyone in the world can make our world much more better place in the future. I want to say thank you for all the people who made me a member of TOMODACHI and people who I met during this program. We will make the future.

N.Y.
Keio Shonan Fujisawa Senior High School

H.S.’s Final Reflection

There are so many things I learnt during this program, but I can definitely say one of them is the importance of a community. This topic was also the part I took for the final presentation in DC. I didn’t know that a single person is like nothing, too weak to change something that will make the world a better place. Like Andy Shallal in DC said, we are like ants. Unconsciously, we need someone else’s help to live everyday. We are being helped every time we do something, and I think it is important to know that you are always getting help from someone. I think we can all do something to make someone feel happy, and bring something that will delight the community that you belong to. I learnt that everyone in the community has to speak up to make the group better, and I will try harder to tell my opinions out loud, not just complaining but also trying to give the solution. Not only adding the potentials of the people, but a community can multiply all the potentials of the members. It can fill up the weaknesses, by helping each other. And communities can get connected with the people outside, and form a bigger community. I will try to become friends with people outside my community, to make a bigger network that will expand our possibilities. These are my takeaways about “community”.

The next thing would be about appreciation. In Japan, we went to the Tohoku region, the devastated area attacked by the tsunami. Whoever we met, the people there kept saying they were appreciating the people outside their region for helping and sending supplies that saved their lives. Also, they didn’t blame the nature for the tsunami, but they were admitting that it couldn’t be helped and they appreciated the nature for helping their lives. I was surprised to hear this, because I hadn’t thought about the things we get from the nature everyday, and I was shocked to know that I had never truly appreciated the nature. This is deeply connected with the topic “community” that I’ve explained about earlier. We always have to thank the people, not only thanking in our heart, but we have to show them the appreciation by doing something for a return.

I’ve also learnt about diversity in this small planet. Since we are all brought up in different ways and in different environment, we all have a different answer for a single question. Our opinions are all different and unique, which makes us all special and needed. I think I learnt the importance of listening to people, and comparing the other people’s opinions with my own, and see why the differences were made. I have more interests in Japanese culture, and also the other countries’, because the cultures are one of the biggest diversity that was formed.

These are my big takeaways from this program. I will make these lessons useful for my life, and will think further about them. Not alone, but I will seek the answers for my questions with my friends I made during the program, the “Tomodachi Family”.

H.S.
Keio Shonan Fujisawa Senior High School

Korey’s Final Reflection

It’s hard to put into words how I feel about this summer, but the best way I can describe it is amazing. I did something that I could have never done if it wasn’t for this program, I traveled to another country with six amazing people. I got to hear one of the most unique languages in the world for two and a half weeks straight, I even ended up learning some Japanese, which makes me wonder just how much more can I learn. I even got to stay with an awesome family that welcomed me with open arms, like I was one of their own. They cooked great food some of which I could have back here in the States with me but I can’t because no one I know can cook Japanese food like Yuki’s mom. Yuki is one of the kindest people I have ever met, he would go out of his way to look out for me and make sure everything is going well and that I’m adjusting to life in Japan well. Even though we aren’t related by blood I feel like he’s my brother and always will be now and forever.

In Tokyo, we saw all kinds of new and amazing things from new foods like Monja or Udong Noodles to Yokohama’s love for Pikachu. Everywhere you go in Yokohama there would be something that has Pikachu on it whether it was buildings or fans there was always a Pikachu. I got to travel to the Tohoku region where I stayed on a farm and climbed a mountain and took pictures on giant boulders and went net fishing on a boat with some of my friends from Japan and D.C. One thing that shocked me the most about the Tohoku region was that I never felt that at peace before in my life. There were rolling hills with beautiful trees and there was forest for as far as the eye could see.

On the DC side of the program, we went to visit a lot of different important people and organizations but we also got to have fun and do things together with one another. We went sightseeing, walked on the Mall, and even looked into the economic gap in D.C. It was kind of weird at first when we came back to DC because even though I was able to have some American food again I still missed Japan. Watching Yuki and the other Japanese kids move around in D.C. was funny. On the first day S.M. said “you guys’ subways look so scary” and Andres said “we don’t got ads and pretty color, we got rust” and all of us were laughing about it for the whole day. Being with everyone opened my eyes to the world and just how beautiful it truly is.

I could never forget the people I met, everyone was unique in some way, we all had something different we brought to this experience and that what made it work so well. Even though there were moments, where something controversial would come up and talk about a touchy subject, I think it made us grow closer as a family. I can honestly say that this is the best summer of my life and that no matter what happens I have to go back to Japan to see my family again.

