After I woke up at 11 o'clock and had a breakfast, my host student Amali and I went for a walk with a dog. It was a perfect weather for a walking. While we were walking, we introduced ourselves so that we could know each other more. We talked about birth date, favorite music, favorite food, etc. After we got back home from a walking, my host mother took us to the downtown. Downtown wasn't that crowded and dangerous than I had expected. We got Starbucks frappuccino and macrons from the café. We went to the park with these foods and ate them seeing cherry blossoms. I thought it is like "ohanami" in Japan. Cherry blossoms at there were so beautiful! We went to Five Guys after leaving the park and had hotdogs. It was my first time eating a hotdog at Five Guys but it was so good. We spent about three hours in downtown. We went straight to the movie theater from downtown and watched "Love, Simon". This movie was about a high school boy who is gay and hides that fact. This movie was so good and it even made me cry a little. I wish this movie will come out in Japan too. I spent relaxing time after I got back from the movie. I can't wait to go to school tomorrow!
Since Sean, Hinano, and I had exact same schedule today, we met up in media center in the morning and headed to the first block together. We had Intermediate Ceramics for our 1st block. The teacher let us use wheels to make ceramics. Joe was my partner and she helped and taught me how to make a ceramic by using a wheel. Making a ceramic in a good shape with a wheel was much harder than I expected. I was so surprised because Joe was so good at it and it is her second year! I messed up many times so I had to restart my ceramic for about five times. For 2nd block, we had a class of Prostart(cooking class). We finally turned in our original menu for Japanese restaurant which was our assignment, and the teacher told us that we did very well! We made soft pretzels like Auntie Ann's and turned out really tasty. It was my first time making pretzels on my own. We also made salad bar too. Even though only thing we did was cut the vegetables. We took JRTOC class for our 3rd block. This class looked totally different from any other classes. I think this class is more strict than other classes. However it was fun for me because we don't have this kind of class in Japan. The teacher gave us sunglasses, pens, and bags as visitor presents! At lunch, two girls from this class invited us to their table in cafeteria. It was so much fun talking to them. Last but not least, we had Digital Art for our 4th block. We did painting on computer using our own photo. It was a little embarrassing but classmates and a teacher were so nice to us. I'm already excited to take next Digital Art class! After I got back from school, I took a nap as usual. My host mother bought me Buffalo Wild Wings for the dinner. A hamburger and chickens were so delicious!!
Because our flight is so early, we needed to be at Charlotte airport at 5:50. When we all gathered at the airport, we took final photo, including all of host families, their siblings, Hopewell teachers, and us. The time to say goodbye to my host family approached so fast and I gave them a farewell letter. I told them to read that letter at home so it is not embarrassing. When I gave them final hugs, I couldn't hold back my tears. These past two weeks went really fast and I wished if I could stay more longer. Seeing my tears, my host mother told me not to think negatively, just think something bright in our future. She also told me that she definitely will visit Japan and my house someday. After hearing this, I started to think that farewell between me and my host family are not a sad thing, it's a thing that makes me grow up. I'm really excited to meet them again in Japan someday or maybe in America!
It was about two hours of flight from Charlotte to Chicago. When we arrived at Chicago airport, we had a plenty of free time so we looked around stores for last shopping in America. About thirteen hours of flight from Chicago to Tokyo felt short for me because I was busy watching many good movies. Finally we arrived in Japan but we still had to board one more airplane to Nagoya. Because we had many transfer and total of three airplanes' trip made me so tired. Even though I wasn't homesick at all while I was in America, I was very relieved when I saw my mom's face at an exit of the gate. I told my mom a lot of trip stories on our way to home. I went straight to my bed and slept when I arrived to my house.
Friday, March 16th
Today I woke up at 6:30 which was surprising for me because I expected myself to wake up more earlier, and headed to school. We had breakfast with other host students and Ms. Connor which was Chick-fil-A one of my favorite fast-foods here. During the first block the teacher wasn't there for her surgery so I got to chat with Rachel's friends which was ridiculously fun. For our second block, we had math which I didn't understand at all but Maoko who was in the same class with me at that time said she did understand it so I thought she was a real crazy. In my third block, I got to join the experiment that they were doing which was something like watching the difference after we put different solutions on rabbit muscle. I've never used muscle in my experiments so it was very interesting and actually fun doing it. For the final block today, I got to join the art class Rachel takes. I love their atmosphere and how much at-home they are. After school, I took a nap for about two hours because I was so sleepy! But after a nap I felt so better. Then we went to go out to eat. Today we went to Japanese Chinese hibachi restaurant where I had noodles which was huge that I couldn't finish eating it. Tomorrow we'll go shopping so I'm very excited!!
