Seven SMS students are participating in a student exchange program with Eiwa School in Shizouka, Japan. Below, some of the students share some of their first impressions.

In Japan we are staying with a host family who shows us around Shizouka and accompanies us to school. My host family is really nice. The daughter, who is my age, is named Hikaru and she loves to read manga.  She has an older sister, named Momo, and her mother’s name is Natsue. The family does not speak much English, so we communicate through lots of hand gestures. I really enjoy being with them and can’t wait to go to Tokyo Disney Land this weekend!

– Kaesha

We are in Japan now! Things are completely different here, and we are so exited to discover so many brand new things. The house of my host family is traditional, so there is no bed in my room. The floor of my room is covered in traditional tatami.  I sleep on it, and it’s really comfortable. Japanese food is delicious! So far my favorite foods are sushi and ramen (noodles). Another important cultural practice is to take off our shoes when we walk into rooms. I like these aspects of Japanese lifestyle; it’s really interesting. Japanese people are very friendly and they always pay attention to etiquette. I love Japanese culture so much!

– Cheryl

On the first day we arrived in Japan, my host sister’s dad made strawberry cake for us (yummy!). I learned that in Japanese you say, “oishii” if something tastes delicious. After we had cake, I went out with my host family to for some ice cream. They called ice-cream “ice” in Japan. I chose a cup of strawberry ice cream and a mint ice cream mixed with chocolate. Mint ice cream was the best!

– Jackline

The food here is very different from our food, as is the food culture. My host family always wants me to eat; at breakfast they give me pancakes, croissants, yogurt, all kinds of fruit, a million different juices, soups, salads and other foods that I can’t name. The weirdest part is that they expect me to eat it all! It is like this for every meal. If I say that I am too full, they practically faint on the table, and then offer me other food options. The other thing that is different is that we go grocery shopping every night for the food for the next day. It is a strange experience to walk into a store and not be able to read any of the signs or labels.

– Jenna