Gyoshu Junior & Senior High > International Trips > Iowa Trip 2011

Iowa Trip 2011
(click here to read journals)

Students from our Bilingual Program are part of a three week exchange program with schools and families in Iowa. Students in grade 7 and grade 10 stay with host families and go to school with a buddy their same age. Students stay with families from a variety of schools in the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City area. Visit this page for photos and updates of their trip.

- City High School
- Lone Tree High School
- Mid-Prairie High School
- LinnMar High School
- Highland Junior & Senior High School
- Prairie Middle and Senior HIgh School
- Vernon Middle School
- Marion High School
- South East Junior High School
- Solon Middle School
- West Branch Junior High School

Please enjoy the photos and journal entries from the students on the trip below..

Journals from Iowa
February 26th

The day of our departure has finally arrived. The group met at Numazu station to begin their trip to Iowa. Students were extremely excited and have been anticipating this moment for quite some time. As we boarded the bus, the group waved goodbye to their families and away we went.

The bus ride to Narita airport went very smoothly. Our guides were helpful in keeping us entertained with the Disney movie "Karu Ojisan". The students thought this funny when they found out that was also my name! Along the way, we had the opportunity to see new and familiar sights one of which was the Tokyo Skytree. Unfortunately, I could not get the perfect shot. I wish had the expertise of Ishikawa sensei. We made 2 quick stops in Odawara and Tokyo before arriving at our final destination. Some students were overjoyed to find a Starbucks at one stop.

At the airport we gathered at the front doors to get our documentation in order. Again, we were promptly assisted by JTB representatives. Luckily for us, they were able to solve a few minor problems. One in particular had to do with the scanning of our passports at the automated e-ticket booths. For some unknown reason, the scanners failed to recognize our barcodes. We finally had them individually type in our information and successfully received our boarding passes.

As we moved through the checking in counter, some students began worry about the weight of their luggage. This was no doubt due to some last minute anxiety about the trip itself. Once through check in the students had a while to roam around the terminal to get some food.

We left Narita airport on time and made ourselves comfortable once in the air. During our flight, attendants frequently commented on how well behaved and polite the entire group was. This was quite a positive sign for things to come.

In Chicago, were once again assisted by a JTB representative. She was a Japanese woman and told me she had been living in the US for over 40 years. Her English was excellent. On the shuttle ride I also met a teacher who had just spent three years in Japan. He also mentioned how impressed he was with our group.

Our plane in Chicago was delayed for over an hour. The captain indicated to us that the plane had over its maximum capacity for luggage. An announcement was made that they may require some passengers to disembark and reschedule for a later flight. At this point some students were shocked and afraid they would be the ones being escorted off the plane. After about an hour of de-icing, the plane took off for our final destination…Cedar Rapids!!

We were met at the airport by all of the host families and a great big round of applause. The families were very enthusiastic and couldn't wait to meet us. Students were quickly introduced to their host family and made their way to their new home for the next three weeks. They should all be resting now and building up their energy for their first day in school.


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February 28th

Monday, February 28, was the first day of school for me. There were so many people coming to me and asking tons of questions. We got our own lockers but the lock was so hard to do that I'm not sure how to use it yet. I already remembered my code for the locker. We had to change classrooms for every period we had so it was very confusing.
Since I wasn't here from the beginning of the year I didn't know what the teachers were talking about but I could tell that the explanation was very good. After school I went to watch a basketball game with Jared and his parent. It was so fun there but there was something called the student section and it was a place where you jump around and act all crazy, making lots of noise to cheer the team on our side, "Marion Indians". I thought that it was kind of weird because every one's tensions were very high. We won by about 4 points.

On Tuesday, March 1, we had a baseball practice after school. I thought it was very tough because we have to run a lot and throw baseballs so far and very fast. My arms were almost going to fall off.

On Thursday, March 3rd, Keima's buddy was absent so we got to go to the same classes together. It was really fun. After school I went to a >place called "Planet X". We got to do a super awsome game called laser tag! There were also other games that you can play with tokens. We got to get tickets for most of the games that you play with tokens and I got to buy things with them. It was the most fun and coo;;est day I had ever had so far.


March 1st

It's the third day in Iowa. On Sunday, we had fun throughout the day. I'm getting along with my host family very well including the dog. My host family helped me out a lot with new things that I do. From yesterday, I started going to school with my host buddy. It's very fun there and I started making some friends there too.

On Sunday, my host buddy had a piano competition in the morning. His piano was awesome! Later in the evening, we heard that he got a perfect mark for it!
Then we explored the University of Iowa and some places around it. It was very wide and extensive including the land and the building. I felt sad when I heard that the flood messed up most of the school building.

