Innovation to expand the connection

Today was a day saying goodbye to host family’s daughter and mother because they have to meet their friends in Florida. I’ve enjoyed my week here with them and they supported two Japanese exchange students with having hospitality. In addition, I have to say bye to my roommate, Keiichiro, because he is also getting out of the house to meet with his new host family, located on the other side of my host family’s house in Washington D.C. I had a great time with them but now I’ll have a different time, only two men in the house and I’m looking forward to seeing the differences in it.

I’ve got out of the house at 7:15 am and we used the car to the nearby train station: Takoma. We used red line till the Fort Totten station and changed to the green line to head to the Columbia Heights station. We arrived early because we got late yesterday due to the transportation by the construction of a few stations on the red line. We forgot about it because the construction began just this week. Meeting with the other students in the station, we rushed to CHEC: Columbia Heights Education Campus.

Firstly, we consulted with D.C students about the yesterday’s community service, teaching to elementary and middle school students at Walker-Jones Education Campus. Then we came up with a slogan: teaching from what we learn.

Big ideas from our debrief on our Walker-Jones EC teaching experience.

After that, we briefly brainstormed about the things which Japanese students viewed or thought in Washington D.C. till today and we presented to the students from Washington D.C. We had a few questions which we didn’t understand but after having discussions, the possible solutions came out and it made me have none of the doubt about detailed information. Then we talked about the things to do in the final presentation.

After the discussion, we started the workshop on Free Minds Book Club and Writing. Free Minds uses the book and creative writing to empower young inmates to transform their lives. After meeting with the people, I was able to realize the existence of such an important organization. We were able to learn from the backgrounds of people who used to be in the prison or is in the prison now. I was astonished by their poetry skills and it stimulated my interest in learning more about the poems.

Afterward, we headed to Farragut North to get to the office of the CSIS: Center for Strategic and International Studies. The office was an attractive interior decorating which was seldom in Japan. All of the exchange students were fascinated by the designs as I was one of them. CSIS was a major think tank in the US and we met with Matthew P. Goodman and his business colleagues. Think tank is the corporation organized to study particular issues and provide information, ideas, and advice. Through the program, I was able to learn the importance of the language as they mentioned, ”Language is the best way to have a connection.”

Lastly, we discussed the career panel with the women who worked in The United States or have a connection with Japan. Those people were looking forward to seeing more female leadership in Japan. It was a great opportunity to hear their real intention. Moreover, I was able to learn the importance of a good connection with friends from their life experience and I aspire to keep relation with the TOMODACHI exchange students.

Shunsuke Watando
Keio Shonan Fujisawa SHS

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