Wednesday, March 21st
Today I woke up at 6:25 and left for school. In today's first block they were still doing their presenting from Monday so I kept on watching them. The topic was really hard to understand so I guess that is one of the things that I don't want to have in my school. Then in my second block I played the game that the teacher made for that class as a study guide with Maoko, Mrs.Suzuki and Mr.Hiraiwa. It was really hard because I don't have any knowledge for the subject and it was obviously in English but it was fun because for the most questions, none of us knew the answer so it was just crazy. Our third went by just watching a movie about economy. But it was actually an interesting movie because I got to think about it while watching it. For our forth block, we had Spanish but they were just doing their worksheet so I myself did nothing but I think I got to Join the atmosphere of the class. After school, we chilled eating food and texting friends. At around 6pm, Rachel's mom Amy, Rachel and I went out to Olive Garden for dinner. I think I never been there but it was really good. Later when I texted my mom and dad that I went there they were so jealous of me because they love Olive Garden.
Monday, March 26th
Today I woke up at 6:25 as usual and headed to school but instead of Amy we got Rachel's dad Brent to take us to school today. For our first block I went to JROTC with all others. They were doing a group work of a discussion so we join them and discussed about the topic which was very interesting listening to other people's ideas and thinking. Then for our second block, I went to theater class with Maoko. They were working on making their stage for after spring break so we went in and drilled the woods together with other students. It felt weird being taught how to drill during class but I think that is what we should be thought in Japan too. For our third block, we went to biology class to play a game called twister. I was one of the first people to get put in the first and second round but in the third block, I got to stay till the finals. But I was knocked out so I lost. We also got to start paint our wall. It was hard to find colors of what we want to use but we managed to figure it out. Then we spent our whole block eating pizza, snacks and writing messages for teachers and our host families for the forth block. After school, we went to watch a movie "A wrinkle in time". It was very interesting movie and I would love to watch it in Japan if it comes.
This morning, I was supposed to wake up at 4:00 AM, but I ended up getting up at 4:30 AM. Which means, I completely overslept. Fortunately, I was able to get ready in twenty minutes, I was on time.
We left Nagoya at 8:15 AM, and took forty minutes flight to Tokyo. The plane we had to board from Narita was delayed 30 minutes, so we waited. While waiting, I took some selfies with Keito, and got a taste of Japanese high school girls.
It takes about 12 hours from Narita to Chicago. Keito suggested me to take a nap during flight to ease jet lag. However I couldn't sleep because I'm used to Japan time and I usually don't take a nap. I only slept when I was watching "Thor Ragnarok". (Of course I watched again when I woke up). During flight, I watched 3 movies and 2 TV shows. Last 30 minutes, I was playing Sudoku.
Over 14 hours of flight, we finally arrived in Charlotte. My host family was McRae family. Ms. Taiwo and Kwame came to the airport and took me to their house. At there, Ms. Taiwo served me some fresh fruits for the snack, and we had a talk. I wish I had enough energy to have some more talk, but I was overwhelmed with long flight, so I went upstairs to take a nap. When I woke up, Kwame's younger sister Kya came back from her dance class. We greeted each other and ate dinner.
Today's dinner was roast potatoes with minced meat and fruits. After dinner, I gave the souvenirs from Japan. For Ms. Taiwo, I gave her furoshiki and gloves. For Kwame, I gave Japanese novels and stationaries, and for Kya, I gave stationaries and some pretty goods from Japan. They all seemed to like their presents, so I was happy.
I have to get up at 5:20 AM: that's an hour and 10 minutes earlier than when I used to get up in Japan. Tomorrow will be tiring day, so I'll better sleep from right now.
Today was international day of the Francophones (Francophone means person who speaks French) so we exchange students attended French class from first block to third block. At the beginning of every classes, we introduced ourselves in English and Japanese. I was surprised that Ms. Suzuki could speak French. Thinking it again, she used to live in Belgium and it's also francophone, so this wasn't such a strange thing.
We made posters in all classes, but theme of the posters became more professional as the class changes. In the first class, we made three posters each about the Francophone countries. One girl in class named Mackenzie was very interested about Japan. Knowing that Japanese has three characters, she asked us to write her name in kanji. Me and Keito think 3 minutes and came up with "真絢姫". We were glad that she seemed to be very happy with her kanji name. In the second class, we made posters about how to promote the values of francophone. This project was the hardest of today's work. The difficult point was finding the values. NOT how to promote. We searched on the internet and finally found six values. In the third class, we did about promoting values about sustainable development, human rights, and democracy.
