1:35 PM

1 Week!!!

I leave in one week and I couldn't be more excited! I will hopefully be able to see Yuri, the girl from Suwa that my family hosted in March at the airport. I miss her and all the other girls we've hosted so much! It'll be great if I do get to see her there. I leave on the 17th and fly to LA, and from there we go as a group to Tokyo. Time has flown right by since March and I still feel unprepared, but at the same time I'm excited. I'm a little nervous because I know I won't be able to understand anyone but I think I'll have fun while nodding and smiling nonetheless. Akita, here I come!

4:59 PM

Graduation



I graduated yesterday and it's such an exciting feeling to be done with high school (although I'm going back there in a few months in Japan as a second year student). The after party was fun as well as the Senior Picnic. It was nice to spend more time with my friends before a lot of them go off to college and I go off to Japan!

4:56 PM

Prom


Last week we had prom and it was so much fun! I went with my friends Colleen, Amera, Nikki, Ali, and their dates. It was so funny to see everyone all dressed up and so formal. We went to Windows Off Washington above the City Museum and the atmosphere of the place was so nice. It was a really interesting venue. I suppose I am glad that I got to go because it really is a once in a lifetime thing although it isn't significant, it was nice to go. Having dinner and talking with friends while being all dressed up was fun, and although I didn't dance I had a nice time overlooking St. Louis City and the City Museum from the balcony and taking pictures.

4:46 PM

1000 Paper Cranes

1000 origami cranes
After learning about the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and how it cancelled my year-long exchange to Japan, all I wanted to do was help Japan. My japanese teacher and I along with Japanese club and others decided to make 1000 paper cranes in honor of bringing Japan peace. We started a fundraiser at my school to raise money for the Red Cross for Japan  and we raised over $1000 for Japan!!!!!!!!!!! I was so excited. We made little bookmarks with phrases like "pray for Japan" on them with little paper cranes and gave them away to people who donated at lunch. The 1000 paper cranes went to the classroom that donated the most - and of course it was ours! (The japanese room). They look so beautiful all together and even more so knowing how many hours it took to make all of them.

4:40 PM

March 2011

Well, a lot happened in March and I cannot believe that I stopped writing in this blog. So much has happened since March! A week before I was scheduled to leave we hosted a girl from Suwa, Japan named Yuri and that was SO much fun. She was the fourth exchange student that we have hosted for a week at a time. So I will put pictures of that adventurous week on here as well as prom, graduation, and so much more! Many posts to come in the next few hours...this blog needs updating!!!

 Connor, Megan, and Yuri at the St. Louis Arch!
 Yuri and I at the farewell party!
 Welcome sign for the foreign exchange students from Suwa!
 Yuri and Aimi made Japanese curry for our family - とてもおいしかっただよ!
Yuri was very good at Japanese calligraphy (書度)so she showed my siblings and I how to write in Japanese calligraphy!

These are just some of the many many things that we did while Yuri stayed with us for a week. We also went shopping, went to school, went to restaurants, went to a party....just so many things and it was such a fun and memorable week! ちょう楽しかった!!!

8:39 PM

In Shock.

I wish this was just a bad dream. I can't believe that the year program for AFS has been cancelled. I was crying just when I thought it would be delayed, but after I got the call I completely broke down. The dream I had for so long was finally coming true, and then it was taken away just like that. I know that this is no one's fault and that there was no way to plan for this and that AFS is just doing what they think is best, and it's understandable. But I had planned on this for so long just as so many of you had, I was graduating early so I was working ahead in school. I was already packing. I had already talked to my host family over email multiple times. Everyone who knew me knew that I was going. I couldn't fathom something like this happening. Now I'm left here, feeling lost. I was all set to go. I will try to go on the semester program, I suppose.

12:07 PM

Oh my!

