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

What I felt in Tohoku – A Poem

by Korey Carter

Beauty and ocean was the first thing that I see,
But when I left the hostel there was so much more to see.
My eyes and mind open we began to walk,
Trying to see what they see.
I didn’t see anything but sensed everything.
The dark and depressing smell of death surrounded me
Suffocating me from every angle.
Images began to flood my mind as it went back in time,
Causing me to see everything from people to debris
Body piled on top of each other.
I fought back the tears as I saw through the years.
Nothing but sorrow filled me as I saw the devastation.
I wanted to help,
I wanted to save a life.
I begged I plead,
But no one seemed to hear me.
Much like those who died on that day,
No one heard their plea,
But I hope someone can hear me.
I never want to feel the pain I felt today,
So I hope someone grants me the power to come help them someday,
Not just those here but everywhere.

Korey Carter
Friendship Collegiate Academy

DC: A City of Inspiring Words

Quote-Yuki-Darkness smY.A. – This is a quote I picked up from Martin Luther King JR. Memorial. I was simply amazed how he expressed this thought. Actually I knew there are these kind of thoughts such as non-violent protesting, but now I totally understand what it meant. And as he said in his quote, his way of fighting against stereotypes, racism and the discrimination was talking and telling the story to the others. His quote let me recognize the way how “we” solve these problems as global leaders.

Quotes-Nina-ComfortN.Y. – “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

人を評価する上で最も重要なのは、彼が便利で快適な時にいる時ではなく、彼が議論をし挑戦している時である。

I like this quote because these words show us how to live. Living in comfortable and convenient place is easy. People’s mind wont be restricted and we can be what we want to be. On the other hand, when we are challenging something or having a controversy with people, it is not easy time. We have to live in pressure. However, I believe that people can grow much more in hard time because we have to think so many things and take an action. I have kind of experience of this. I was belonging to tennis club, which was said that is a most hard girls’ club in junior and senior high school. That rumor was true and I had spent hard time in both physical and mental side. However it was enrich time. I trained my body and mental.

Because of this experience, I believe that people should put themselves in to hard situations, and I think this thinking is not wrong. So, I could connect my thinking to this quote.

Today, life is becoming easier because of the technology development. We have to find hard way to make ourselves strong. The ultimate measure of a man is where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

N.M. – “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience. But where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

The second I read this quote, I realized how it perfectly fits our whole group. As participants of an exchange program, we need to do our best to step out of our ‘comfort’ zones and ‘challenge’ new things in order to learn about new cultures and perspectives.

Quote-Korey-Love PeaceKorey – This quote speaks to me because it talks about how we should focus more on peace and not entirely on war. I want to live in a peaceful world where I don’t have any fears of war or destruction.

Quote-I Have A DreamK.Y. – “I have a dream…” The sensational words of the great Martin Luther King blows through the metropolitan city of Washington D.C. even today. Powerful and inspirational, those first lines of King`s speech made me think deeply; for, what my next goal is to pursue my dreams and accomplish my goals.

Quotes-Injustice AnywhereDusan – Upon seeing this quote at the MLK memorial, I stopped to think about its significance. In the past week, a theme came up along the lines of being an ally to justice, such as helping to stop police brutality when it happens by watching. This same quote applies to that same notion, and that is no coincidence. Everything that happens to one does affect another indirectly if we take the time to look at our lives and the lives around us. For example, if I ignored a police brutality incident before my eyes, that would not help the situation for anyone that police brutality applies to in the future, including myself. In fact, I could end up being brutalized because I never tried to take any initiative to stop that injustice from occurring. I’ll end with this: Buddha once said something along this line before, and if MLK said it as well, then someone before MLK and after Buddha most likely said it as well. If it is oft repeated throughout history, then it would be wise to take heed of it. So, ‘till next time….

August 5: Reflections on the 70th Anniversary

PROGRAM NOTE: Day Three of the program began with two panels: the first on the experience of Japanese Americans during World War II and the second, a career panel focused on professionals involved in the US-Japan relationship. The afternoon was devoted to topics related to the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima – with the screening of a film, Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard, and an evening visit to an exhibit on Hiroshima and Nagasaki at American University.

H.S.

