Near the end of my sixth week in Japan, my host sister, Yu Miamori, and I were at a photo booth in a Tokyo mall. We took several pictures together and as we were decorating them she wrote "sisters" in Japanese on one photo. The then asked me, "How do I spell "sisters" in English?"
I don't have a biological sister in America. The bond between sisters is amazing and unbreakable. Though I may not have a sister at home, I do have a sister, Yu (which is quiet confusing if we speak in English), in Japan. The Miamori family of Okazaki, Japan accepted me into their family when I travelled to Japan as an exchange student in 2009. This summer was packed full of new experiences and life-changing lessons. Being an exchange student is a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience another culture; but I got to experience Japan.
â–º Quarter Finalist 2011 Teen Travel Writing Scholarship
Japan is a nation of honour, peacefulness and tranquility. The tradition of honouring your family has passed the test of time. Students study hard to get good jobs, all to honour their family. Everything in nature shows the inner peace we can all experience if we simply search for it. "Be a good person and do good deeds", that is what the Japanese live by.
The best part of being an exchange student is that you get to live and experience the culture one hundred percent. Everyday weekday I went to school. My bike was blue and it had a basket and a bell. After forty-five minutes of intense terrain biking, I would arrive at Okasha High School, where my sister and I attended school. Though my Japanese was minimal, at best, I was able to assist my class in learning English. Everyone I spoke to wanted to learn English and hear stories about America. While I was glad to tell them about my homeland, I wanted to learn more about Japan. Eventually, my friends and I developed a half English/half Japanese language that we communicated with. If I had one wish in the world, it would be to understand all languages. But there are two languages that are universal: music and love.
First, let’s discuss music. I have played the piano ever since I was old enough to sit upright. Yu has played the piano ever since she was old enough to sit upright. We live on different sides of the planet, yet we still love to play the same instrument and the same music. She even played “Georgia On My Mind” by Ray Charles while I was there!
G-d’s love for each person is so vast that our minds cannot understand it. How could a perfect G-d love an imperfect me? G-d does not care if we are American or Japanese. He loves us all. While living in Japan, I didn’t get the opportunity to go to a church, but I learned a lot about the religion of my host family. Ergo, I learned a lot about my personal faith. Living in a Christian home in America, I was taught to trust G-d and my salvation in the Messiah, Jesus. During the festivals when ancestors’ spirits returned home, my faith was tested immensely. Fear would take over when spirits were said to be present. But with the comfort that came from my Protector, I was able to sleep through the night. This experience has forever changed the way I look at fear in my life. G-d’s creation is the universe. Travel to see all that He made and praise him for His creativity.
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