Shuji, St. Germain, and Sashimi

Here are two student observations that reflect our most recent days at Kichijo and evenings with host families. Enjoy!

From Meghan Keating:

I can’t believe that it is already the end of our fourth day here in Tokyo, the time has really flown by! Today we spent the day at Kichijo learning traditional Japanese calligraphy and origami, as well as attending classes with our school buddies. In calligraphy, we practiced writing our names and numbers, and learned the techniques and traditions that go along with it. It is a required class for all students at Kichijo and Joshigakuin and my host student, Akane, says that it is her favorite class and that she started when she was just six years old. We had an hour of free time after lunch, so we went to the St. Germain bakery about a mile away from the school and treated ourselves to doughnuts, cinnamon rolls, breads and amazing sweets. In the afternoon, I joined the volleyball team with Marissa, Haley and Olwyn. The girls at Kichijo are insanely good, but they were so kind and willing to help us learn. It was definitely one of my favorite moments of the trip thus far. All of the girls at Kichijo are extremely kind and welcoming. They love talking to us about our hobbies and school life at Porter’s. My host sister and I have become so close in the few days that we have known each other, we have so many similar interests and we love listening to Taylor Swift on the train ride to and from school and watching iCarly together when we get home. I was very nervous for my homestay, but the experience has been incredible and irreplaceable. It has broadened my perspective and deepened my understanding of Japanese lifestyle and customs. Though I have traveled abroad with my family many times, this is the first time I have felt truly immersed in the culture of a country. Tomorrow we are off to the Mori Digital Design teamLab Design Museum, and this weekend we all set off with our host students to explore Tokyo. I have already made such amazing memories with the students at Kichijo and Porter’s, and am looking forward to the rest of my time in Japan.


Shuji instruction

Intense concentration

Jenna and Meghan walking home from school with their host sisters

Meghan and her host sister making dumplings!

On the way to Kichijo School from Nishi-Ogikubo Station


From Cici Barton:

This is the third day I have woken up a minute before my alarm goes off at 6:45 where my host sister Maasa comes in at 6:46 and I get up to go brush my teeth at 6:47 where my brother called me to tell me about his hockey game at 6:50 which was about 5pm at home. Maasa and I leave every morning at 7:30. She has me on the most consistent time schedule ever. I don’t remember the last time I have left my house or dorm at school at one exact time for this many days consecutively.

Okay, so today in Japan, to get to the good stuff, I got to school dropped off my coat in my locker got a matcha latte with Marley from a vending machine then went to my home room (1-1) and met up with my buddies, just to come back down to our room for reflection where we eventually got to everyone with PenX. I went to PE class for the first time since 8th grade and played volleyball which I’ll admit is not my strong suit, but I managed to keep the ball up for the most part. I almost hit Meghan a few times, but other than that I’d call it a success and a solid contribution. After PE we came back to the room and learned how to write our name and numbers in calligraphy. Calligraphy was surprisingly difficult but still very relaxing. I wrote out lots of numbers on old news papers and my name on fancy paper which hopefully wasn’t wasteful. I’m proud of my effort there—I learned something new. We also folded lots of origami kimonos, cranes, flowers, and Raccoon dogs or dog raccoons, whatever that is, with more success than the calligraphy in my case. Afterwards five of us went up to the cafe with our buddies to eat lunch. I had udon noodles again which might be the best I’ve ever had. I finished the school day with music class. After school a lot of us went out to Kichijoji and got pancakes which was delicious and so fun! I think we all bonded, and I loved meeting Noknoi’s host sister and I think it allowed my host sister to make new friends in other grades which made me happy. I just finished eating dinner and I’m about to read. I ate a lot of pistachios, wasabi peas, prunes–oddly enough–and sashimi, while having interesting conversations with my host family. We discussed oat cakes, my global studies homework, and hemp batteries all conversions that are as abstract as my dinner decisions. My host mother boiled tea for me and my host father showed me songs he likes on the CD player. This trip has been wonderful so far. Like anything it has ups and downs, but I’m so happy I’m here. My host family is so sweet, and Tokyo is incredible— It just keeps getting better! Stay tuned for videos and vlogs :))))

Harajuku district

Hedgehog cafe!




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