Korey Carter
Friendship Collegiate Academy

Andres’s Final Reflection

The Tomodachi US-Japan Exchange program has been one of my best experiences in my life. So many new gates have opened up for me with my new developed interests and making distant friends, but who are always close to my heart. Getting to have this experience early on in my life made me realize that If I can go this far now, I can go even farther in the future.

Applying to the program was my first obstacle, then was the interview. I happily succeeded in both and my last obstacle was adjusting to Japan along with making friends. I met great people who dedicate themselves to their studies as well as taking these strange American students into their home. It must have been awkward and tough the first few days but as we got to know each other we weren’t so different from each other.

Including the immersing of Japanese Culture, we learned much more about the Disaster of 2011. It was on the news but I think the whole story wasn’t shown all the way and being there firsthand created a whole new perspective of the whole thing. I didn’t feel grief, sadness or disappointment when I saw it on Television. But when I got there those emotions poured out.

I strongly believe that more help is needed for the damaged cities. But I also commend the leaders and citizens of the cities for sticking with it and continuing to reconstruct and keep moving forward. It is a tough thing to be there after four years, and that is seen by their reflection. But they thrive to keep their community alive and happy.

Learning about the citizen’s stories made me think: What can outsiders do for these people in need? But I soon come to realize as young leaders of the future, the only available thing is to tell their stories to the world. To advocate for them in hard to reach places. And that is what we will do.

Reflecting on this trip made me want to go back, and soon, to better understand the people directly within their language. I want to immerse myself with Japanese Culture and understand the differences from my own, already mixed, culture. To give a helping hand to a wounded, but not destroyed, place that was and still is considered home to many people.

I want to appreciate the donors and sponsors for the program for giving me this opportunity to travel and learn a new culture and understand a current ongoing issue that needs attention from everyone. I want to thank the chaperones for being there when we were in need and lightening the mood. I would like to thank all our host siblings and their parents for having open arms for us as if they were our own here in the U.S..

Thank you everyone for giving me this opportunity! Arigato Gozaimasu!

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

Y.A.’s Final Reflection

As I talked in the presentation, I strongly felt the power of standing up and not being a bystander and do not keep silent through this program. The idea –“not being a bystander”, which I got through this program – is of course a message from the Holocaust and police brutality in US. DO NOT, NEVER REPEAT THE TRAGEDY. The message directly jumped into my heart and mind that any other thoughts have blown away, I felt I even forgot how to breathe. It was so heavy and it took me almost one month to understand the idea and fit it in my mind. I also link “not keeping the silence” not only in police brutality or holocaust, but also in much more normal situation. In discussion or talking with other people, we need to speak up to tell them what ideas we got. This is a key of being a global citizen and being a leader.

Through this program, I saw tons of tragedy, people or nature made, but I have never actually looked at the tragedy before, I always learned on a desk with textbook even the Hiroshima A-bomb. I have never been to Hiroshima and actually see what happened. Surely, I have NEVER seen the Holocaust museum, and what has actually happened in Great East Japan earthquake. The tragedy caused by a man, and the tragedy caused by the nature. The causes are different, but one thing I would say these have in common. They killed people.

The word “kill” is also the NEW word I relearned through this program. Only this four “k”, “i”, “l”, “l” characters contain a person’s life, or it could be people’s lives. I am sure everyone knows the word “kill” and everyone knows the meaning of it. I knew it, too. But since I visited Tohoku, Hiroshima exhibition and the Holocaust Museum, I cannot use the word “kill” that easily. There are “kill” everywhere when I read a newspapers, there are “kill” everywhere when I watch TV. I think I could understand the meaning even if it’s not enough. To be a global citizen, I believe I need to know what has actually happened in the world. To be a global citizen, I believe what it really means. To be a global citizen, I believe how heavy the word is.

At the last, I would like to thank you for everyone gave us opportunities to learn and supported us. American Councils, US-Japan Council, Sally Schwartz, Sosha Mitsunaga, thank you for making this program the best and flows without any troubles. Clarence and Shinobu, thank you for leading us all the time and supporting us. Keio Shonan-Fujisawa High school and my parents, thank you for giving me a great opportunity. Thank you everyone we met in this program for making this much more valuable. Finally, thank you TOMODACHI for let me meet the other members and gave me the great summer.

Y.A.
Keio Shonan Fujisawa Senior High School

Caitie’s Final Reflection

The TOMODACHI U.S-Japan Youth Exchange Program of 2015 has been a life altering experience. I came into this program unsure of what I wanted to gain. Yes, I knew I like Japanese culture and wanted to visit, and I was generally interested in learning more about the earthquake and tsunami that occurred, but I don’t think I realized just how vast of an impact this program would have on me.

