S.U.’s Reflection on the DC Program

After participating in this TOMODACHI US Japan exchange program my way of thinking have changed completely. I have returned to Japan gaining many things that I did not expect. My motivation for participating in this exchange program was because it would be my first time in America, and I wanted to know about the culture and how companies and the government functions at the world’s most powerful country. However during the two weeks in America, I learned not only the things that I wanted to, but by meeting many kinds of people and experiencing many kinds of things, I learned how the world I used to look and live in was so small and was able to have a bigger view of the world and a different perspective.

As I have mentioned above, we met all kinds of people and experienced things that I would not have been able to if I did not come to Washington D.C. First we met George Yamazawa a poet who told us that our words are powerful and that we are powerful. After this activity, I became confident with my opinion and it was a valuable experience for me. Also we were taught that even though we are high school students, we can send a message to the world by taking a photograph. We learnt that there were people of our age who started an organization helping people who have difficulties in attending to college because of their parents by giving them scholarship. From these things I thought that I can take an action which might give a good effect to the society, and that it can be at any timing.

One of the activities that had great impact on me was listening to the Japanese and American people who have studied abroad and now works for each other’s country. It had a great impact because two Japanese people graduated Keio University, which I will also graduate in the future. The two told that they both used to work at a Japanese company but quit it and studied hard to get a job in America. I admired how they acted by their own will, and their courage in challenging at a different country they barely know about. When I go out to the society I want to work at somewhere I am truly interested in, no matter if it takes time.

I would like to thank the sponsors of this exchange program, my host family and the American Council for letting me have a great experience. As a participant of this exchange program, I think I have the responsibility in reflecting what I did in the program and do something to make a better society by using what I learnt. I only have about half a year before graduating high school, so I would like to think deeply about my future life referring to the inspiring people I met in this exchange program.

S.U.
Keio Shonan Fujisawa High School

Favorite American food so far!

S.U.

My favorite food I ate during the stay in Washington, DC was crab cakes. I ate it at Alexandria beside the river and I was looking forward to eat it ever since I came here because my host family was recommending me it day after day. We sometimes eat crab in Japan but we don’t often, so it was good filling my mouth with crab.

Y.Y.

The highlight of my dinner was the delicious pizza with onion and mushroom. I still remember the crisp crust and the melted cheese filling my mouth.

S.S.

My favorite food I had over the stay here was a chili dog from Ben’s Chili Bowl, a combination of chili and hot dog that we never get to see in Japan.

K.Y.

My favorite food has been Philadelphia Cheesesteak so far. Compared to other kinds of sandwiches, they have higher but better taste. I would love to bring them to Japan for my friends if it were possible.

T.M.

I liked the African American soul food. I especially liked the BBQ ribs because it was big and had a lot of sauce on it. I also liked it because it was strongly flavoured.

M.I.

On my first day of this stay, I got to eat Azerbaijani food which my host mom made for me. My host mom, she experienced Peace Corps at Azerbaijan, so she made exactly how her host family in Azerbaijan taught her how to cook. Lentil soup, soup made out of green vegetable, and some Azerbaijani tea. These were a completely new eating experiences for me.

Hubs, Government, and DC Central Kitchen

Today we arrived at the American Councils and debriefed on the American museum exhibit we went to the last day and on the presentation on the Japanese American experience.

IMG_1711After that, for the first panel, we visited a business innovation hub called “1776” made in April 2013. A business innovation hub is a place where many companies that can’t afford to have their own office get together and share one floor of a building. We had a guided tour there and learnt about how 1776 functions and were able to hear from a company called “Vibeffect” about their work.

Next we headed for the DC Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development and listened to a presentation on the DC Government and the goals of the international business in the Business Development and Strategy field. IMG_1713

For the third presentation, we visited the DC Central Kitchen, a nonprofit organization that makes 5000 meals everyday with food that was going to be wasted but has nothing wrong with the flavor and the safety. Then we went to the National Building Museum exhibit, “Designing for Disaster” and looked at the ruins of buildings from a natural disaster and the possibility for it to happen in America. For the last part of the day, we walked to the Memorial to Japanese American Patriotism in World War 2. This was a place made to show the apology by the president of America to the Japanese Americans who fought in World War 2.