I was able to do some of my Scavenger Hunt. We went to see a sushi restaurant and ate lunch in McDonald's to get a prize for a happy meal. We went to a pet shop to get some product for the dog. We also had shopping at Wal-Mart. I was able to get a photo of the produce department.

After we got back home, I played video game for a while with my host buddy. After that, we helped cook dinner. It was fun to crack the coconut we bought at Wal-Mart. The lasagna was really delicious.

My host mother found out that the hail is falling. I haven't experienced hails much in Japan so I got exited.

At night we watched the video "AVATAR". It was my first time to watch it. It was very interesting.
Yesterday it was my first school day. Everyone welcomed us, which made me easier to attend at school. I made some new friends; everyone was easy to get along. We had Language Arts, Band, Art, Math, P.E. and Science. I got lots of home works yesterday from the beginning, but I really had fun yesterday.

Today was my second day to attend the Solon Middle School. We had almost the same classes as yesterday. I really had fun in Social Studies class. I made more friends today and everything feels so fresh here. I like it very much.
Also, I met Tomoki (he takes same Math class) and it seems he is having fun too! He willbe writing the journal after me tomorrow!


March 2nd

It's really fun in Iowa!!!! This is Tomoki. It's very mild and slow moving here. My host family and my buddy tell me about Iowa a lot so I'm actually getting used to this place.
The temperature here is around 0 degrees. There was a lot of snow when i arrived here, but it started to melt and it's getting warmer.

On Sunday, we went out to the mall for shopping and I got a sweet sweat shirt that says IOWA on the front. Also, we played miniature golf and I had a great time there!!
The next day, we went to the basketball game which our high school students were playing. This was my first time watching the basketball game, and I heard that they became the number one in this state. But for some reason, we were defeated. Maybe it was because of me coming to Solon...

I am enjoying my time in Solon Middle School. We have a delicious cafeteria here, and great friends. Actually, I'm like a real student in the school. I made more than 100 great nice kind friends in only two days. It's awesome here!!!

And also, the school finishes next Thursday, and we have a spring break for a week. Maybe you will be surprised about only having a week for vacation, but they have a 2 month summer break.
I'm sad about the break because I can't go to the school anymore.
On our spring break, we're going to the Wisconsin Dells (which is the Amusement park and the Water park, 300km away from Solon) for 5 days. I heard that many friends from Solon will be going there, so I'm excited that I can meet them there.

I'm sure that Yuki and I will have two spring breaks, in Japan and Iowa!!! We're so lucky!
I believe everyone is doing great in America, and I know that Yuki's doing good.

I love IOWA!!!!!!!


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March 3rd

This is Yuka from 1Z class.
Now I commute to Mid Prairie High School.
My buddy's name is Leah Parrott. She is very friendly and kind and she take care of me!! Friends were saying that "you got a very good host"

However, first when we met at Cedar Rapids Airport I'm very nervous and also I'm shy so I couldn't speak like as usual. Although, my host family were very kind and good natured people!!
My host father is very kind and when I don't understand the word that they are talking about, he teaches me very gently. My host mother is very kind as well !! For these reason I think I can easily adapt to my host family:) It's very comfortable and I love this home and family<3 I think in about 1or 2 days we got to be good friends :D

Next I would like to talk about my school life in IOWA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I' m having fun :) First day I was very nervous just like when I first met my host family.
Also I felt very uneasy with the new situation at school. . I don't understand what sort of students are there at school. Even when many students spoke to me and asked me "where are you from?" "what is your name?", I was nervous. Now I'm back to usual self and I made many friends.
Friends are kind to me and reliable to go to school for 3 weeks.

In school we are taking a band, AP History, Biology, Math class. All the classes are 80min classes.
It's long time for me and very tiring :( I almost started to fail into a doze during in the class.
My buddy is in the higher level class. I can't catch the content of Biology and AP History and it's very boring for me. Teachers speak very fast and the content is so difficult to follow. :(

This provides a good chance for me to boost up my English level and help me prepare myself for DP classes. I would like to do my best in improving my English for the rest of my stay in Iowa.

I'm having fun and enjoying my IOWA life with my host family and my friends in Mid Prairie High school.


