Kakehashi x Globalize DC

By Chamiya Carnathan

On February 5th, 2023, Globalize DC met with Kakehashi, a program where students of Hiroshima Global Academy and Akifuchi High School visited Washington D.C. from February 1 to 8, 2023. On February 5th, I met new friends that I hope to see again. The Kakehashi program traveled to all parts of DC, visited a lot of museums, and visited high schoolers in Virginia. We didn’t know that we would have the opportunity to meet with Japanese students until three weeks ago. At that point, I knew that I had to study more in order to practice my language skills. I thought that I was so prepared to meet them with three sheets of practice questions. I was so wrong.

The day started with Globalize DC meeting up with Kakehashi at Z burger at Tenleytown, Washington DC. After we ordered our meals, me and Penelope Morris paired up to interact with two Kakehashi students. I was extremely nervous and I constantly went over what to say in my head. I began with はじめましてシャマイヤです (Hello, my name is Chamiya). They told us their names and at their point, I met りょうごさん (Ryogo) and としさん (Toshi). We conversed in both English and Japanese (mainly English) and I asked りょうごさん (Ryogo) “Purple”ってにほんごでなんですか”. It’s むらさき. I continued to meet new people throughout the trip such as れいなさん (Reina), こうあさん (Koa), かえらさん (Kaera), and many more. Everyone was super nice and I loved hearing the reasons for why they are studying English.  

I thought I was prepared to talk in Japanese but I messed up words and I forgot how to say certain phrases. But once I was talking to my new friends, I realized that it was okay to mess up. They helped me with saying what I wanted to say. We helped each other out as としさん (Toshi) and りょうごさん (Ryogo) taught me and Penelope on how to use “まじ” which is basically the Japanese version of “very,” “really,” and “so.” We taught them some American slang and games like the finger game called “sticks.” Even though I messed up my Japanese, this exchange has made me want to continue learning Japanese. I sometimes had doubts on whether I should continue to learn Japanese but meeting them has made me rekindle my love for learning the language. 

This experience will forever be one of my favorite memories. I learned so much about Japanese culture from interacting with Japanese students for one day than I ever will from the internet. As we became new friends, we exchanged Instagram handles so that we could keep in touch. I will forever cherish this moment and I hope to meet my new friends in the future again. 

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