After those three classes, I supposed to have Spanish, so I would be having European day, but it turned out that the teacher was absent today.
Tonight, Kwame took me to Miss Hopewell Pageant, because Kwame's friend who I met at JROTC was going to sing on a stage and she invited us to come and see. She was amazing! Don't forget, the pageant was the main part. There were six seniors participating in this. They were judged on their beauty, talent, and personality. The winner was Kya's best friend's sister, which made me surprised. I guess I had great time watching the pageant.
Today, I set my alarm at 8:30 AM, but actually, I woke up at 10:00AM. There wasn't any special things to do in this morning, so I was pretty calm than usual, plus there were no one in downstairs. When Ms. Taiwo came back from McDonalds buying our breakfast, (it was pancakes) she brought bad news that Kya was sick in bed from last night. I was wondering why Kya wasn't awake yet because she always wakes up earlier than me on weekends, but that was the reason. She said that she was ok when she came downstairs to eat breakfast.
At 11:30 AM, we headed to the escape room that they tried once but couldn't finish it. Its name was "Pharaoh's tomb". In this stage, we are archaeologist who were researching king whatever's tomb and trapped. We have to escape in an hour. That's the time when the oxygen will run out. There were eight of us challenging and in spite of having some troubles, we escaped in 53 minutes. That was awesome!
After we left the escape room, we went uptown to ride on a tram (Lynx). I like riding on a train without destination, so I requested a ride till the both last stop of the line. Some of the stations had interesting designs. I don't have much opportunities to have such relaxing trip by train, so that was nice.
In the evening, we went cinema to watch "Black Panther". This movie was about the young king of the mysterious country named Wakanda. Wakanda is a hidden well-developed country in Africa and every king of this country become "Black Panther", the protector of the country. In the movie, the hero T'challa tries to protect his country from various enemies. Because it was long movie, I slept and missed about 50% of the movie. When I woke up, T'challa was fighting with his last enemy. Even though, I was able to understand what was going on by listening Kwame's explanation in the car on the way home.
As my usual school days here, I woke up at 5:00am. It was my first A-day, so almost everyone I met was first time to meet. Christina and I were texting one of Jourdan's friend Ethen the day before, so I was excited to meet him in person at math class. I sat next to Jourdan and Ethen was sitting behind her and Ethen's friend, Luke was sitting behind me and it was really fun to talk with them since they were both friendly. Luke was saying that he was sleepy, but it surprised me when he started doing push-ups during the class to keep himself awake. It did surprise me but at the same time, I found it quite funny and I couldn't help laughing. On the second period, Jada chose a book for me so that I can keep myself entertained during the class. On the third block, I met a senior whose name was Kevin and he told me that he was interested in Japan. He showed me the pictures of the Chinese characters that he knew on his computer and so I taught him some new words. He was really nice and fun to talk with. We talked about a lot of things such as Japanese temples, anime, and the differences between Japanese and American teenager's fashion. He told me that the Gucci belt the guys in Hopewell wear are all fake and also taught me how to distinguish a real leather belt from a fake one which I thought was smart but funny.
After school, Jourdan's dad drove Jourdan and me to the Northlake mall after picking Christina up on our way. I bought some items from Bath & Body Works. I had a great time shopping with them and we were at the mall for more than 4 hours which surprised all three of us. We ordered some food for takeout at McAllister's Deli and on our way back home we did a game called BeanBoozled. It's a game where we pick one jelly bean and eat it, but it could be the normal good ones like lime and coconut or the nasty ones like molded cheese and dead fish and you can't tell until you eat them. I was really good at this game and all the jelly bean I chose were the normal ones.
I met so many friendly people today and it was definitely a fun day.
Since we went to bed at around 0:00am last night, I woke up at around 10:00am and Jourdan and I just relaxed around discussing about my stay here and watching the zombie version of Pride and Prejudice until my host mother Ms. Paula told us to get ready to go to the mall. We picked Christina up on our way and Ms. Paula dropped us off at Concord Mall. We were planning to go to the South Park Mall but changed plans since the traffic was heavy. At the mall, we went in to a lot of shops from clothes, shoes and bags to candies. I was surprised when we ran into Mone and Amali just as we were walking out of Michael Kors. We talked about things we bought and after exchanging couple of conversation, we broke up and resumed shopping. Since Jourdan and I like to read, we went in to the book store and looked around. Christina was into Michael Jackson so it was funny to see her expression light up when she found a book about him. We decided to go into the Yogurt Mountain to rest and I made a frozen yogurt of my own since it was a place where you could choose the flavor of your yogurt as well as the toppings. As we were chatting over our frozen yogurt, we met Mone and Amali again which made us all laugh. After shopping some more, Jourdan texted Ms. Paula to pick us up. Christina stayed over at our house and it was really fun. We talked until late at night and finally slept at 1:30am.
