現実となった夢 (A Dream that Came True)
Ghifary (INA AFS to Japan YP 18–19)
こんにちは！Hello! My name is Ari! I’m an AFS Exchange Student from Indonesia, and I am placed in Japan. Coming to Japan has always been a dream to me. Ever since I was little, I have been watching Japanese cartoons, listening to Japanese songs, adored Japanese stories and culture, and now, I get to experience what it’s like living in the origin of those stuffs. It’s like a dream that came true to me.
I have never been to a far place without my parents, or a guardian, so this is a really exciting challenge for me. I hope to become more independent and learn many new things during my exchange here.
Alright, enough of the past me. Let me tell you about what happened to me in these 3 months that has passed.
So I was placed in Okayama Prefecture (岡山県), in western part of Japan. My friends, Mine (Jasmine) is placed in Hiroshima Prefecture (広島県), and Sato (Satria) is placed in Miyagi Prefecture (宮城県). Me and Mine are near from each other (Our Prefectures are beside each other), but Sato’s is very far from us.
We arrived at Tōkyō (東京) on 21st of March. It was still really cold. We also met lots (really, a lot) of exchange students from around the world. We spent the night there. The next day, me and Mine went to Osaka (大阪) and Sato stayed in Tokyo for orientation. We spent another 3 days for it to get used to Japanese cultures and customs. I had so much fun there and made lots of friends. My roommates were from Mexico, Greenland, Germany, South Korea, and China. We had so much fun talks in our room after activities and did fun games, share stories and give stuffs from our own countries.
After the orientation, I went to Okayama by Shinkansen along with other exchange students that was placed in the western part of Japan (including Mine). When I arrived at Okayama Station, the host families were already waiting for us there to welcome us. I spent my first night cooking and eating Okonomiyaki at a restaurant with my mom. When I got to the house, my father and my sister welcomed me warmly, and I gave them souvenirs from Indonesia that I brought here.
I didn’t have school for the first 20 days here because it was still spring holiday for schools. So, we spent those 20 days going to new places, meeting new people, and went to various festivals. We went to Hina doll festival (雛祭 — Hinamatsuri), went barbecuing with the local exchange students community, went to Himeji Castle (姫路城 — Himejijyou), one of world heritage sites, and the best of all, we went to Cherry Blossoms viewing (花見 — Hanami) with our neighbors.
Outside of those 20 days, we went to other prefectures to visit beautiful places such as amusement parks, shrines, sightseeing spots, and went to more festivals, such as Renge Matsuri (れんげ祭) and Fuji Matsuri (藤祭). Japan really has lots of festivals, don’t they?
My first day of school was on April 10th . I was really excited.. I made some friends, took pictures with them, and also Introduced myself in classroom that day. Three days later, I delivered a speech in front of all the students in my school. I was really nervous, I couldn’t stop shaking, but it was a fun experience. Here is a picture of me with some of my friends in front of the school after the school entrance ceremony.
It took me a while to get used to school. It’s near from my home, so I go by bicycle, but I have to climb 2 hills to get there. It is tiring, but I’m getting used to it. It takes 25–30 minutes to get there. I sometimes don’t understand what the teachers say during the lessons, but it is fun anyways. On breaktimes, I eat Obento (お弁当) with my friends, and talk about our interests or other things.
On April, I went to a trip with my schoolmates, and stayed overnight. We did lots of fun activities such as finding things while exploring the nature in groups, and had exciting competitions, such as class rope jumping, and class chorus. My class won the 2nd place in the chorus competition. Maybe my voice was really good after all.
I joined the Badminton club at school. I didn’t really do sports when I was in Indonesia, so I think this will be a good chance for me to work out more and live a healthier lifestyle. The members are really welcoming, kind, and funny. We always have a laugh everyday. They even asked me to teach them Indonesian language, so I did, and they remembered it! Everytime they see me, they always greet me in Indonesian language, “Pagi!”, “Siang!”, “Dadah!” are the most said ones. They even taught their classmates about it!
Outside of school, I sometimes teach elementary school students English and help my mom’s friends’ English community on weekends,. I want to be an English teacher someday, so I think this will be a great chance for me to learn.
The festivals that will be held in July is Tanabata Festival (七夕祭 — Tanabatamatsuri) on July 7th, Momotaro Festival (桃太郎祭 — Momotaromatsuri) which is a special festival held only at Okayama Prefecture on July 28th and 29th , and Tenryou Festival (天領祭 — Tenryoumatsuri) which is also held only at Okayama Prefecture on July 28th . I look forward to go there with my family. It will be really fun.
Thank you for reading my story! I’ll write again later. Have a nice day!~ またね～！！