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March 4th

It's a week since I arrived Iowa, and I am enjoying being in a school in Iowa with my buddy and my friends. I have done many things in this period. There are many classes in school that are new to me, and sometimes, it confuses me, especially US History. However, I am interested in learning and experiencing new things. I went to the cities in Iowa, and there are new things that I saw. The town of Ainsworth does not have much to see, because it is filled with grasslands, hills, and when it is cold, they are covered with very thick snow. One place that I saw was Iowa City. It used to be a capital city of Iowa, and it has the University of Iowa. It has a lot of buildings for the campus, and the roads are always filled with students, and some did things or helps outside. For example, there was a free shuttle bus that runs through the city, and many passengers ride the bus.There are some museums, and buildings for entertainment.

Also on Wednesday, I went to a place to learn religious things.
It was a place to learn and understand more about God. There must be something that people need to give up to God. We also read a thick Catholic bible. It seemed to be like how to do with God, or how important it is, but I only knew that it was somehow related to God or something. It was too hard to read and understand, especially because I had never gone to church on basis, and never read these things. However, this is an important thing for some people, and I might need some of the facts. There are still 2 weeks left, and I want to make it as best as I can.


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March 4th

Hi the viewers of! (^v^)

Welcome to our Iowa trip journal.
I am going to write today's journal entry.

By the way, I have just come back from my first Ice-hockey game watching and writing this journal.
It's amazing than I expected!! For example; the powerful attacking and there are some charging that it could be foul on the other sports.
It looks like" The K-1 on Ice!
You should see Ice-hockey at least once in your lifetime. I guarantee you will have a great time.

About my Iowa school: It's fun, and having more private times than in Gyoshu.
Usually in Gyoshu, we have school until 16:40. but, in Iowa we have a school just until 15:19!! It's shorter than Gyoshu.
The level is easy for me (I'm in Grade10), but my friend in the same school thought "It's a bit tough."( my friends and I are taking the same classes.) In the school where I am at, all classes are offered to the mixed grades. Like, grade 7 and 12 students are taking a class in the same room. At the same time some students are taking class such as DP's APC. Passing grade is 3 in each area, and students are choosing their own subjects that they like.

At home I have been sharing many different topics about our school and my family with my buddy. I have been enjoying playing Xbox .As of now I stick to "GTA IV" and this game is great.. My buddy said "You can be crazy inside the game" with some laugh.
My buddy and host family are great people that I ever seen. I want to say thank you to my host family.

Tomorrow will be a weekend, so I'm having a rest, and have more enjoyable time with my buddy and the other students in Highland High.
See you soon!!

P.S. I am not uploading the picture because of the technical difficulties... I'


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March 5th

Hi!! This is Nbuhiko Uematsu. I have a great time at here. First I was a little bit nervous but my Host family is very kind so, now I do not feel nervous. Now I feel I don't want to go back home(^^)

First I will talk about my host family. My buddy's name is Logan Barker. He likes to play sports and he is very kind to me. He is much taller than me. His height is 185cm. He is very gentle and very funny. Logan has a youngest brother and his name is Bryce Barker. He is very clever and always cool. And Logan has a youngest sister as well. Her name is Cailin Barker. She is a very cute girl and she is very kind. Their father's name is Jay Barker and he is very kind to me. I like Jay's joke. It is really funny.
Their mother's name
is Larie Barker. She works at hospital. Her meals are very delicious.
I think I am very lucky because my host family happened be a very good family!!!

Next I will talk about school and fun memories. My buddy's school is Prairie Point middle school.  There my buddy is taking English, Reading, living skill, social study, Band, P.E, Art , Math and Science. The school in the United States is very different from the school in Japan.
They have cafeteria so the students can eat there. One thing that I am surprised is that many students chew gums during their class time.
Some students eat stick candies. They commute to school by school bus. In the school bus many students talks so loud it is a little bit noisy. In the school many student talks to me. I fill really happy. Many students ask my name.
But almost all the student can't pronounce my name. I said "Nobuhiko is hard to pronounce so please call me Nobu" Many student can say Nobu. I have a great time at school too.

I am having a great time here so I'm fine. I think I will make a great memory here in Iowa!!!


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March 6th

I am doing well in homestay in Iowa. American school is fun and everyday I'm having a fun time!! Now, I am acclimatized to America life. Everyone is very friendly and now I have many many friends in school, so I can't remember my friends' names.

I went to a shopping mall too!! The shopping mall is very big and I am surprised. Today I went to a museum with my host family and we watched many fish and some boats and many more. There are many rare animals in day to day normal situation. There are crocodile and otter too. It was very fun. Also last night, me and my buddy went to Fumiko's host family's house and we had a sleep over. There were Maya, Sakura and their host buddies were invited too. We talked lot and we had a great time. I'm doing a Iowa Scavenger Hunt with my host family so we took many photos. This week, we went to a police station and I did a handcuffs. It was very good experience so I was very happy!!! American school is very different from Japanese schools.

