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An End and a Beginning

Today was both a happy and a sad day. Today my host brother, who has been an exchange student in Germany for the past year (that's why I have his room...ahaha) returned to Japan. My host dad came back for the occation, but unfortunently after this his work becomes busy, so it was also the last day I would get to see him before I return to Chicago.

Ryo's (my host brother) plane arrived at eight in the morning, which meant that my host mother and father had to leave the house a little before five in order to pick him up. Ayuko and I wisely--in my opinion--elected to wait at home, earning ourselves some extra (and MUCH NEEDED) sleep. They didn't get back home until a little after twelve, which makes sense once you factor in all the waiting at the airport and the travel time home.

Spending a year away from Japan has definitely made him more open than most Japanese, since the first thing he did when he got home was give me a hug instead of a bow to say 'hi'. My first impression of him was good: a very nice, energetic and funny guy. He showed us photos from Germany, which only reinforced my desire to visit there someday, since the scenery/architecture is simply amazing. I'm a little architecturely starved over here, the Japanese buildings are really just greyish-pink rectangles. Not very interesting.

He battled through jet-lag until the early evening, but was out by 9pm. Before he went to sleep, we took a family photo. (Fun times experimenting with my camera's timer feature.)

(Yeah I had some centering problems.) What was funnier is that for the longest time we couldn't figure out how to start the timers, so we kept getting into position and smiling into nothing before bursting into laughter. But we finally got it.

So it seems like he'll be sleeping in the spare room just off the kitchen for the remaining three weeks I'm here. (That had worried me at one point, since I feel a little guilty for taking up his room. But my host mom told me not to worry about it. But still...) We also take the same train to school in the morning (though I get off well before he does). It should be a fun remaining three weeks here. This weekend is chock full of AFS events, so I'll have more news for you guys soon enough!
Countdown: 19 days


  1. Hi Claire! I've been reading your blog because I've been thinking about doing the same. My question is: would you recommend doing a semester like you, or a year-long program? I can't decide whether I would be better off going for a year or if it would be too long, or if a semester would be better, even though it's a shorter amount of time.
    Thanks! :)

  2. Your flash gave everyone oil stops lol :D

  3. Hey this is Claire in response to Ellie's question. The answer is "it depends". What year in high school would you be in? If the answer is freshman or sophomore, I would say go for the year (if you can get credit, of course) because six months, while it seems long, is actually rather short. If you're a junior, like me, I'd do fall semester just because dealing with college tests abroad just sounds like too much stress.
    Hope that helps.

    1. Thank you, that helps. I'd actually be a Senior this coming fall, which means we're around the same age, I think. I was mostly wondering because it seemed to me that 6 months would seem like plenty of time until it came to an end and then I would regret not having spent more time there.
      Thanks for the feedback, I really wanted to ask someone who's had experience with the whole process.

  4. You doing anything this summer? We should go to Germany. :D


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