An Inspirational Summer

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A Look Back

New Perspectives: Japan (NP:J) goes beyond a typical study abroad program, allowing American school groups studying the Japanese language to immerse themselves in the culture through carefully selected study days in Tokyo and Kyoto, a full week living with a host family and attending a Japanese school, and trying traditional cultural activities such as flower arrangement, tea ceremony, or making the famous Japanese plastic food models.

Led by their Japanese teachers, 17 school groups (over 160 students) came from around the U.S., from Hawaii to Maryland, and stayed with Japanese families from as far south as the tropical islands of Okinawa to the still-recovering Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture in northeastern Japan.

This past summer's groups began their immersive adventure in the bustling metropolis of Tokyo while staying at the original 1964 Olympic Village. The students expressed their delight at the range of drinks available in vending machines, convenience stores, and clean and punctual train system.

After a homestay orientation covering cultural Do’s and Don’ts, each school group took a shinkansen (bullet train) or plane to their host community—their new home for a full week. Each host community planned different activities for the American students, but most host schools encouraged participation in cultural activities such as taiko drumming, archery, or calligraphy, as well as visits with local elementary schools and kindergartens, field trips, and talent shows.

“I felt like a celebrity,” many a student expressed. “My classmates said I looked like Justin Bieber and kept asking me to autograph things for them.” Some groups even made it into the local newspapers! After tearful goodbyes, the final leg of the trip was spent exploring the cultural capital, Kyoto, and neighboring areas of Western Japan.

Another successful NP:J summer in the books...

—Cherrie Rhodes, Program Assistant (Seattle/Tokyo Offices)