Terry ShimaToday was the longest and the most intense day in my life. We met many people, each having their own stories of their lives surrounding life as a Japanese-American and heard stories about the impact nuclear weapons had on Hiroshima and the world. I was surprised to hear Terry Shima’s story, because even though he wasn’t treated right by the Americans during the war, he still believed America was his only homeland, and had loyalty.

Caitie

Today brought our focus back to Japan, and we met with people who are and were involved with both the US and Japan though good and bad. Often I find it really difficult to feel patriotic, as I look at the news or online and see all the terrible things my country has done. Today has made it both easier and harder to feel this way. Harder because I learned more in depth about Hiroshima through a film and an exhibit, and how can I feel proud of a country that hurt innocent people and made their lives so much harder. And easier because when talking to people who were involved in World War II and the career panel, I got to hear how America leaves us with wonderful opportunities to become better and make our nation better. Honestly I don’t know if I am proud or revolted by my country. But I think that is okay, and I think that that opinion will keep developing.

Fumiya

It was really opening-eye day for me. I have two reasons for that.

Firstly, the short film that was telling the story of drawings created by elementary students. All the colorful works drawn by color pens from the U.S. I didn’t know that story at all even when I visited Hiroshima last year.

Secondly, just hearing the stories of Japanese Americans was moving. I did know about the existence of discrimination toward Japanese Americans however, it was first time for me to hear the stories directly.

So, today, I thought these issues through from different perspectives as a person not only who had been discriminated but also as a person who dropped the A-bomb. I think that we have to pass down these stories from various perspectives at the same time.

Terry Shima TalkingDusan

Loyalty! That thing that I wish I could wholeheartedly say I have for America. Terry Shima and Mary Murakami’s experiences were hellish, in a word, but through it they kept a loyalty to a country that actively seeked to disown them in their times. As a black teenage male in America, I identify with them. However, I can’t find the same loyalty in America yet as they can. Looking inward, I guess I still hold resentment towards America for treating me the way it does, to having to have the extended coming of age talk for Black children growing up in America. The thing is, a hope spot is appearing for me because of hearing these stories. Mary basically grew up in a POW camp, and had to start her whole life over; She held loyalty, and became the change she wished to see in America. The same theme goes for Terry Shima. My loyalty may evolve to be different, but I think I can begin to find some in America, if only because I seek a change. I don’t want to have to give my child the “because you’re black” talk.

N.Y.

Today was a rich day again. We talked with so many people. Yesterday’s theme was issues facing African American people but today’s theme was about World War II and life of Japanese American people. We also saw the movie Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard about a school in Hiroshima and the All Souls Church in DC.

Hiroshima is my mother’s hometown and my grandfather and grand-grandparents were A-bomb victims. So I know a lot of information about Hiroshima, however the movie today showed me some stories I had never heard. The stories of school children in Japan and the church in DC. It was very important time to me to learn these new stories and I was so glad to watch the movie.

Also we went to a museum and saw some articles, pictures, and drawings from Hiroshima. I knew some of the situations but I felt the visual information was so strong. There were some shocking things for me. I felt A-bomb is a horrible weapon once more.

Jarid

Today we mainly focused on discussing the bombing of Hiroshima during World War II. I think today allowed me to delve deeper and gain greater understanding for a topic that I had learned about during my 10th grade world history class.

While discussing the whole historical occurrence, my interest was piqued by a comment one of my fellow Americans made. He said that in school Americans are taught that the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were horrible, but at the same time necessary. He then goes on to say that, that narrative led him to his own personal research of the topic.

This statement stood out to me the most because I didn’t fully agree with it, or maybe I couldn’t relate to his statement. I was never taught that the use of the atomic bomb was necessary. In fact, I was taught along the lines that the use of the atomic bomb was excessive on America’s part. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone talk as if the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was something that had to be done. Even though we are both Americans getting an education in the same city, we were taught about the same topic in completely different ways! This was quite eye opening.

Korey

The big idea from today was the devastation the A-bomb caused in Hiroshima. What I saw was something I couldn’t have ever imagined in my wildest dreams. People’s bodies deformed and changed beyond all recognition, some were swollen in different areas of their body, and others were burned to the point their skin was black. Those people didn’t deserve any of this, I understand that we needed to end the war but feel we should have found another way.

N.M.