So as everyone knows and a lot of people are blogging about, Japan was hit by an 8.9 magnitude earthquake as well as a huge tsunami! It seems that Sendai was damaged the worst, but the videos and photos I've seen look awful. My heart goes out to everyone in Japan!!! The exchange student from Suwa that I'm hosting right now for a week was worried because her grandma lives in Sendai! I really hope that my host family is ok, and I think they will be because they're in Akita, but the exchange student from Suwa that I hosted last year messaged me on facebook and said that Akita was affected, and on the news it said that Akita was one of the prefectures where power had been cut off. As soon as I heard about the earthquake I emailed my host brother asking if their family and Akita was ok, and I anxiously await a reply. I wonder (like everyone else) what AFS is going to do about this situation and if the departure will be postponed. This is so awful! Luckily everyone I know that is in Japan was ok (because they are in Suwa) and my japanese teacher's family was ok, but I really want to know how badly Akita was affected. The quake hit the hardest in the northeastern part of Honshu and Akita is in the northwest, so hopefully the damage is not too bad.

9:32 AM

two weeks to go!

I can't believe that in only two weeks I will be on my way to Japan. It's crazy! (I should probably start packing...-.-;;) I leave on March 21st and then I spend the night in L.A. for an orientation there. The day after that everyone heads to the airport and boards the long flight to Tokyo. My orientation will be in Tokyo since I'm living in Akita. I'm really excited to meet everyone else, although I'm worried that I will be horrible at speaking Japanese compared to everyone else. And we're supposed to have a talent to show in the talent show that represents our country, but I can't think of anything I can do well as a talent that represents America!!! Anyone have any ideas? I'm starting to stress out about leaving!!

12:16 AM

Friends!

Last weekend my best friends decided to throw me a surprise party, which was so awesome! My friend Squee took total advantage of my gullibility and convinced me to go with her and my sister to a hotel, and then, SURPRISE! It was great, and I definitely wasn't expecting it. It meant so much to me that my friends care enough to throw me a going-away party, and I just wanted to share how much I love all of them :D d'aww.

1:15 PM

Akita!

So, I thought I'd post a little bit of information on where I'll be living and where I'll be going to school and whatnot. I think it will be more interesting if I have pictures! :D I'll be going to Akita Minami Senior High School: http://www.akitaminami-h.akita-pref.ed.jp/ , And just so you can see on a map:

I hope I find out more about my family and school soon. I have been emailing my host dad and host brother, in ONLY JAPANESE! I felt really proud of myself. XD And I've been emailing the exchange student from Japan which I will host for a week starting FRIDAY in only Japanese as well! I love getting so much practice with it!

8:11 AM

One Month Away~!

It's surreal to think that it just one month I will be on my way to Japan. I know that first I'll be in LA for a few days, but still. I have never been to LA so that is also exciting, even though I'll only see the airport and a hotel! It all seems like it's coming up so soon. Not to mention, the week before I leave my family and I are hosting a girl from Suwa, Japan for a week through the Suwa-St. Louis Sister City Committee program, although I am unsure of the formal name of the program, however my school always participates in it. We have hosted someone since I was a freshman, so this will be our fourth time, and every time is so memorable! It will be quite stressful since I'm leaving so soon after though. The weekend the girl we're hosting leaves is also the weekend of Kawa Kon and my grandfather's 80th birthday party, so there is A LOT going on! And then the weekend after that will be my graduation/ going-away party, and then I leave on Monday! I still think I am so unprepared, but I've been thinking more and more about what I need to do before I go. I looking forward to it so much, but I'm also quite nervous. I'll be in Akita before I know it!

12:05 AM

Host Family~!

Today I learned who my host family is and where I'll be staying! I know I haven't used this blog in awhile but I didn't want to spam it with unnecessary things before I got to Japan. However, learning who my host family will be is definitely newsworthy! I am excited to say that I will have 3 siblings and I will be living in Akita in Akita prefecture! I just emailed my host father and brother my self introduction, and hopefully my Japanese is legible! I've scoured the interwebs for information on Akita and have found out a lot about it. They are known for their rice, sake, and beautiful women. The scenery there is absolutely gorgeous!! I've heard that it is also very cold and snowy because it is near the mountains as well as the ocean. There are a lot of festivals, most of them taking place over summer. I really want to try Kiritanpo, a food specific to the Akita area involving mashed rice cooked on cedar rods I believe. The festival that seems really interesting to me is the "Oga Namahage" festival, where men in Akita dress as demons and scare little children into obeying their parents. I also learned that Akita has a dialect: Tohoku dialect, although Sensei said that they also speak standard Japanese, so that's good! I'm getting more and more excited the closer it gets to March. I can't wait to be living with my new family in Akita!