Thursday, August 25, 2011

Many good memories that will stay forever

Pictured with a SGG volunteer guide
   In August 2011, two young Japanese Americans whose ancestors were from Kochi visited Japan to trace the roots of their family living in USA and experience some cultures of Kochi including Yosakoi dancing and Tosa dialect.

   Here are reports of their impressions they got during their stay in Kochi.

Evan Ishibashi
   Konichiwa! I have been to Japan 3 times now and this last one was definitely the best. I want to thank the Kochi International Association for organizing our stay in Kochi, keeping us on schedule, and taking care of us. I also wanted to thank the Morimoto family for being the best host family. I feel like I learned so much more about the importance of the contributions of Kochi to the history of Japan. Kochi is such a beautiful city with so much delicious food. My favorite was the kaiten sushi restaurant that had the eggplant miso which was so yummy. I was very surprised to learn that the creator of anpanman was born in Kochi, and made anpanman when he was starving in the trenches. I really want to return to my hometown someday soon to see my friends and family again.
Courtesy visit to the governor of Kochi 
Shelby Tsukamoto
   I had an amazing time during my stay in Kochi. Since I'm a fourth generation Japanese American I lost interest in my heritage and didn't even bother trying to learn about where I came from. So when this trip came around I was unsure if I wanted to leave my family and friends to go to Kochi, where I didn't know anyone nor did I know what to expect from the town.
Pictured with some fellow female dancers 
   But when I got there, the people were so welcoming and the scenery was so beautiful. During my stay in Kochi I was given the rare opportunity to be a part of a homestay program. The homestay family was so inviting and they treated me as if I were part of their own family. I was able to experience what each of their daily lives is like, and become closer to each family member. Everyday I would go on various tours to see the historical and scenic areas of Kochi with a tour guide who taught us so much about everything we saw and experienced. They were very nice and very informative; I learned so much more than I would have ever learned without their help.
   Somedays we would have one-on-one classes about tosaben and calligraphy that till just recently I have become interested in. During this trip I was given so many great opportunities that I would have never experienced, such as meeting both the mayor and governor, and being a part of the yosakoi festival which is one of Kochi's most famous festivals. I made so many friends and was able to meet my ancestors for the very first time.This trip was amazing.
Pictured with their homestay family members
and others involved at the farewell party
   Thanks to everyone involved, especially the KIA members who were so nice and were always rushing to make sure we got to each event or activity.  I loved this program because it gave me so many memories that will stay with me forever and I was able to become closer to my hometown of Kochi. I can't wait to go back to Kochi again and visit all the friends and families I met during this trip. This was a great opportunity where I experienced so much more than I have ever experienced before. I wish that everyone could come to Kochi to experience how amazing it is, but since not everybody is given a chance to visit Kochi I can't wait to tell everyone about what I learned from this experience!

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