Japanese student settles into Saratoga, misses home

September 4, 2009 — by Karen Lyu and Karthik Sreedhara

One of the first things new student junior Reina Muroka noticed when she first arrived in California was how amazingly dark it was at night.

“In Japan, everything’s all illuminated. It’s really bright. You come here at 8 [p.m], and everything’s all dark,” she said.

Muroka transferred here this year after her father got a new job. She was formerly a student at the American School of Japan but had also previously attended international schools in Hong Kong and Shang Hai.

“[In international schools], there are lots of people,” said Muroka. “We all move around a lot. I mainly moved around Asia [and] I have never lived in the US.”

While Muroka said adjusting to the school has not been too challenging, she admits that the homework overwhelms her.

“Everyone’s been really nice,” said Muroka. “I like the school, [but] the classes are harder. It’s junior year [and we have] AP’s. It’s something I expected [though],” said Muroka.

Despite being in a new environment, Muroka has found her own way to fit in: her love for playing the violin. When in Japan, she won a prestigious nationwide award and was part of an orchestra there. She is currently trying out for the San Francisco Symphony and has also been appointed as a concert master in the school’s advanced orchestra.

Although Muroka is starting to find her niche at school, she says she misses everything about Japan, especially the easily accessible transportation in Japan and all the television shows she enjoyed watching there.

“[In Japan], there were these TV shows that were really stupid, but fun,” she said. “I think American TV is really boring.”

Muroka plans on staying at SHS until she finishes her senior year and is considering going to college in the U.S. as well.

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