Last Friday, we went to Ice Hockey Game. There are many Gyoshu students and we talked lot. Everyone said that they are having a good time at their home stay and they are having fun too!! It was my first time to watch an Ice Hokey Game so I was very happy. It was loud in that game because everyone was heated up and they bought bells and rang them very loudly. My ear hurt but I thought the sound was advantageous for the game. Also, I went to a basketball game twice.

First time we went with friends: my host family and their Gyoshu students. Next time, I went with my host father and my buddy and my buddy's grandfather and grandmother. Also it was my first time to watch a basketball game so it was very fun. Everyone was shouting loud. It was fun to cheer basketball team. Basketball players were very tall and they are very cool!! There are many people in the basketball games so it was very loud. Next week, we will go to a basketball game again so I'm very excited to watch the game and looking forward to watching it already. This week there are many people who are sick so I'm worried about this. So I think it is very important for me to take care of myself. I think Iowa mascot character called Hawkeye is very cute!! Hawkeye is very famous. So today at museum I bought a Hawkeye bracelet and necklace. It is very cute so I like it so much. Iowa is very cold compared to Japan. So everyday we see snow. The snow piled up and pond is freezen. I was very surprised because in Japan everyday it is warm so we don't usually have a chance to see snow. In the morning it is very very cold!!! Also, this week I gave my presents from Japan to my host family. I bought many Japanese snacks. They ate and they said it was very yummy. I was very happy. Next Friday, we will go skating so I'm very excited from now. Also, we have only about 2 week to go back to Japan so I will try hard to make more friends. It is very difficult to communicate in English with friends but I'm doing well now. I think Iowa is very good!!!


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March 7th

It is Monday in Iowa and I had school. We had 3 subjects in the morning and 3 subjects in the afternoon. In the morning I had quest, social studies and language arts. Quest is just usually study hall.
We do works like making ice cube with information about something. In social studies class we learned things like what we learn in Japan.
Today I learned about Thomas Edison. In language arts class we learned vocabulary and spelling. I'm also doing persuasive speech in language arts. It's like English class. After language arts we had lunch. Today's lunch was hamburger. It tasted very good. So we had Math in 4th period. We studied about what shape will make same corresponding shape using 4 same shapes. Next was gym. We first ran.
After that we played badminton. It was difficult but that was fun.
Last we had science. We studied about blood cells. It's very difficult to remember names. And this was my school day today.


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March 9th

Today was very cold in lone tree. My school has 8 classes in the day.
School starts at 8:30 and finish in 3:30. I made lots of friends, but I can not remember everyone's name. Everyone is very kind to me. Sometimes I am confused with my English, but they help me. My host buddy's mother takes us to the school every day. In lone tree middle school I had almost same classes every day. Now I am learning
-math: Algebra
-language: Writing short story
-social study: revolutionary war
-science: robot
-PE: kick ball
-choir: many song
-career: report of college
In school my favorite class is science, because it is fun to create robots.

My buddy, Jake likes to play video game. He likes Mario game. He has many Mario goods in his room. My host family profess catholic but Jake doesn't believe in God because he goes by scientific methods that make more sense. He thinks evolution and the big bang theory makes more sense. So he doesn't do a mass. His favorite food is chicken nuggets at McDonalds. The food he dislikes is basically everything else.
His hobby is to play video game. He plays the ocarina. He wants to be a videogame programmer for Nintendo.

On Monday we skip the school! My host family takes me to Des Moines.
First we went to the capital. That building has a big golden dome on it. To get in we need to pass the metal detector. That building was very beautiful.
It was built in1871-1886. The capital building has rooms with the walls all hand drawn, no wall paper in the capital.
There are lots of historical materials. Then we went to Iowa hall of pride. There are many booth of Iowa's famous people . I tried the virtual basketball, it was much difficult than I thought.

The picture is about my buddy's grandfather's farm and I am teaching how to use chop stick to buddy.
Iam having fun every day.


