I met Sally, the other applicant winner from Colorado at the airport at 6:00 am and the two of us boarded the plane together. The two of us somehow managed to navigate the complicated airports and arrive on time where we met the two other students, Brook and Dorian. The four of us were going to stay at a Japanese hotel for three nights before we went to go live with our host family. Those three days were an absolute blast. Me and Sally shared a hotel room and had so much fun discovering the strange customs of the country. When we awoke that morning at 4:30 we laughed our heads off while making tea. This was a ritual that we continued to do every morning. After an amazing hotel breakfast the four of us regrouped. Every morning for those three days we would start off by learning Japanese for three hours. Unfortunately I had no talent for languages but the other teens were very quick to catch on. After that we would go to a convince store to buy some lunch. From there we took a bus tour to the imperial palace and shrine. The second day we visited a temple and went shopping in Harajuku. On the second day after we made it back to the hotel for the night the four of us met up again and went to a convenience store to buy our weight in candy. On the last night our Japanese guides took us to a restaurant were we had Japanese pancakes. The meal lasted over three hours and I don’t think I have ever eaten so much food in my life.
After our stay at the hotel Sally and I said goodbye to Brook and Dorian and went to meet our host families. I was going to stay with Kotone and her family. Last summer when Kotone Tamura came to the states she stayed with us. At first I was very nervous to meet her family. I was slightly relieved to hear her father was on a business trip and I would not meet him yet. I had heard Japanese fathers were very stern and I was scared. Unfortunately for me my worst fear was confirmed and I got incredibly sick the first night. Still Kotone and her mother were very kind when I told them the next morning and I instantly stopped my worrying. They were both incredibly kind and nice people. We met up with Kotones friend Runa and her mother and went shopping. It was all very fun and I learned about Shirotan the Japanese SpongeBob equivalent.
The next day I woke up at five along with Kotone to go to school. It took three trains and over an hour for us to get there. The first day was very scary. Sally and I had to introduce ourselves and give a little speech all in Japanese in front of the entire school. Then we met the principal and headmaster of the entire school. After that we went to our homeroom and were quickly surrounded by Japanese girls. The school was an all-girls school and everyone including the teachers were extremely shy. When we walked by they would whisper and point but no one would actually talk to us. A few of my classes were with Sally and that was always very fun. The school girls were very excited and they loved to talk about America. I participated in many English classes and they were always very interesting. Let it go and Jusitn Beiber were two songs we listened to without fail every day. In one of the English classes they whole class took a quiz about me and the winner got to take a picture with me. It was very scary and funny at the same time. Sally laughed when I told her. I was able to meet many of the girls who had gone to Colorado previous years. It was so much fun to see them again after all that time. I was also able to meet Mizuki again. She was my families host student the year before Kotone. My favorite class was calligraphy, where for two hours every day we would practice the old Japanese art.
After school we would take another three trains to get to Kotone’s home were her very kind mother would be waiting. Nearly every day we would walk to the store to buy groceries for dinner. Dinner, lunch and breakfast were made by Kotone’s mom and were always very delicious. For school lunch I got a bento box. On the second day after school I met Kotone’s dad. At first he seemed very serious. At first I was scared of him. But soon I realized he was actually just as nervous as me. He was a very funny and kind man who would regularly make me and Kotone laugh. I couldn’t believe I was actually scared of him at first.
On my last full day while Kotone was in school I followed her mom to do some shopping at Tokyo station. After that we met up with Kotone and we all went to lunch. After that we visited the temple where her father worked. It was very cool to see something from another religion.
While we were staying at the school we were lucky enough to go on field trip with the students. We went to go see a play called Elizabeth. The play was amazing and all the students were very excited about it. All the students including the teachers had crushes on the male lead. It was very fun to watch and discuss afterwards.
I was very sad to leave Japan, I had so much fun and I learned so much from everyone there. I also made many friends who I hope to keep in contact with. Kotone’s family was a really warm and welcoming one and I hope I can meet them again one day.