One of the things I gained from this program that was truly unexpected was a growing interest in foreign relations, and the study of recovery from natural disasters. Going to Japan, specifically the Tohoku region, and getting to experience and start to understand the strength of these people was heart warming, heart breaking, and moving beyond words. I can try to explain what it was like to hear these people’s stories, to see photos and then see the disaster zones where the photos were taken. I can try to capture the utter devastation for you, and more importantly the sense of hope for the future, but I can promise you that I would not be able to do it justice. The power these seemingly “ordinary” people hold became something that grew more and more deep the more I heard their stories. They inspired me to want to make a change in not just my local community, but in my global community. I want to be able to help other communities that go through something akin to the Great East Japan Earthquake, and help prepare others for the possibility of something like that happening in their hometown.

I am now researching how I could obtain an internship in the Tohoku region, specifically Ishinomaki, after high school. The people of Ishinomaki made such a strong impact on me, from their kind and open hearts, to the unusual strength they possessed in such a difficult time. Before this program, I never thought that something like a gap year in the rural regions of Japan would be something that would capture my interest. But this program opened my eyes to so many possibilities, and has opened doors I never could have imagined.

I have gained so many important skills. I learned tolerance, patience and dedication. I learned how to cope with difficult situations without losing hope, how to reflect on the past but keep moving forward. I learned a new definition of passion, of hope, and of hard work.

But most importantly, I learned a new definition for the word family. Coming into this program, I knew that I would have to be working with people pretty much all day and every day for the course of about a month, so I knew I would be close. But I definitely did not realize how close we could become. We had our difficulties, our misunderstandings and mistranslations. But at the end of the day, we became a kind of family. We sometimes bicker, just like siblings would, but in the end we love each other. We support each other when times get rough, when we are struggling to stand tall on our own. We hold each others hands and help each other move forward when faced with difficulties that take a toll on us all, physically and emotionally. We inspire each other to try new things we would never regularly try, like playing guitar at an open cafe in front of total strangers, or leading a presentation. We may have struggled but the important part was that we stuck together throughout it.

It is strange to think back to the very first days that I met everyone, and remember that there was a time not long ago that these people were only strangers with similar dreams and interests.

To say I love these people is a grand understatement. As an aspiring poet and a singer, I sometimes end up being the sappy one, which I don’t mind. So in the end I want to say thank you. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to make my own future. Thank you for giving me the hope that I can make a difference. And thank you for giving me a family that I know I will treasure forever. ありがとうございました

Caitie McDermott
School Without Walls

Fumiya’s Final Reflection

In the first place, let me say one thing. This life changing summer in 2015 has certainly ended however, at the same time, it IS the beginning of something wonderful for each of us. For me, it’s the start of my journey to becoming a “global citizen”. It’s really hard for me (I think for everyone from this program) to write all the things that we’ve obtained through this experience. So, I’d like to express my time by enumerating what I’ve got during the program. Not to mention but, I’ve got great number of things from this summer. So it’s going to take a lot of time if I try to write about all things. So, just 3 big takeaways.

Firstly, of course, the “skills”. I’ve learned some useful methods like how to organize the ideas, how to see a thing from different points of view, how to ride DC metro, and etc. These knowledges are definitely important to be a global citizen, however I know it’s NOT enough.

So secondly, the “ideas”. I don’t just mean kinds of “general” ideas. For example, it’s necessary for us to deal with a problem as a future leader. This is surely true but, I mean more specific and concrete ideas like it’s needed for me to think about the reconstruction of Iwate prefecture to make my home town better. What I’m trying to say is that by listening to a lot of stories from different people and thinking hard about each topic then, discussing the theme with other people, I’ve made my own ideas. I believe that it’s combination of skills and ideas, maybe beliefs that enables us to overcome difficulties which is going to appear on the way to our objectives.

Last but not least, the “TOMODACHI”. This is the most crucial one to me, hopefully to everybody. I thought that we represent the saying; not bad, not worse but different. Each one got talented and unique. So, we could have overcome many problems no matter how big. As I said in the presentation, I do think that we are like family now. In addition, I’ve met wonderful adults who had supported us anywhere, anytime during the program. Moreover, I’d like to appreciate my host family, my fellow in Japan, my teacher and my family in Japan who helped us and realized the program. These are what I got in the program. Whatever crisis I may face, these takeaways will give me power to get over it. I’m feeling confidence myself and I’m relived thanks to these ones. Again, my journey to becoming a global citizen has just started. I’ll always keep what I got in mind and pursue my goal.

Fumiya Otani
Fukuoka Senior High School