Japan, Land of the Rising Sun, a place where anime fanatics and world travelers dream to go to at least once in their life. That is where I went last year as a student embassador with the People to People Student Ambassador Program, a nationally proclaimed program started by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to bridge the gap between the nation’s youth and international youth.
During my trip to Japan I was expecting a trip full of anime and videogames, which is what Japan is known for nowadays with its technology center Tokyo. But what I got instead was a trip through their culture learning caligraphy, doing tea ceremonies, and visiting cities like Kyoto, the original capital of Japan, and Hiroshima one of the targets of the Atomic Bomb during World War 2. This experience changed how I viewed the world and my country. Especially when I went to Hiroshima and saw all the damage that was done with my own eyes and how much it has changed through peace and prosperity. It went from the barren wasteland that it was the day after the bomb went off to a completely green, peaceful paradise.
Throughout Japan Japanese culture and new age technology intertwined which especially showed in Tokyo where a Buddhist temple full of history right next to a sign for a new anime. But no matter where you went the culture still showed and was prevelent in every city that we visited. Like when we visited Kyoto with their cars and motorcycles on the streets and buildings that have been there for an extremely long time. The scenery everywhere we went was breathtaking as well.
The thing that had the most influence on me would have to have been the stay with a host family. My host family the Kageyama’s. Rumi, Risa, Naho, Sahae, and Yasufumi Kageyama were the family that allowed me to stay in their home and become part of their family. That made me happy to no end. We went shopping and I met all of their friends and family. My host Naho Kageyama even threw a sushi party with her friends for me. I also got to go to middle school with my host and see what school was like. Her classmates all gave me a little gift at the end which I still hold very dearly to me. The final night we went shopping again and went to dinner which was cooked sugared meat dipped in raw eggs. Even if it sounds disgusting it was amazingly delicious. Leaving them the next day was horribly hard but I have never forgot them and they go with me everywhere I go on my cellphone and ipod.
My trip to Japan was amazing and it was the best thing that could happen to me. It changed my view of the world when I saw that children from Japan were exactly the same as we are and they are willing to accept us into our homes. We should learn from them and be generous ourselves. Together we can make the world a better place through children and young adults like us understanding each other better. And not repeating past mistakes is also an important thing to remember too.
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