Josh Wermerskirchen
2013-14 Outbound to Japan

Hometown: Longwood, Florida
School: Lake Brantley High School
Sponsor: District 6980, Florida
Host:The Rotary Club of Akishima

Josh's Bio

Hello, my name is Joshua Wermerskirchen, but my friends just call me Josh, and I am 15 years old and a sophomore in high school right now. I live with my mother and father and I have two siblings. My brother Will is currently in college and so is my sister Victoria. I have two dogs, one named Ozzy and the other named Shayna. Before I moved to Florida I use to live in a town named Grayslake in Illinois. Now I live in Longwood, Florida. I had a hard time with the move but I did as my mom told me and made the best out of a bad situation. Three years later and here I am now! The main hobbies that take up most of my time are reading and soccer. I am happily enjoying my time at school with soccer and the theatre department, not to mention all my classes. I have already traveled outside the country but this is the first time I’m going alone and so far away. About twice a year I get to go camping with my dad and his friend from work, my dad always says it’s a way for HIM to get a load off but it still feels nice to relax for a weekend outside. My dad and I always like to go hiking as well, just next week were going to a place in Georgia called Red Top Mountain. For my favorite restaurant out there it’s Denny's, I’m not sure why I love going there, but it’s always first on the list. Going to Japan is still unreal and I know learning the language is going to be ten times harder than English, but I know that on top of all of the hardships I will have fun throughout the training and learning. I know that I like to learn period, but I feel that going to Japan I will have a chance to do so much more than learn, I will get to see new things and experience new opportunities. I know that being a part of this program means that I get to journey to a different country, but I know that I also have the hopes and expectations of the older Rotarians and officers on my shoulders. So I’ll give it my best! Until next time, Ja mata!

Josh's Journals

August 22, 2013

It is 2:11 am, August 17, 2013, and I am going to be boarding a plane to Narita airport in Japan. Right now the only thing I’m worried about is if the 53 pound suitcase that I’m bringing will be taken and I won’t get charged extra for it being overweight. But otherwise I’m pretty relaxed I can’t sleep but it’s pretty fun knowing that you’re ready for the exchange. That you have been practicing 9 months just for this moment! I know that Rotary has given everything they have to get me ready, and I have worked hard to get where I am today with my little knowledge of Japanese culture and language. I will continue this post later today for when I get on the airplane, bet I will be feeling way worse after seeing my mom cry, because I am leaving her.

Okay it is 1:53 pm, and the airport has been terrible. I ended up with my suitcase being 5 pounds over so I had to take some clothes out and put it into my carry-on. Then the lady told me that my carry-on was too big. Not to mention that my flight was delayed by 2 hours. I am currently sitting at gate F6 of Hartsfield Airport. My plane is a behemoth 747 with two floors in one plane. I have gotten through everything else easily and I am doing okay. I said goodbye to my sister and grandpa before security, and my mom and dad came through security with me.

I honestly don’t really feel anything right now but I know that It was the right choice to do this. George Carlin said “And always remember, life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by those moments that take our breath away.” I think this is the best way to live life always enjoy the time you spend with someone whether family, friend or someone you just met. Learn as much as you can and never forget the memories you make. I’m sure that going to Japan will be hard and painful but I’ll never wish I hadn’t done it!

Now I am 30,000 feet, almost 10,000 meters up in the sky and just woke up from a crappy sleep on the plane. They served lunch/dinner of sorts I really couldn’t eat any of it so I didn’t. I’m getting close to the boarder of Alaska right now and I think I have been flying for 5 hours, still got like 8 left.

October 5, 2013

So it is October and I have been in Japan for a month and a half now. This journal is a recap of September. Now Sorry mom. Even though I want to ignore this fact I know it’s true. And this goes for the other exchange students too. In our very short time in our countries, we have in fact changed. We are not the same as we were when we left America. yes we still may speak the same way or act the same or even have the same physical features. But we as teenagers, as humans growing have gained a knowledge that just can’t be gained from a book or a movie. We are here experiencing the true life of a native, we are literally in their shoes. So any of you out there reading this, I guarantee you will change.

Now onto my activities for the past month, hmmmm a lot happened. lets see. so on September 8th I climbed to the top of Mt.Fuji and bought a charm. Then There was a huge Typhoon that flooded Kyoto and a bunch of people evacuated the cities. Then there was a festival in my town for a tree goddess called Sasaki. no joke a bunch of guys carried the freaking 16 foot tree all around town shouting EY-EY-EY! After that was the Bunkasai for my school which was so much fun but too freaking boring. I made and sold churros for the soccer club, then helped out with my homeroom. After that I had the English debate which we won first place in. But it was incredibly fun seeing everyone elses classes and getting to eat food that the students made themselves, the best was yakisoba. Then I got to go zip lining. and after that, which is tomorrow, the high schools Undokai, or sports festival. They have a bunch of competitions like races, weird stick walking, and even judo.