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March 10th

Today my host-buddy, Shelby has band competition, so I went with her.
We only had 1st period and we needed to go to the band classroom. We used school bus. There were too many people in the bus, so I sat with Shelby and Lauren. Then we arrived at Monticello High school, the place where had band competition. VMS (Vernon Middle School) 7th grade, the school that I went for this home-stay, played Overture to New Decade, Childhood Hymn and Advance. After that we watched the other school 6 th grade. Then we ate lunch. I met with Fumiko, Sheala (Fumiko's buddy), Kana, Makalya (Kana's buddy), Sakura and Erin (Sakura buddy). After we ate lunch, we watched VMS 8th grade performance. They were a small group but it was awesome. The 7th grade was great too. I felt sleepy during the competition. That music made me feel sleepy. In the school bus, I slept.
Then after we arrived at school, we still had 1 period of class. We had music. We watched a video about jazz band. Shelby thought that Tristin (classmate) was annoying. He kept saying to Shelby, "You are in love"(Blah). Shelby said she wasn't. I don't understand. After school finished, we had science club. We must make two boat races with aluminum paper only. The boat that could hold more penny and the other boat could stay with more dice would win. I thought Fumiko and Sheala would win because they made the boat that could hold 40 penny and the other boat could stay 19 dice. Shelby and me, could made the boat that could hold 34 penny and the other was 17 dice. It was pretty hard but it was really fun. After that we went home on foot with Jade. Shelby talked much about something thatI did not know really. I think it was about Tyler and Tristin or about Keima. I don't understand. There are many people who like Keima. They say that Keima is funny and cute (really?!?!?!). Tomorrow Shelby have Show choir competition so, I need to go with her.


March 11th

11th March 2011
Today, we went for ice skating with almost all the host family and myclassmates.
First, I could not skate well because I did not skate for about 1 year.
I keep falling down so I got bruise all over my body.
But I enjoyed it.
After we finished skating, me and Paige and Akari and she's body went shopping.
I got a jacket that cost only 5$ because of 82% off sale.
It looks nice and I love it.
Today was a very nice day.
I'm excited for tomorrow!!!


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March 11th

Sorry I forgot to e-mail.
Today when I woke up I was very surprised because my buddy's mom told me that there was a big earthquake and tsunami in Japan. I was very worried whether my family and my friends were safe so I e-mailed my mother. My mother said all of my family was safe because the epicenter was far from our house. I was very relieved. Me and my buddy ate pizza for breakfast. It was rather too much for me but it was delicious. Today it was my last day of school in Iowa because we have a spring break. I am very sad because I made lots of friend here and it was very fun. At school on the 1st period we use a computer.
We design a whole house. It was a little boring. During the. 3rd period we talked a lot with my buddy's friend. My buddy's friend was very funny. Last 20minnute of class I did ping-pong with my buddy's friend. It was fun. 4th period we had P.E we did dodge ball. I hit lots of my buddy's friends. It was fun. During the Geography class I saw a Tsunami and earthquake report that hit Japan. I was shocked.
When we went back home me and my buddy played with the neighbor kids.
First we played with the air-soft gun. Then we played baseball. It was very fun. After we finish playing we went for skating. There were my friends at the skate link. We talked a lot during the exercise that we had. It was my second time of skating but I could not skate fast.
It is so much fun here. I don't want to go home.


March 12th

Almost everything is different here. I'm really enjoying this trip. I can't believe that already 2 weeks have passed. It feels like I arrived here only a few days ago.
American school where I'm going is completely different from Japanese. It's free to dye the hair, wear accessories or wear favorite clothes. Class activities are run differently, too. For example, we do many experiments instead of taking notes. Sometimes we watch a video. I really enjoy them.
I went to many places with my host family. My host family has many relatives and I had many chances to meet many different people. Everybody was kind and friendly. I felt so relaxed even though I was with people I've never met before.
Many people in Iowa do agriculture. One of my host family's relatives raises livestock. There were goats, a donkey, cows, chickens and even llamas. Goats didn't like people. They all ran away from us (from me, maybe)! There were 4 dogs and 2 cats in the house. It seemed like the owner loves animals a lot.
I found an egg in the chicken coop. We ate that for dinner. It was good but I felt a little sorry for the chickens, after I went to the farm and saw the animals…
Iowa has many corn fields or farms so it is not crowded like Japan, and it's safe. I went walking at 8:00 at night with my buddy. It was dark and scary but she said it's not dangerous at all around here because she knows most of the people in Lone Tree. I thought that doesn't matter at all but I was impressed with her wide friendship.
I reconfirmed her wide friendship when I saw her Girl Scout activity. She was delivering Girl Scout cookies. Cookie boxes cost $3.50 each and that money will go to Cookie Company, or used to make blankets for babies in hospitals. The number of cookies sold was 661 boxes, and she has already delivered 550 of them. It means that she delivered to about one hundred and fifty people. I don't know that many people in Japan!
There are many things to learn here. I'm not sure if my English skills are improving but I'm doing my best. I'm not getting homesick at all!
I even wish if I could stay here a little longer.
Maybe I'll live in America some day!