Today is 8/6, the day Hiroshima was blown away by a nuclear bomb America had dropped, so we had a session about it and also had a chance to go to an exhibit in American University yesterday. I visited Hiroshima last year for a school trip so I knew most of the basic facts about it and wasn’t shocked like how most people were. But from everyone’s reactions, I realized the difference of knowledge between the American students and the Japanese students and the perspectives on how this historical even is taught. I strongly believe this gap of education shouldn’t exist and students should all have equal opportunities to learn about this world event.

Y.A.

Hiroshima TalkThe film that Shizumi and Bryan made gave me completely different perspective towards the atomic bombing. The film was really focusing on how people in Hiroshima felt after the bombing. The image I had toward Hiroshima-Nagasaki Atomic Bombing was bad, sad, and horrible. Actually, the atomic bomb itself was tragic, but what people in Hiroshima who lost their friends and maybe even family felt was appreciation toward America which is the country that dropped the bomb but also supported its enemy after the war. I didn’t know at all about how Americans supported children in Hiroshima, and I didn’t know at all about how those children feel towards America. It was so new to me and surprised me the most. This film gave me a new perspective of the children in Hiroshima who actually experienced the Bombing.

Andres

We learned about the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. The film we watched about the lost lives of an Elementary school and honestly it was new news to me and eye opening. The impact of the bomb on the people, their skin literally melting off and their eyes burnt. In light of the darkness I never knew about the typhoon that came after and cleansed the land so it could be habitable. Had that not happened, reconstruction would have begun many decades later and redevelopment would have taken much longer.

The Hiroshima children who drew pictures and sent them to Washington DC as a thank you for the gifts they received were reunited after many decades apart. Their colorful pictures look like they were made yesterday. A very dark story became a bright and colorful one in the end. Most importantly, a takeaway for me is forgiveness is key and can fully end a bad past with a new start.

S.M.

An atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima and thousands died, lost their loved ones or lost their houses.

In remembrance of this day, today’s program focused on the U.S.-Japan relationship. As a Japanese student who has heard World War 2 stories from the Japanese perspective, it was eye opening to hear the story from the U.S. side.

The World War 2 story that I know has always been a bitter one. It was the tale of the outbreak of excessive nationalism and losses of life. Therefore, I expected America’s side of story to be a story of honor, pride and glory. This was in fact partially true, and partially not.

Americans do celebrate their victory in the war, however, as far as the A-bombing goes, they consider it as a shameful part of their history. Even 70 years after this, the reality of the world is that we live in constant fear of the A-bomb. If any superpowers clash, wars will occur, and there is no guarantee that another A-bomb will not be dropped somewhere, harming thousands of civilians.

I do not know if it is possible, however nuclear disarmament is essential for world peace. I hope we can see progress and the building of consensus within my lifetime.

Terry and Mary Group1Career Panel Group 3IMG_2026

Favorite Foods!

As the DC team’s time in Japan comes to a close, they each wanted to share their favorite Japanese dishes that they enjoyed and will miss.

Nina

My favorite food was the Japanese pancake. It was different from American pancakes because they were fluffier and had a different taste.   What surprised me most was it came from the convenience store 7-11! If only I could get good food from American 7-11’s …

Nina-foodCaitie

My favorite Japanese food, which was very difficult to pick because all of it is pretty delicious, is also very simple. It’s called Inari, or Inarizushi, and it’s basically a “casual sushi” that is sweet tofu around rice and sesame seeds. It’s often enjoyed by children, which explains why I like it so much. The picture quality also isn’t my best work because I was devouring it at the time.

Caitie-foodDusan

There were several delicious foods in Japan, but my favorite came on the 2nd to last day stay. Omuhayashi with rice and beef and curry was the victor in the competition of foods, with Yakitori & Sukiyaki tied for second. I’ll be remaking it in America for sure.

Dusan- foodJarid

My favorite food while in Japan was curry! No matter where we ate it or when we ate it, it was always good! It was full of spice and heartiness.

Jarid-foodAndres

My favorite food in Japan was Karage. Karage is basically the Japanese version of fried chicken in America. The thing about karage is that you can use any sauce with it – whether it’d be soy sauce, mayonnaise or something else … The great thing about Karage that I’ve heard is that it’s really easy to make, so even I can make it back home! I definitely plan to try.

Andres-foodKorey

My favorite food in Japan by far was ramen. It was nice and spicy which made it delicious.  It is way better than any ramen I have back home.

 

Korey Photo Journal

Korey Blog Boat 7.25.15We’re venturing off into the bay to experience new things that most of us have never seen before.

