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IMMERSION Amy He, an eighth grader at River Oaks Baptist School, served as a 2018 Houston-Chiba Youth Ambassador. She spent two weeks in Houston’s sister city in Japan and is pictured here in front of Chiba Castle.
This was something I could not pass up. I opened the application to be a 2018 Houston-Chiba Youth Ambassador and realized this was a life-changing opportunity. I would be in a Japanese community for two weeks, learning about Japan, a modern country deep into its ancient roots, while sharing my own Houstonian culture. The results did not disappoint. During my stay in Japan, I enjoyed sightseeing, courtesy visits and delicious foods; however, the most impactful event was attending a Japanese school, as it allowed me to make new friends and redefine the word “community.” Everyone at Saiwai Cho Dai Ni Chu Gakko, the school my fellow ambassadors and our chaperones visited, was welcoming. Just during my four days attending a Japanese school, I was able to grow my friendship circle. Everyone wanted to hang out with me and help me adjust to Japanese school life. Also, the school’s sense of community amazed me. First of all, uniformity is emphasized. You have the same clothes, socks, shoes and backpack as the person next to you, in front of you and anyone else in your school. Also, everyone’s lunch tray looks the same. Choosing your meal is something that happens at a restaurant, not in school. Second, the students will amaze you with their sense of duty for their community. This was magnified at lunch time and cleaning time. Some students on duty for the week would dress into lunch-serving clothes, march down to the kitchen and pick up the meal for the day. Then, they would pass out the trays, milk, chopsticks and dishes to their peers. All at once, everyone would chant “itadakimasu,” showing gratefulness for the food, then start eating. After their meal, all the students would get to work in cleaning clothes without any excuses or a frown. Everyone knew his or her job and would dive right into it without hesitation. During my stay in Japan and my four days at a Japanese school, I was strongly impacted. I realized that being a part of a community where everyone is equal and performing duties for the community is very enjoyable. Although you have duties to perform for your community, you gain so much more than you give. Want to be a Buzz Kid? Email approximately 350 words, a high-resolution photo and caption to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or mail it to The Buzz Magazines, 5001 Bissonnet, Suite 100, Bellaire, Texas 77401.