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March 12th

I'm having a lot of fun here.
The next day when I arrived at Iowa, I went to my host buddy's grandparent's farm. I've been to farm in Japan, too, but the interesting part of this farm was, there was all-white colored cow!
It didn't look like a cow either. We went to shopping on Wednesday, and tried licorice and root beer at Thursday, which was so disgusting and split in one bite. We went to hockey game on Friday, after school, and I was surprised that everyone was rude to the other team saying "boo".
I've never thought that I'll hear Chicken dance again, that I learned when I went to Utah. The next day was my host buddy's grandfather's birthday! We went out to eat at a Mexican restaurant and did bowling I had fun bowling. I was suprised that there was golfing in the bowling alley! I couldn't accomplish one hole because I would hit my ball to hard and it bounced everywhere! I was glad when we could bowl because I don't have to run to catch the ball anymore. On Sunday we ate Ramen with chopsticks! My host family was trying to eat it with two chopsticks in one hand like I told them, but when some time passed they got tired of that and tried to use chopsticks with one in each hand like fork. Afternoon I made arare for them I was trying to make it but it was more like okaki. I was glad that they liked it though my host buddy said it tasted like popcorn. Today we went to the amana colonies it has a lot of little stores. My favorite was the woolen mill that I bought souvenir for my grandmother. We also went to a cow auction that my host grandfather bought one cow that I nicknamed him Fhooly his real name is Focus. I thought that first that the auction is like the one the costumer will say the price but the auctioneer was saying the amount very fast, it sounded like gibberish.
In the school, it was more like playing than learning. The only one class that I thought learning was geography, and language arts class.
We can listen to ipod in reading class, played learning games in health to help us communicate with each other more, and the math class I mostly reading because I got done early. In science class we watched movie, and ate snacks. We served lunch for all the middle school students and, did some activities on the scavenger hunt.
I hope the last week in Iowa will be worthwhile too.


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March 12th

The first day we get together at Numazu Station. I was nervous. We get on the bus and went to Narita Airport. We stopped at Ebina too.
I bought some lunch. We talked and played at the bus. In the airport it was very long.In the plane I did some games and was very tired.

I just slept 10 minutes. In the plane it was 15 hours. I drank Sprite. In the last airport there was my buddy and his family. My buddy said Happy Birthday to me.

On Sunday we went to the Amana's for breakfast. The foods are so great and I eat a lot. It was very different than Japan. I was very surprised some American foods are so fatty but it was delicious. Then we went to the meat shop and bought some beef jerkyand corn nuts. Then we went back home. We played ping pong for one hour then we played X-Box for two hours, and played Halo. We went to a big sports shop and bought a new pingpong paddle. I was surprised that there are alot of big guns lining straight. I was nervous that I see a real gun. Then we went back home. In the living room there was a big deer head sticking out from the wall.
My host family Dad hunts deer and eats the meat so I was very surprised.

This is the first day at the school. I was very happy and nervous.
I slept at 9:30pm and woke up at 7:00am. In the morning I woke up and ate some cereal. It tasted very good. My host family Mom send me to the school by car. Outside was very cold. I was freezing. I was excited that I can stay with snow. I played in the snow with my buddy when we walked home. In 5th period we did dodge ball and tag. It was fun. The class was very different to my school in Japan.

My host family has taken me to eat at many different places. We ate at a Japanese Steakhouse, Mexican Restaurant,and Pizza places.
We did many fun things so far. They took me horseback riding, four-wheeling, we drove to the Boys State Basketball Tournament in Des Moines. We also went bowling, watched hockey game and went to some show choir competitions. This week we will go to my buddy's baseball practice.

We are very concerned about the earthquake in Japan. This is my last week. I will be home soon.


