Tag Archives: celebrity
Flag of Japan

Felt like a Celebrity



It was my first time really away from home.  It was exciting!  I was never the homesick type of kid.  I was eager.  I was willing to try everything once [although] I didn’t like everything I tried.  I embraced it all.  I tried to be respectful to customs.


They sent us to Seattle first with hundreds of YFU kids there [for a weekend] orientation.  That was sort of like a summer camp, getting to know the kids and learning all the rules and regulations.  In Tokyo, the next day, I got on the bullet train to Hiroshima and that’s when I met the family.


Bullet train, Mt. Fuji

Bullet train, Mt. Fuji



They were there with a little sign waiting for me.  You know it’s going to be awkward because they are strangers, and you weren’t sure if they would speak your language.  I had learned how to say pleased to meet you, so I ran up to them and I bowed and I said “xxx” and they were all giggling and excited that I was speaking Japanese.  They gave me little gifts and right away everyone wanted to touch me.  I think it was just because I’m really pale-skinned.  They whole time I was in Japan everyone wanted to touch me—touch my skin, touch my hair.  You felt kind of like a celebrity, but it was more of a novelty.  They hadn’t seen a lot of Americans.  They gave me gifts right away and hugged me.


Then everyone pulled out the dictionary.  [Laughs]  We all carried dictionaries with us everywhere we went.