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McKayla Rodman – Japan


こにちわ! My name is McKayla Rodman. I’m 16 years old and a Sophomore at Buckeye Valley High School. I will be going on exchange to Fukuoka, Japan my junior year! I can barely wait to begin my journey and create many experiences, memories and learn more about myself, and who I want to be. I am a lover of books and writing so I plan to write a lot on my exchange! I also love music and singing, I have been in choir every year that it’s been offered so far (6th-10th grade) and have been memorizing lyrics since I can remember. I currently live in Delaware, Ohio with my mom, dad, brother, and 2 dogs. Japan was my first choice and finding out that’s where I was going was amazing, so much so I started crying. I’m excited to learn more about Japan and what it’s like to like as a student in a family there, how different daily life is. I’m so thankful for this opportunity to travel and learn more about Japan! Someone very close to me told me “It’s pretty hard for us as humans not to reach for the stars” and that’s what I plan to do!

October 1, 2017

The month of September has gone by too quickly! September 2nd was my birthday and I got to spend it will all of my host families and friends! I also became friends with my neighbor and go out walking their dog every so often! September 9th at school for 3 days we had a sports festival! It was sooo fun and I cheered on my class the entire time. It was a great way to start school and make new friends. September 9th my host club also set up a birthday dinner for me and my friend from Australia Matthew. It was a complete suprise and I feel so lucky to be put in the Fukuoka Josei Rotary Club! September 10th I got dressed in a summer kimono and went to watch fire works at a festival with a few Japanese friends. September 12th I had my second rotary meeting and made another speech using new vocabulary I’ve learned since the last meeting. September 14th I went to a festival at a shrine and got to do so many traditions and also see them being done. September 19th-21st I went on a trip with my host mom and her work (she works at a college in Fukuoka) to Yufuin and went to a real onsen and saw many cute small shops in the city, and went to an owl zoo! I pet so many owls and held one on my arm! I also played games in Japanese like “Life” or “Super smash bros” with college students and teachers. And nothing could beat the feeling of waking up in a hotel in the mountains! September 24th I was invited by one of my exchange friends parents to get VIP baseball tickets, we got to see where people were live on tv and radios and we watched the entire game complete with jerseys! And just last Friday, I went to a cat cafe for the first time! I went with a Japanese friend from my school that exchanges to Oregon last year through AFS! This month has been amazing! I feel blessed to be here in an amazing country!

November 1, 2017

The month of October has been my favorite month so far, and there’s good reason why. This month has been full of crazy and amazing adventures I’ve been going on! In the beginning of October I had a Rotary Trip to Nagasaki where we had the opportunity to meet a man who survived the bombing and told us his story, we also went to the Atomic Bomb museum and the Nagasaki Peace Park! On this trip we also went to Huis Ten Bosch! A few days after getting back I also went on a trip with my school to Tokyo, Yokohama, Karuiza, up Mt. Fuji and many other cities on the main land. This trip with the school made making friends so much easier and I now have more friends than I can remember the names of! On this trip my friends and I had lunch on Mount Fuji, ventured through caves, rode bikes around and to big malls, and playing uno at night having what they called “girls talk”, went to onsens and went to cafes and shopped around the biggest China town in Asia and so much more. Spending 5 days with my best friends here was my favorite thing so far. As far as host families I’ve so far had the best experience with mine. The majority of my time here it’s just been my host mom and I which made us very close and she’s always doing things to make sure I’m happy and more than okay! I’ve also been hanging out with friends after school a lot. My best friend and I started talking by bonding over our favorite K-Pop group and now we often get together and rent out a dance room and practice the choreography to our favorite songs by them. The scariest thing on my exchange is thinking about leaving!

December 1, 2017

Hello! The month of November has gone by so quickly! Starting on November 1st, my english class had a halloween party and we all brought halloween hats, headbands, masks and i brought everyone candy! November 2nd i got my first package from home! it was i giant box full to the brim of American snacks and candy i love and have got to share with my friends here! Also on November 2nd i visited our schools English club and we had a halloween party after school! November 3rd I went on a rotary trip to Karatsu Kunchi! it was a really fun festival where we saw traditional japanese festivals and visited shrines! We also had tea ceremony and we even ended up on live tv! November 4th I went out with my host mom and aunt to see temples in my city light up with christmas lights! and after we had dinner and the Hard Rock Cafe in my city Fukuoka. November 12th my friend who went on exchange to america showed me around to all the famous places to visit in Fukuoka and also watched a marathon that went on the same day! While at starbucks we took a picture that ended up on the starbucks japans website! November 18th i went to Marine world with my 3rd host family and spent the whole day with them and watching dolphin shows with my little sister! November 22nd i went out with my friend from school Ami to go see christmas lights, drink hot chocolate, go to a purikura booth and walk around the city! November 23rd i went out with my 4th host family and friends to Dazaifu and saw a bunch of shrines where my 4th host dad works! turns out my fourth host families house is right next to the famous shrines of dazaifu! and November 26th my host mom and host aunt and i all went to Ainoshima! aka cat island! it as super fun and the island was full of cats! This month has been just as exciting and full of adventure. Ive yet to have a dull day where nothing crazy has happened. Being a foreigner in a school uniform in japan is definitely a rare sight to see. I’ve had pictures taken of me, people who ask for pictures with me and this month strangers have given me the craziest things, fro chocolate to fruit on the train. I’m sure i’ll have the craziest stories to tell when i get back to America!

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