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March 14th

2 weeks and a half past, since I came to Iowa.
I'm now having Spring Break. School was over last week. I have a free time this week. I'll talk about the differences and my thoughts about the school i went for 2 weeks.
I went to Prairie Point. When I first got on the school bus on my first day, I didn't feel well and I was very nervous. I didn't feel comfortable than going to Gyoshu. It was because I wasn't familiar.
When I first got on the bus, I was astonished. The people on the bus asked me "Why don't you talk??" I was very surprised with this question because, it was my first day at my new school!!!! I can't talk as usual at the new place!!! I think that was not an appropriate question to ask to the person who came to the school for their first time....Going into the classroom was much more uncomfortable because there wasn't people who I recognise. Only my buddy was the person who I recognise.
People in the classroom asked me questions. They asked me "Who are you?" and "Why are you here?" I had a hard time answering those questions because I needed to answer those a lot of time. I was actually very tired of it. At my school I took the same class as my buddy does. I took Language Art, Reading, Physical Education, Health, Band, Quirery, Science, Math, Geography and Art. At Gyoshu I don't like taking Art class by I enjoyed the Art class at this school. We designed our own logo. I had a fun time here.
Next I will talk about what I felt weird. The thing I felt weird was that students were eating gum and candy during class. I couldn't believe this because we can't do this at our school in Japan. I also felt weird about the people who does make ups. The person who sit in the front of me during Language Art does make up. I couldn't believe this too because it was too different from Japan. The people in U.S is loud... They're loud in the bus class and cafeteria.... Their tension are very very high from the morning. What surprised me the best was when the girls were celebrating another person's birthday!!
It was Justin Bieber's birthday that day. Girls who like Justin Bieber wore something that is purple because his favourite color was PURPLE!!!
I was very surprised with this because why are they so excited with someones birthday and it's actually not yours!!! They are in Justin Fever!!!((^^ I am having a hard time with these kind of differences between Japan but I am having a good time here in Iowa. It's fun learning the differences!! I actually miss JAPAN but few more days until I can go back to JAPAN!!!


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March 15th

Hello, I'm Aine. So far I am having real fun in Iowa, and I don't have any big problems. My host buddy, Carly is very friendly so we became familiar in few days. Also my host family are all nice and humorous!
Solon Middle School is in the spring break for this week so I'm having fun with my host family everyday. We went to aquarium today, and looked at a museum of Mississippi River.
My host family is very cooperative to my scavenger hunt and we are almost to complete! I need to challenge many things to complete the scavenger hunt, but it's very fun!!! I am having many special experiences so I'm taking many pictures. My scrapbook is looking very good too. My host mother had many materials for scrapbooking and let me use those materials.
Also, my host family cook many things. I always help them to cut and cook things. I like to cook too, so that is another thing that I am having fun. I already learned some recipies so that I can cook in Japan too!
I'm feeling sad that it is almost the day we are leaving Iowa.
However, I will have lots of fun with my host family for the last few days!!!!!
P.S The picture that I attached is when we made a desseret called banana split!


To see the full size pictures click the thumbnails below:

March 15th

Today in the morning, I went to a place called "Clebri's". There were killed wild animals that had been cleaned fixed and displayed like they are living in a box. Those were very cool and I liked where mountain lion is going to eat the elf. Other than that, there are live fish in tanks. I like the small turtle swimming inside the big tank. There were clothes too. And also, there was shooting game.
Owen, Angela, host father and I played it and I was second place. It was hard because I wasn't able to know where my infrared ray was pointing which target. But I got car sick when I come to Clebri's my tension was very low but it was fun to do the shooting game.
Then for the afternoon, host mother and father went to golf so Angela, Owen and I went to their grandma's room.(Their grandma lives in a hospital for illness).
First we made few origami stuffs and we gave it to grandma's friend.
Then we played with wii. We battled with tennis and bowling. It was first time to do this but I won one tennis game against Angela. It was fun. I wish I had one at my home. Then we went to cafe to eat supper. I ate grilled cheese sandwiches and fries. Grandma's friend said ''If you cleared up your dish, I will buy you ice cream for each of you". So we ate all but we got very full.
On 8 o'clock, host mother and father came to pick us up at host mother's friend's house. For today, we will stay at this house. There was 2 big dogs and 1 small dog and a cat. The dogs are very cute and I like the big one. Then, Angela started to say let's swim! But it was very cold and we were freezing.
I had many activities today and it was a lot of fun.


March 16th

Two days left! I can't believe how fast it's gone.
Life in Iowa is really fun so far.
My host buddy is a really high-spirited person. I enjoy spending time with her because I have a high tension too. We do a lot of crazy things together. My host family is really nice to me. They make me feel as if I'm a part of their family. And their dog is so adorable! She keeps asking me to pet her.
I went to many places. Such as: the mall, a place called Planet-X, many restaurants, Target, Walmart, a pottery place, etc. Personally, I love the mall best. I wish I could take it back to Japan with me.
It is so huge. Not only the places are huge, so is the food in America/Iowa! How can you call an ice cream that's about 15-20 cm tall a small size icecream?! It's crazy. No wonder Americans are fat!!
Especially Mexican food!
"Osaka's ladies are so mean; I bet that they are the strongest creatures on earth!"~that was one fact I told my host family. We talk about random things a lot.
School isn't out yet at our school. School life is really different compared to Japan. We have only six classes each day, and the time we eat lunch is early. Since after I came here I am starting to like every single subject. Even for science!
The people at school are very nice and friendly. I made a lot of friends since I came here. On the first day, they drove me crazy with all of their questions: "Where are you from, do you speak English, etc!!"
Right now I'm feeling that I don't want to leave.
Tomorrow is Saint Patrick's Day. Today we went for "green hunting."
We are going to dress up in green tomorrow. I'm going to have the time of my life!
(Attached is a picture of us going "green hunting.")


