Japanese students visit SHS

March 31, 2010 — by Kim Tsai

Among the swarm of students leaving the school on March 25, five students and a teacher from Niigata, Japan, waited in the Japanese classroom to meet their host sisters and brothers for the first time. For most of the Japanese students, it was also their first time being in America.

The foreign exchange students; Urara Fujita, Ryuuma Ikeura, Reo Kashima, Mitsuko Kato and Chino Masatoshi, came with their teacher, Hideo Ono. Their respective host sisters and brothers were sophomores Isabel McPherson, Heather Persson, Danielle Hata, Stephanie Ong and Ariel Cheng and freshman Michal Kranz. On Friday, the exchange students “shadowed” their host brother or sister to see what classes were like.

Afterwards, they spent the day with their host family and got a feel for California.

Seventeen-year-old Kashima said, “The thing that was really different was the cars! [American cars] drive on the other side of the road.”

Then, on Saturday, the exchange students and Japanese 2, 3H and AP classes went ice-skating at the Ice Center in the Cupertino Square Shopping Mall in Cupertino, slipping frequently.

“This is my first time ice-skating,” Masatoshi said. “It’s very hard, but very fun.”

The host sisters and brothers taught the exchange students the basics of skating, having a blast. They posed for pictures on the ice.

After exhausting themselves ice-skating, everyone gathered in the food courts to eat. Japanese teacher Yuko Aoki brought pizza for the students and goodie bags for the Japanese exchange students.

The rest of the day was spent having fun in the mall and spending time with host families. The exchange students spent one last day with the host families on Sunday before leaving in the morning on the following day.

The host brothers and sisters said they had a good experience hosting.

“My sisters hosted people when they were in Japanese 2 and it looked really fun. I wanted a Japanese friend too,” Hata said.

Most of the difficulties for the host brothers and sisters seemed to lie in the communication.
“It was hard to see if they needed anything,” Kranz said. “Also, we just kind of had to work out what would happen. Before school, it would take longer for me or for [Ono] to get ready so we had to adjust to each other.”

For the foreign exchange students, Ikeura said the hardest part about coming to America was the immigration process. “[The regulations] were very troublesome,” Ikeura said, “but it was tolerable because the people [in America] are very nice and friendly.”

After leaving Saratoga, the Japanese foreign exchange students went to San Francisco to sight-see and then left to go back to Japan on Wednesday. They stayed in America for a total of seven days.

“Everyone is very kind,” Ikeura said. “I want to come back again.”

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