By Juliana Franco (Japanese at CHEC)
My trip to Japan was a life changing experience. I got to see many phenomenal things I don’t see on a daily basis here in Washington, DC. Personally, this trip taught me a lot about self-respect, being healthy, taking care of myself and others, even if I don’t know them. Japan gave me the opportunity to get on the Shinkansen, which is also known as the bullet train. On our way from Tokyo to Gifu, while being in the bullet train, I got to see many different houses, some were small box houses and other were big houses. I also saw Mount Fuji while we were on the bullet train.
When we got to Gifu, the group of students and I got to go to Sogo High School and everyone was so nice and friendly to us. We received a warm welcome when we arrived at the high school. During our visit, we got to learn cool things like how to write calligraphy, how to play koto, which sounds like a guitar, and how to do archery. We also had very friendly tour guides to show us around the school. By the end of the school tour, we became really close friends with many of the students of Sogo High School. Unfortunately, we had to say goodbye and head our separate ways.
Another experience that taught me a lot about culture in Japan was the home stay. During my home stay with the Saka family, I was honored to be a part of their family and visit places like the Castle Museum, the 100 yen store, and I got to try ramen for the very first time with my homestay family. Japan was a really great and unique experience. I’ve made good friends, I’ve eaten foods I have never eaten before, and I visited many great places. Unfortunately, the trip was too short but I hope to visit Japan later on again in life.