Carolyn's Journal

Carolyn has arrived at Kagoshima airport safe and sound. After long flights, her journey towards cultural encounters has just begun!
12月2日午前8時40分 キャロリンは無事、鹿児島空港へ到着しました。12月16日までの約2週間、鹿児島県姶良市に滞在し、日本の家庭生活や学校生活を体験します。

December 1 (Mon)

Today was a very busy day. During the late evening my older brother, my sister-in-law, my mother, and my best friend went to San Francisco with me, I was nervous about flying alone and going through the Tokyo airport by myself, but they made me feel better. Eventually we had to go our separate ways, and a few hours after that I got on my first flight. It was long, and it was dark outside for so long, but I was able to get a bit of sleep on the plane, and I was even able to watch some Kuroko no Basuke on the plane! When we landed in Tokyo, it was starting to become lighter outside so that made me happy. I got to my terminal and made my flight to Kagoshima, I'm happy that employees could help me while I felt lost.

December 2 (Tue)

I got to meet my host family today! They were waiting for me outside of the baggage claim area and they were very nice to me. We drove to their home and relaxed for a moment, then my sister and brothers had to go to their schools, I'll be going with my sister Sumire to her school tomorrow, I'm very excited! Also my host father had to go to work, so I spent some quality time with my host mother today, it was very fun and she made me feel very welcome. I especially enjoyed going through my English-Japanese dictionary while she went through some old English learning books and we studied each other's languages.

December 3 (Wed)

Today was my first day at my host sister's High School, I enjoyed it very much! The teachers were very nice and polite, and the students seemed very eager to get to know me. It was a very exciting day! I also went to a hospital later that day because of a cut I got on my ankle before I left for Japan. The cut became infected, but I got some medicine for it. I really enjoyed going to Sumire's school, and I'm excited to go back!= 

December 4 (Thu)

Today was a very nice day, my ankle was feeling much better when I woke up. For breakfast I had onigiri and chocolate bread, it was very tasty! It was raining when I got to school, and it was pretty cold today! I studied my Japanese-English dictionary a lot today, and wrote about a page and a half of notes. Today Sumire's class had PE, so they got to play their choice of basketball, softball, or volleyball. I just watched because of my ankle, and because my host family recommended that I should take it easy for now, so I watched the students who chose basketball. It was still fun though! Later we had lunch, and I gave out introduction cards to my classmates. They seemed very happy to receive them! After lunch and cleaning time, we had physics and biology. I mostly studied my Japanese-English dictionary during physics, but in biology there was a project where the class split into groups, and I got to help my group. The project had something to do with the different reactions of water when adding different things, the re-occuring thing was liver. Most of the time there were lots of bubbles, one time it even overflowed out of the test tube! It was very fun! After school I went to the hospital to re-apply the antibiotics, then when I got home I rested for a while, then I watched Kiseijū Sei no Kakuritsu with Sumire and Eisho. I enjoyed watching it with them very much.= 

December 5 (Fri)

This morning, I had to give a little speech in front of the teachers at Kajiki High School to introduce myself to them, but it was requested that the introduction be in Japanese. It was only a few sentences, but I was still nervous about it. Luckily I was able to memorize what I wanted to say and I did well! Also, before school I made onigiri with Sumire, so I had onigiri for lunch! I enjoyed it very much! Later in the day, I attended the school's home economics class. And after the home economics class, we split into groups and got to cook hot cakes. The first few were flat and looked kind of like grilled corn tortillas, and tasted like waffles! The next few turned out rather ugly, but our group was still having lots of fun and laughing at the results. My group was very nice and I hope that I get to work with them again next Friday!=

December 6 (Sat)

My first Saturday in Japan was very exciting! In the morning Sumire, my host father, and I went to Mosu Burger for breakfast, I got a burger and a melon soda, they were both very tasty! Then we went home and Sumire, Eisho, and I walked to the community center. Sumire and I read a book each out loud to the children, both of the books were in English. The rest of the time we spent at the community center, the kids learned about the solar system. When Sumire and I were about to go because we were gonna take the train soon, we were given some snacks to take with us! It was very nice. It was my first time riding a train, so I was excited and nervous. It was shaky but okay, I didn't expect it to be so fast. After reaching our destination, we met up with some of Sumire's friends; Rina, Kizuna, & Shūka, and we had lunch at a conveyer belt sushi restaurant! I thought it was very cool! We ate a lot and had a lot of fun! After eating we walked to karaoke. Then more of Sumire's classmates joined us for karaoke! We sang many songs, I think I did better at the English songs that I sang, but I still enjoyed the Japanese songs that I sang. After karaoke we went to a shopping center and took many purikura pictures, they were very cute! Then we got on the train and went back, and my host mother picked Sumire and I up. When we got home I saw that iCarly was on the TV with a Japanese dub, I was happily surprised and was very happy to watch it. Today was a very memorable day, and I am looking forward to tomorrow.