To see the full size pictures click the thumbnails below:

March 17th

Hi!! I'm Rina R. I'm enjoying the American life. When our trip began, I was very tired because We rode airplane and bus for many hours. And when we arrived Iowa it was about 9:00pm. Also there are time difference so I was very, very tired for about 1 week. Now my school is in spring break from last Friday so I'm doing many things!!! My first day of school, I was very nervous but it was fun.
American people are very friendly so I made many new friends in school.
American school is different fromJapanese school so first I was confused. One thing that I was surprised in my school is they called self study for " study hall!!!" First I thought "why my buddy forget homework every day? " I was surprised so I told Mr. Hadley.
And one more thing is American school is very easy than our school.
We learned about circle circumference and area in math. Science is like math and we learned how to calculate distance, speed and time.We did test and I get all right!!! My scavenger Hunt is almost complete but tomorrow is farewell party so I think I can't finish my scavenger Hunt.
Also I went to see ice hockey game at first Friday night. I meet with my friends. Next Friday, I went to see movie with my buddy, Risa, Risa's buddy and my school new friends. After movie we had skating. It was first time that I did ice skating so it was very fun. First I can't skate without wall but about 1 hour later I can skate without touching the wall. I did many new things in Iowa.
Now it is March 17 so tomorrow will be last day. When our trip start, I thought 3 weeks is very long to do home stay but I can't believe that tomorrow will be last day. So every day was very exciting day!!!! This is the picture of me and my host family. I'm in left. My host family is very kind and I did many things with them. In weekend I went to my buddy's grand mother and Father's house and did some art work. Also we walked around the garden and I felled the nature very close. I had a very good time in grand mother and Father's house. Tomorrow we have farewell party and I will present about Japanese culture for abacus and present about Japanese snack with my buddy and give it to other American students. Now I'm very fun to living in America so I think it will be hard to say good-bye to my host family and my buddy. But I love Japan and I want to meet with my family too. I learned many new things and American culture in this Iowa trip. one big purpose that I'm in Iowa is to learn American culture so I get a chance to learn many things. On Saturday we will go back to Japan and ride bus and air plain for many hours so I think it will be tired day. And when we go back to Japan there is also time difference so I think i will be tired for about 1 week. Almost One more day that we will stay in America.
See you soon in Japan!!!!

Rina R

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March 18th

Dear Diary (Wow, I wrote Dear Diary for all my entries now, though I was told I didn't have to!)

Today was the last day of our Iowa trip. I can't believe its almost over! It feels like I came yesterday. Anyways, today, I used most of my time to make my scrap book for the scavenger hunt. Mrs. Rael got me a scrap book and all the photos. I never knew making a scrap book would take so long!!! Since the farewell party starts at around six, I had to get the scrap book done before I could start packing or to go shopping for things to bring home. We (Sheala and me) started working at eleven in the morning. I thought we would finish in about3 hours. But guess what!? I took a whole day to do it. In the beginning, it was really fun and we were relaxed, even fooled around a bit. But then, when I realized, it was three in the afternoon, and we had like half of it left. Sheala and Lexie was helping me but still we had a lot of work to do. Wait!! I forgot to mention about lunch. I went to burger king for the first time in my life!!!
(Believe me, I knew what it was but it was the first time I stepped into the shop in my life) It looked sort of like McDonald's, except the signs said "Burger King". I ordered fish sandwiches. It was good. So, anyways, we still had a lot of work left so we got really serious and started making the pages really quickly. We finished at 5:45. We hurried to the farewell party. The farewell party was really fun. I hang around with many kids. I won the first place for the scrap booking (Obviously, we worked real hard on it)!!!! Yeah!!!
I got a bag of skittles :) The time flew so fast. It was all over in a snap. After the party, we went to Zoey's to eat a "Zookie". Well, a "Zookie" is icecream, cream, and chocolate all on a big soft piece of chocolate chip cookie. It was SOOOOOOOO GOOOOOOD!!!! I loved it.
We went home after that and packed my stuff. I realized I have much more space in my suitcase than I thought I would have. I'm going to watch a movie with Sheala now, so see you later!!!