My host family is awesome. my host mom is too nice, I told her not to make me a lunch because I would make it myself and she got up before me just to make it. My host sister has been gone for a week she went to Thailand with her friend. But everyone is really nice and I am having the time of my life. Unfortunately school is sucking a lot, but I know once I get use to the language and kanji I will do just as good as I did in America.

 November 28, 2013

So its November now, actually it's Thanksgiving right now and I had McDonald's for dinner. But yea Japan has been great, I have continued to get myself hurt again and again but stuff happens. I am still in the same host family as before, and it's nice because my family has gotten use to my Japanese so whenever its wrong they correct me. I went to a bunch of places and a bunch of Rotary orientations.

I did a presentation on America to which it went pretty well, made everyone laugh alot, they mistook a picture of pizza for pie but I explained that Chicago style pizza was really good and big. Also I went to a place called Taco-san where another festival was going on. To any Foes that come to Japan beware the ridiculous amount of festivals Japan can hold. I went to Ueda and Matsumoto jyou(castel), and the Tokyo Sky Tree. School is super hard, I can understand what their saying now but don't have a single clue what the papers the y give me say. So just imagine at school they give you a paper with gibberish written on it and then tell you to study what's on it, even math ladies and gentlemen even math is confusing in Japanese. But I have a lot of teachers that after their done teaching the lesson and everyone is doing the class work they come over to me and help me understand it a bit more. and when I still don't understand it they totally understand and are like well it's alright. Unfortunately this week I fell asleep in many classes due to the fact that I am always tired despite the fact that I do get sleep, way more than I normally do, but no one yells at me. They're like oh the exchange student is sleeping again whatever. But that is not an excuse, I know mom and dad, don't worry today I didn't fall asleep.

Oh and tomorrow morning I get to talk to my family on skype so that will be fun. And least but not least, advice for the exchange students going to Japan, yes an exchan ge is only as fun as you make it, but in some countries cultures are very different. many of my friends in Brazil and Europe have had many fun parties... yes I hove gone to none Japanese high schoolers do not hold parties they study together and then hang out. So yes there are no crazy shebangs happening in Japan, but I have figured out a way to have a crazy amount of fun with my friends, and no I won't tell you you guys will have to figure out the way of the Japanese exchange yourself. But other than this Japan has been fun cant wait for the browines my mom will send in December and I hope Scott Krogmann is doing fantastically fancy as always. And love you Mom, Dad, Tor, Will, Zad, Ozzy, Shayna, Grandma, Yo-Yo, Henry, Dori, Grandma Barbra, Grandpa Frank, Aunt Debbie, Uncle Steve, JR, Tyler, Aunt Dawn, Uncle Steve, Kim, Cynthia. And yes I did get homesick a little bit. so you win MOM!!!

January 12, 2014

 Today is January, 12th, 2014. During the month of December I did quite a bit of things. First of all i got ready for the end of semester exams. I ended up studying for Math the most. My friends were studying like crazy I was surprised at how much they study here. Everyday they went home and studied for 6 hours, even club practices were cancelled. I ended up injuring my wrist during Soccer practice. So my coach told me to go get an X-ray on it and turned out nothing was wrong. But it has finally just started feeling better. After exams were over Winter break started and I got to teach my host family how to make butter cookies. I ended up making too much so i shared them with my friends from school and they loved it, a hundred cookies were eaten within an hours. I also got a box from my mom full of winter clothes and food from america, trust me you guys will start craving brownies once you get to Japan. I also got hot chocolate from my mom so n ow i drink hot chocolate whenever i want. And during Christmas my family did a bingo game and we got to pick our presents from under the tree after we got a bingo. I ended up winning women's socks. My host mom bought me a jacket from Uniqlo the clothes store of Japan. But surprisingly Japanese eat quite a bit of chicken during X-mas. The KFC was so crowded that you had to wait thirty minuets for some chicken. After Christmas you end up just doing nothing until New Years which is one of the biggest holidays of the year. But i'll talk about that with the next blog. So far as an exchange student my life is going extremely well. My Rotary club is always helpful and if there's a problem with communication then my host family will help out. The District Rotary is even better and all of the Rotarians are always helpful and are always patient when you don't know what to say. I am proud to say my Japanese has gotten so good that i can perfectly converse with just about anyone. Not to mention I can understand any Japanese even if i don't know the meaning of the word i can understand the meaning of the sentence. I'm still struggling with the writing part and I only learned about a hundred Kanji but my teacher said that I am ahead of what most exchange student are learning. So I can only hope that in the remaining five months here, i will be able to read and speak perfect Japanese to anyone I wish to speak to. And for Christmas I got to check out the cities light illuminations. Last but not least for all the FOs please understand that you want to start learning and listening to ask much of your language as you can. even if it's five minutes a day it will help so much. Well then after January is over you'll get to hear about New Years and my adventures in school and what not. Also Scott Krogmann, I'm bringing you a present from Japan so be prepared alright! And sorry mom and dad for not Skyping you enough. Love you!