Today my travel group and I went to a school in Sendai. The school was an all-girls school and none of the students have ever been to Chicago. So, when we came, they were all excited. Also, as the day went on, got less and less shy (these Japanese girls were mostly very shy). One very surprising thing was that the girls were much older than they looked. I mistook one 17-year-old girl for a 13-year-old!

Our duty was to talk about what Chicago and Oak Park are like, why we came to Japan on this trip, what we like about it, and what has been difficult for us. It was kind of nice to get to practice our improvisational technique!

Later in the day we got to see a Japanese Opera singer (Maki Mori) and a famous Japanese pianist (Shigeto Yamagishi) at the school. Half of the theatre fell asleep, it was very hot and muggy. (Maybe that’s what makes you fall asleep – warm surroundings and beautiful, soothing music…)

Until next time,
Eric Tynybekov
(Oak Park)

Today we went to the Miyagi Jogakuin School. Everyone was so amazing; they were so welcoming! Just saying, their school uniforms were so “Kawaii” – that means ‘cute’ in Japanese. It was an all-girls school; it reminds me of Trinity High School in River Forest, IL. I totally want to go to Miyagi Jogakuin now!

Tomorrow we start our service-learning project. I’m ready to what I came here for!

Until next time,
Simone Blaylock
(Forest Park)

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West Cook YMCA in Japan

Dispatches from the learning volunteer experience in Japan.