Participants of the TOMODACHI Japan Junior Society Junior Fellows Program Return After Eye-Opening Experience
On July 24, 2014, ten American high school students participating in the TOMODACHI Japan Junior Society Junior Fellows Program returned to the U.S. having completed a three-week cultural immersion in Japan. This program consisted of some sightseeing around Japan, a homestay, and an independent research project based on Japan.
The students arrived in Tokyo on July 3, and had a hectic first few days meeting their Japanese counterparts and went sightseeing in various locations around Japan, including Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima, and Nara. The participants then commenced their homestays and began working on their various research projects.
The homestay portion lasted ten days, during which they attended classes with their host siblings while undertaking their respective independent research projects. For many of the students this was their first time in Japan, and to live in a Japanese home, eat Japanese food and be exposed to the Japanese language was an incredibly eye-opening experience for all of them. Through this, they were not only able to learn a lot about Japan, but were also able to look at themselves and their own country through a different lens.
The students had a wide variety of interests, and this was reflected in the diversity of their project ideas. One student, Paul Lee, did a photography project titled ‘Humans of Japan’, inspired by Brandon Stanton’s ‘Humans of New York’, whereby he approached complete strangers, took a photograph of them, and captioned the photograph with a quote from the subject. Another student, Allene Shaw, did some research into advertising in Japan, and compared the differences in the different styles of marketing in Japan and the States.
The students rounded off their time in Japan with a retreat to Hakone with their Japanese host siblings, where they enjoyed a retreat and presented their projects to their peers. They arrived home exhausted but enthusiastic about Japan, and excited to spread the word about their experiences, as well as to stay connected and invested in US-Japan relations going forward.
- To find out more about the TOMODACHI Japan Junior Society Junior Fellows Program, click here