December 7 (Sun)

This morning we woke up early for Taiga's track meet. For breakfast we had some McDonalds, and we watched a bit of Tom and Jerry in the car. While Taiga practiced, my host father, Sumire, Eisho, and I walked around. Then we watched the track meet when it was time for the male junior high school students to run. After the track meet, we drove to the active volcano Sakurajima. Then we got on the Sakurajima Ferry and went to the City of Kagoshima. It was my first time on a ferry, so I was nervous. Also, because I have a fear of heights, I was nervous when going up and down the stairs on the sides of the ferry, but I still had fun. Just as we got to the city, Eisho noticed some dolphins that were jumping out of the water by the bridges, so we went over to see if we could see the dolphins more. It turns out that it was a dolphin show, and we arrived just before feeding time, so we got to watch the dolphins do many tricks for fish! It was very fun to watch! Then we went to a ramen restaurant for lunch, it was very delicious! Also, I think I'm getting a bit better at using chopsticks. After lunch we went to an anime store, there were so many different things that were very cheap compared to their prices in America. I bought many things for me and for my friends for when I get back home. The anime store was very big, and many people were inside. After I payed for everything that I chose, we drove back home, and on the way got some crepes. We relaxed at home for a bit, then we went to a Japanese hot spring. I had never been to a hot spring before, it was very relaxing and a nice experience. Today was a very busy day, but also a very memorable day.=

December 8 (Mon)

Today was a fairly calm day to rest after yesterday, Sumire and I went to school and I helped out a bit in the English class. Today I also got to play basketball for PE because my ankle was feeling better, I'm still surprised that they don't have PE every day at school. I am not very good at basketball, or many other sports, but I still enjoy it. I had fun playing with some of the other girls from Sumire's class, Himawari was very helpful with translating. She is also very good at basketball! After basketball, we had lunch then finished the rest of the classes for the day, everyone in the class seemed very tired by the last class. After school Sumire and I walked home and we relaxed a bit before eating dinner. Then my host mother, Sumire, and I went to the supermarket so I could buy some ingredients for a recipe, which I plan to make for the family tomorrow. I also bought some more presents for my family and friends for when I get back to America. I'm having so much fun here in Japan, I don't like to think about when I need to go back to America.=

December 9 (Tue)

It's now been a week since I arrived in Kagoshima, it feels like the time is going by so fast.. This morning Sumire and I went to school and attended our classes as usual. For lunch today it was different though, because we ate in the cafeteria today. It was rather empty for a while, and after we started eating, more students started coming in. I had udon noodles for lunch, they were very tasty, I think it was much better than what I would eat at my high school for lunch. I think I enjoy eating in the classroom more. Today we also had dance class, I didn't dance, but I saw many of the other girls in my class practice their dance routines. Sumire's group danced to Never Had a Friend Like Me, from Aladin. It was very fun to watch! I also told the girls about how the singer, Robin Williams, was rather well known in America. After school we went home and I got started on the dessert I had planned for the family, it turned out very tasty, but I accidentally misread the measuring spoon and put in 2 tablespoons of baking powder rather than 2 teaspoons of baking powder, so it overflowed out of the pan. The blonde brownies were rather ugly by the end, but my host family said it was still "Oishii"!=

December 10 (Wed)

Today, rather than going to Sumire's High School, I went to Taiga's Junior High School. The buildings seemed similarly designed, though the ceilings were taller and the hallways and classrooms were more colorful. As soon as I entered the school building, nearly all of the female students stopped and stared at me, they seemed either surprised or happy. All of the attention made me feel a little self-conscious, but it was okay. After the first class, I went to Taiga's PE class, which was judo. Taiga couldn't participate because of his hurt knee, so he and I and some other boys watched the other classmates practice judo. The boys who were sitting with us were very funny and silly, they reminded me a lot of my own classmates from my middle school. After a few more classes, we had lunch. The lunch routine was different at the middle school, food was served by the students, and everyone had the same food. After lunch I got to take some pictures around the school, I'm happy about that. Then we had cleaning time and we had a few more classes, then school ended. After we got home, we turned on the tv and watched some cartoons. The first one had a villain who was using baking powder to make things bloated and ugly, we all laughed very hard because of yesterday's baking incident. =

