Keily, Outbound to Japan

Hey! It’s Keily Again!

It’s been three months and a week since arriving in Japan and I gotta say, everything has been going amazingly!

Yesterday I switched host families and it was rough. You wouldn’t think changing host families would be such a big deal, but it truly is! I became very close to my last host family and it was hard for me to say goodbye. I was basically leaving my home away from home to go to another home and start all over again. It’s a bit frustrating when you have to start all over when you’ve finally gotten used to everything, but that’s how exchange is. Change is so common in exchange, you just have to get used to it really.

Now onto the more interesting things.

During October, I visited Tokyo with my host family! We visited all the popular tourist locations such as Shinjuku, Shibuya, Harajuku, Asakusa, Nakano and KoreaTown!

I have to say, Tokyo is one of the coolest places I have visited! Out of all the places I ended up going to , my favorite place had to be Harajuku.

Harajuku is well known for its street fashion and “cute” culture. There’s so many cute clothes and items to buy! Tokyo is super expensive though so you gotta be careful not to spend all your money. Don’t be like me is what I’m trying to say.

I also visited the Shibuya crossing or “scramble”. It’s the crossing you see in every Japanese anime or movie. It’s HUGE. You need to be careful not to get lost because I can assure you that it is super easy to get lost in.

In KoreaTown, I ate a cheese corn dog. It’s essentially a giant mozzarella stick, but it very much resembles a corndog. On the outside, you can add sugar (which is what basically everyone does) and tons of different sauces such as chili sauce and cheese sauce to give you a few. It’s a popular food among Japanese and Korean people. KoreaTown is also well known for it's cheap face masks and makeup. Korean makeup is very popular with Japanese people so many go to KoreaTown to buy their makeup.

In Late October, my high school had a sports festival! It was a very new and exciting thing for me! My part in the festival was to run an 80 meter dash. Every student was put to do a certain thing. All classes were competing against each other. My job was to run and in my mind I thought “Well running isn’t too hard. I think I’ll be fine”, but little did I know I would be racing against the track and soccer kids. Needless to say… I lost. It was a really fun experience though! All the girls also had to do a dance too. Over 200 girls all dancing in sync. Super fun to do. I hope I end up doing something like that again!

Time skip to November.

November was a pretty uneventful time, but by November my language skills seemed to be getting better. I can now understand and speak a lot more! I’m still in the phase where big words are confusing, but most of my friends just use simple language on a day to day basis so I’m fine talking with my friends. Since I can understand a lot more and speak a lot more, I can finally know what is going on around me, I can ask where places are if I’m lost and I can even order my own food at restaurants! Things are starting to get a whole lot easier now! Looking back to when I first arrived, I can see a big difference. You don’t really see it right away because it's so slow and gradual, but eventually you start to see it!

Like I said before, November was a pretty uneventful month.

I went to a city in Japan called, Karuizawa! It is an extremely beautiful place well known for its nature and giant resorts and homes! During this time, my host Rotary club had some Rotary guests from Thailand so they invited me to come along! It was extremely beautiful there. The trees were turning orange, yellow and red! You don’t ever see that in Florida.

Later in the month, my host family took me to a traditional Japanese festival where people pray for good luck for the next year. Many people bought rakes that had many objects on it that signifies good luck. It was super interesting for me to see. Very odd too. It is a literal rake!

At one of the schools I’m attending, I’m learning to play the Koto. It is a traditional Japanese harp! It’s so cool! Very confusing to play though. I hope In eventually get better at it. To play the koto you wear some sort of picks on your fingertips. They sort of look like nails. There is also a certain way you strum the strings. I always mess that up.

I almost forgot to mention! Since I am in my school’s art club, I got to put one of my drawings in an art exhibition at the mall near my house! I didn’t win anything because all the other students were AMAZING, but it was super great to participate along with many other talented people.

Last thing before I finish. Japanese food is AMAZING! I’m not too fond of traditional Japanese food, but there are many things that I do like!

Taiyaki is a sweet that is shaped like a fish. I don’t like red bean so I bought mine with custard cream. If you ever get the chance to try it, definitely do! It tasted like pancakes

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