Sunday, April 05, 2009

Cultural Exchange

I've clearly been away from this blog for far too long! Now that I've had a couple of weeks to think about it, I want to tell you about our Japanese exchange student, Natsumi.

It started with my daughter's interest in anime and all things Japanese. She took Japanese language classes at the local community college during a couple of summers and eagerly joined the Anime Club when she got to high school. When plans were made for a few students to go to Japan and for Japanese students to come here in exchange, a Japan Club was established to sponsor this activity. My daughter helped teach her fellow students a little of the language as they made plans for the trip. Her experience in Japan last summer was unforgettable, and not really my story to tell, so I won't.

A couple of weeks ago, we were honored to be a host family for a student from Japan, Natsumi. She stayed with us for one week and quickly became another member of the family. Attending school with my daughter each day and joining us in all our activities, we tried to give her a little glimpse of life in America. She helped me make a few pocket mirrors and pack up some Etsy orders. She always offered to help with meal preparation and clean up. She watched a little American Idol and played some Wii and had a fun afternoon of karaoke at a friend's house. She even got to meet Big Sister when she was home from college one afternoon.

Natsumi represented her country and her family well and we have missed her! The morning they left was a teary one as all the host families and students gathered at the bus on the school parking lot. Posing for photographs with new friends, autographing t-shirts in English and Japanese, and hugs and hugs and hugs and finally...goodbye!

Thank you, Natsumi. I'm glad you came to our family.


  1. What a wonderful story to wake up to. You must be so proud of your daughter, and her ability to reach out to, and touch those of other cultures. This is truly what America is all about.
    Cheers to you, your daughter, and your daughter from Japan.

  2. Oh what fun! I have a soft spot for all things japanese also, including my Mother-in-law! :D

  3. Great post..I love anything Japanese.. We lived in Northen Japan for alittle over a year..I would love to go back again...

  4. If you can't tell my by screenname, I love anything having to do with cultural exchange and folks really getting to know another segment of live. It sounds like a wonderful experience - great post!