I will like to explain about what I learnt from the first program. At 1776, I thought that this was a very efficient working place. Not only you can cut down the costs but also you can have a talk with the different companies and attend the classes at the General Assemblies. We heard about a job from a person who works for “Ubelong”, which offers a volunteer tour to college students. When we were listening to his explanations about the company, he seemed to be so excited and was full of passion in recommending the tour to us. It seemed that he loves the place where he works and I thought that was such an admirable thing, since it is hard to find and get a job which you are interested in. I thought that most companies in 1776 were able to be made because it is in America. I learnt how this country accepts people to form a company if they have the passion and help them out. There are hubs in Japan as well but most of them are not as big as 1776. To make a more efficient and energetic workplace, I thought we should take it back to Japan and make it more common there.

S.U.
Keio Shonan Fujisawa High School

S.U.’s Post: July 24

Today we got together at American Councils and welcomed two guests, Terry Shima and Mary Murakami talking to us about the experiences they had as Japanese Americans during the World War II. At the second panel, we listened to Mya Fisher, Kazuya Kato, Mari Seto, Moeko Shinohara and Shanti Shoji’s experiences at the exchange they had with Japan and US and about the current jobs that they have now. After they had finished their presentations, we were given 30 minutes to have a free conversation with the five guests. After we settled our lunch, we moved to the Farragut West station and took the metro to the Capitol South stop. We went to the Library of Congress and had a tour given an explanation of the meaning of the Library of Congress and how the architecture of the building was designed and how it had a symbol. For the fourth panel we were planning to go for a tour at the US Capitol; unfortunately there was an accident and we could not enter the Capitol. Instead we went to the Eastern Market and had a walk around the city. Lastly, we came back to the Capitol South station and met the Congresswoman, Eleanor Holmes Norton. Despite her busy schedule, she kindly took a photograph with us and wished us good luck.

It was a pleasure to meet Mr. Shima and Mrs. Murakami and hear their experiences directly from their mouths, since I have only learnt about the World War II from the textbook, so it was a valuable experience. And most significantly, I had never heard about the stories of Japanese Americans or thought about it myself, so it made me think of the war from a different point of view. Thinking about the difficulties and pain Mr. Shima and Mrs. Murakami had during the war was heart aching, and I thought that these stories must be told to more people and to the next generations. More people must know their pain and try to prevent someone to feel the same way as they did.

Also, the experiences we heard from the five presenters about the exchange between Japan and US had a great impact on me, especially since I will go to the same university as Miss Seto and Miss Shinohara did. Their stories gave me more courage in reality to take a risk and challenge what I really want to do. I was surprised to hear that all five people had a different job when they first graduated college, but I realized that if you’re not satisfied with your current situation, if you work hard nothing is late to start.

S.U.
Keio Shonan Fujisawa High School

Day 3: July 23

Today we got together at American Councils and welcomed two guests, Terry Shima and Mary Murakami talking to us about the experiences they had as Japanese Americans during the World War II. At the second panel, we listened to Mya Fisher, Kazuya Kato, Mari Seto, Moeko Shinohara and Shanti Shoji’s experiences at the exchange they had with Japan and US and about the current jobs that they have now. After they had finished their presentations, we were given 30 minutes to have a free conversation with the five guests. After we settled our lunch, we moved to the Farragut West station and took the metro to the Capitol South stop. We went to the Library of Congress and had a tour giving an explanation of the meaning of the Library of Congress and how the architecture of the building was designed and how it had a symbol. For the fourth panel we were planning to go for a tour at the US Capitol; unfortunately there was an accident and we could not enter the Capitol. Instead we went to the Eastern Market and had a walk around the city. Lastly, we came back to the Capitol South station and met the Congresswoman, Eleanor Holmes Norton. Despite her busy schedule, she kindly took a photograph with us and wished us good luck.

It was a pleasure to meet Mr. Shima and Mrs. Murakami and hear their experiences directly from their mouths, since I have only learnt about the World War II from the textbook, so it was a valuable experience. And most significantly, I had never heard about the stories of Japanese Americans or thought about it myself, so it made me think of the war from a different point of view. Thinking about the difficulties and pain Mr. Shima and Mrs. Murakami had during the war was heart aching, and I thought that these stories must be told to more people and to the next generations. More people must know their pain and try to prevent someone to feel the same way as they did.

Also, the experiences we heard from the five presenters about the exchange between Japan and US had a great impact on me, especially since I will go to the same university as Miss Seto and Miss Shinohara did.  Their stories gave me more courage in reality to take a risk and challenge what I really want to do. I was surprised to hear that all five people had a different job when they first graduated college, but I realized that if you’re not satisfied with your current situation, if you work hard nothing is late to start.

S.U.
Keio Shonan Fujisawa High School