December 11 (Thu)

Today was my last day attending Taiga's middle school, it was very nice. First we had Japanese class, I got to practice calligraphy with the class. I wrote the Japanese word for rabbit with ink on a post card, and I got to put korilakkuma stickers on it. Calligraphy was hard for me, but I think it is still very pretty. Later I attended a home economics class, and after that we practiced using chopsticks and we watched a video about different ways to cut food using knives. After that we had lunch, it was very good. I had soup and bread. After lunch I was interviewed by a newspaper journalist for a news article, I was pretty surprised and a bit nervous, but I think it went okay. Then the male students had judo and the female students had gymnastics. My ankle was feeling bad again today, so I watched and took pictures. Then Taiga's class performed the Oklahoma mixer for me, they were very good! And we played Daruma-san gakoronnda, it's a Japanese game that is a lot like 'Red Light, Green Light'. After that I played some volleyball. I'm pretty tired today, I hope my ankle feels better tomorrow.

December 12 (Fri)

Today I went back to Kajiki High School with Sumire, I was happy to see my previous classmates again. After English class today, I got to give a presentation on something about American culture. So I taught the class about the Pledge of Allegiance, and the Star Spangled Banner. I think it went okay, but I had some trouble at times. Later I got to have cooking class again like last Friday, and I got to give introduction cards to the students I befriended. Together, we made Japanese bento lunches. I liked the beef spinach wraps the best. After school Sumire, my host mother, and I went to the book store and I bought some manga. I'm a bit jealous that manga is considerably cheaper compared to what it costs in the States, but at least I get the chance to buy manga here.

December 13 (Sat)

Today was a very exciting day! We had to wake up early because we were going to drive for a few hours, so I was a bit groggy in the morning. The drive was very nice, we listened to music and looked at the scenery. Then we made it to Kumamoto, and we went to a movie theater. Our movie didn't start for a while, so we spent time in the movie theater's arcade which was very huge! Taiga and my host father were very good at the claw machine games! Then we saw the movie 'Kiseijyuu', it was very good! I didn't have any problems with understanding the movie (mostly because I had seen many episodes of the anime), though I didn't like that it was 'to be continued' at the end. Because I won't be able to see the sequel in April. Other than that, it was really good. The story was very interesting and the graphics were amazing! After the movie we went to our hotel, it's very nice. After settling in a bit, we went to an anime shop and I bought more souvenirs. Then we had dinner at a ramen shop. The ramen was tasty, and for dessert we got drinks and doughnuts. Tomorrow we are going sight-seeing around Kumamoto, I'm very excited!

December 14 (Sun)

After breakfast this morning, we walked to Kumamoto castle. It was very beautiful, and it stood out a lot from the city. We toured around a bit for a while, then we walked up the stairs and went to the top of the castle, it was very, very tall. I have a small fear of heights, so I was nervous. But it was okay, and at least it had a nice view. Afterwards we did some shopping, and my host siblings and I played air hockey! Taiga and I were on a team against Sumire and Eisho, it was very fun! After that we had some lunch, then we drove back home. It was a long drive, and we were all very tired. After we relaxed at home for a bit, my host father, Sumire, and I went to the super market and I bought some Japanese snacks for my family and friends! I think I am going to be tired tomorrow at school.

December 15(Mon)

Today, I was very tired. The classes went on as normal today, though I couldn't help but keep thinking about how I am leaving tomorrow. For sports class, I got to watch Sumire play softball. It was pretty fun to watch, I was a bit surprised that the boys would play soccer and the girls would play softball, but no boys played softball and no girls played soccer. I think the same rule applies as with judo and dancing. After PE we had lunch, then we had a few more classes. Then the class threw a party for me during the last class of the day! They had organized some presentations on different Japanese things; like origami, calligraphy, Japanese hospitality, and eshiritori. Then they gave me some presents, and we took pictures together. I get to go back to school tomorrow morning, but at lunch time I'm going home to start packing. I am going to miss Japan very much, I really wish I could stay here. But I am so, so happy that I got to come here. I will never forget my time here, and I will strive to come back again.=

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