I truly had a wonderful time in North Carolina. Everyone I met at Hopewell was really kind and fun to talk with like Kevin and Jada. I was able to make friends outside of school as well like Christina and Joy and we even exchanged our email address so that we could keep in touch with each other. But most of all, I feel grateful for everything that my host family had done for me. I could tell that they planned a lot for me. They took me to many shopping malls and stores knowing that I wanted to buy souvenirs for my friends and family. They always thought about what would make me happy and thanks to their kindness, I was able to truly enjoy the days I spent with them. It was really hard for me to say good bye to them and I even had to fan myself so as to prevent myself from crying the night before the flight to Japan. They gave me a letter with a gift and it said that even though we don't share blood, I would always be a part of their family. I couldn't read the letter all the way to the end since I knew I would cry and I didn't know if I'd be able to stop. They were the best host family and I'm really happy that I had the chance to meet them!!
The two weeks I spent with them was so fun it seemed like it was just few days. I made great memories that I will treasure forever. I cannot thank enough to my host family. I also need to thank my parents for letting me participate in this exchange program. I will never forget my host family as well as this amazing experience!!
I woke up at 11:30. Anna ( my host student ) had to go work from 12:00. After Tancey ( my host mother ) dropped Anna to her work place, I went to Northlake mall. I ate Tacobell for lunch and that made me remind about when I use to live in Kentucky.
In Northlake mall, I looked around a lot of stores and bought souvenirs for my friends and family and also for myself.
While waiting for Anna to end up her job, I met Mone and her host student at the mall. We talked a little bit and it was really fun.
When Anna finished her job, it was about 4:00 and went to Anna's friend's house and stayed there for about 2 hours.
Mone and her host student asked me if I want to go watch movie together that night so I decided to go. I watched "Black Panther" with them from 9:00 and it was really good movie. The seats at the movie was comfortable and had a reclining system. I had never seen that kind of chair at movie theater before.
It was about 11:30 when I got back home. I had a really good time that day and enjoyed everything.
It was the first day to decide which classes to take by ourself.
On the first block, I went to Media center and decided which classes to take with Mone and Hinano. It was really hard to choose but I was excited to take every class that I chose.
On the second block, I went to Prostart class which teaches about cooking. Teacher gave me some work to do so I did that with Mone and Hinano. We had to imagine making new restaurant and make Menu for that restaurant. I made the front page and the page for kids to play.
On the third block, I went to Arts and craft class. I made some object with recycling things. I first imagined beach side but it didn't look good at the end.
For the last block, I went to Visual arts class. In visual arts class, everyone was making some object which they designed as tattoo on paper. We wrote up the things which is connected to our life and draw some pictures of them that will look good as tattoo.
After school, I went to Japanese restaurant "Akahana" with Anna and ate volcano roll. It was spicy and really good.
When I went back home, I ate chocolate tart which I bought Wednesday at cafe in downtown. I realized that everything I eat had a strong taste and really good that I forget how much I was eating.
Last day for school. It was so sad that I've already finished 2 weeks for school.
On the first block, I went to biology class and finished drawing my name on the wall. I didn't do it good but it was really fun and I was really happy that we could leave our name on the wall. After everyone finished drawing their name, we walked around inside and outside of school. We took a lot of pictures during rest of the time in first block.
For the second block, we went to band class. They were practicing several kinds of songs and it was really cool. I first thought that it was rock band style but it wasn't and they were using a lot of brass instruments. Teacher gave us some snack at the end of the class.
On the third block, we went to Spanish class. We did some game and also made some poster. We wrote down few goals we want to do until 2028.
For the last block, we went to Digital arts class and finished our project. We made colorful picture with our own picture.
After school, we had our last dinner with all the exchange student and their host family at Northlake mall from 7:00. I went to Northlake mall faster and changed my clothes to Yukata. I also helped other girls to wear them. When we finished eating, Ms. Conner gave us complication award. We took a lot of pictures with that too.
I packed up all my things into suitcase after I went home and that made me really sad to leave Charlotte. I couldn't sleep well that night.