Korey Blog Scallops 7.25.15. Our fisherman got us some fresh scallops as a snack. They were fresh out of the ocean!

Korey Blog Apron 7.25.15I decided to try and be a fisherman today.  It was kind of weird to pull up a net to get lunch but it’s something I would never forget.  Fresh fish for the grill.

Korey Carter
Friendship Collegiate Academy

Korey on the Mayor of Minamisanriku

Korey Blog Mayor 7.23.15The Mayor of Minamisanriku is a very powerful and driven man. Even after the devastating tsunami and watching everything get taken and destroyed; watching his home, town, and precious belongings be taken away, he still works so hard for his town. The thing that the mayor taught me was that something good can always come from the bad, no matter how bad it is. This can be applied to any and everything, no matter how big or small the matter. I like how he he’s moving forward and “never looks down.” The mayor’s determination to help his people and make Minamisanriku grow and adapt to its current situation of recovering from the disaster is just an example of strong leadership. I would hope that I could be this strong if needed.

Korey Carter
Friendship Collegiate Academy

A light in the darkness

Today we ate lunch at a small little cafe that’s run by local teens all from Ishinomaki; it’s called Kagikakko, which means quotation marks, like the ones you make with her fingers when quoting someone. They made the cafe after the March 2011 disaster as a way to bring young people together after the disaster. When we went to the cafe today we had great food accompanied by the sound of each other’s laughter.  Once our meal was finished, we sat and listened to the testimony of one of the teens who helped start the café. She graduated from high school and is now a university student who still works there. She spoke about how after the disaster she didn’t want anything more than to help the people of Ishinomaki in some way, so she posted flyers asking for young leaders who wanted to make a change in multiple high schools.  Once it was done she had 40 students who all just wanted to help some way so they made the cafe to help beautify Ishinomaki.

What I take away from today’s experience is that there is always a way to help – always. Yet, what was most touching was that they were high school students! My age and all. The high school students made a cafe after one of the biggest disasters we have seen in a while and it turned out to be a big hit. They brought the people of Ishinomaki together by giving them something to take their minds off of what happened. They created jobs and got young locals involved. Like a light in the darkness, leading the people of Ishinomaki out of their own pain and grief. This café provides residents a place to get full and break from the pain of the disaster.

Korey Carter
Friendship Charter Public Charter School

July 19 – Collaborative Haiku

PROGRAM NOTE: On Sunday, July 19th, students had a free day to explore Japan with their host brother or sister.  Together, they wrote one haiku to represent the day!

Burning hot it was
Eating desserts and Monja
Made it all worth it
(Nina and N.Y.)

Clear blue sky, Odaiba
Look down, nice wind from sea
A can by my step
(Fumiya)

Akiba culture
Being pursued by many
All around the globe
(Jarid and S.M.)

Home of sushi food
I spot a mountain of plates
lost eating challenge…
(Dusan and K.Y.)

It’s hard to describe
Exactly what we did but
The best part was you
(Caitie and N.M.)

Got attacked by food
Monja is better than it looks
It gave us energy
(Y.A. and Korey)

Talking with my friends
heats my heart up nice in
a summer hot day
(Shigetatsu)

Hot day in Akihabara
Long walk in electrical world
Don’t play the crane game
(H.S. and Andres)

My First Night In My Japan Home

My host brother in Japan is someone who doesn’t really talk much, but is a very kind hearted person who thinks of others before thinking about himself.  His family was very welcoming and welcomed me with open arms from the moment I got into the car. For dinner, we had curry chicken with rice and pieces of fried chicken. It was delicious; it was as if the flavor exploded in my mouth with every bite. After eating I gave my host mother a gift as a token of appreciation for taking care of me while in Japan. His mom seemed to be surprised and very happy when I brought her my gift. I gave her “Season All” seasoning and told her my family usually puts it on fried chicken or fish or really anything we want to give a little kick.

Something that I found to be kind of funny and different was when we had fried chicken it was boneless and was similar to a patty. Back home there is almost always bones in the chicken. Despite no bones it tasted great. He has a younger brother who is a year and a half younger than him but he’s taller and looks older than my host brother. It was nice to meet someone my height in Japan. I’m really looking forward to the many more nights I have with my Japanese host family.

Korey Carter
Friendship Collegiate Academy