Japan - My Family Travels

I was born into a Military family. That meant lots of moving , getting to know different people, and learning how to quickly adjust into a new environment. I was born in the United States and by the time I was two I had lived in two different states and a new country. At the age of two my father found out that he was going to be stationed in Japan. My mother  wasn’t the type of woman who was afraid to try new things so along with my father, she packed my bags as well as my big brothers and we were headed to a land that was extremely new to us. I lived there for half of my life, eight years, and loved every minute of it. Being so young when I moved there, I now know Japan as my first true home. I learned the ways of the Japanese people and grew to love them.  My mother felt that if we were going to live in a different country, it was her duty to immerse her children into the world of the Japanese people. From the time we got there to the time we left I was enrolled in Japanese school. When I started kindergarten there I was three years old. I learned the language, the culture, and the traditions that to this day I call my own.  At each school that I went to in Japan I was not only the first American to attend the schools, but I was also the first African American female there.  After Japanese school my mother homeschooled me in English. I cannot say that I loved that part of it, going to school twice in one day, but now I am glad that I was even given such an opportunity. My closes friends were Japanese and our parents were also close. We would go to each other’s houses and learn about their customs. I remember one year when it was my Mother’s birthday we went to a good friends house and they had cooked fish. Now in Japan they season it and just cook it. They do not remove the head or take out the insides, they leave that part for you to do. Since it was my mother’s big day she was the guest of honor and in Japan the guest of honor gets the head. I was about five years old when that happened but the look on my mother’s face when she looked at that head and saw its eyes looking back is something that I will never forget. To us it was weird and gross, but to them it was part of their everyday life.  When they came over to our house and saw that we ate carrots raw they were shocked. We never thought of it being such a big deal because it was an everyday thing, but to them it was new and some were unsure about trying it. It just went to show that things across the ocean are extremely different.   Living in Japan taught me a new language and most importantly it taught me to love people from different backgrounds and to except their ways of life. It maybe cliché to say, but it made me who I am today.  

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