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The Flame

The Student News Site of Lodi High School

The Flame

The Student News Site of Lodi High School

The Flame

A Journey from Japan to America

An Exchange Student’s Perspective

 In a world increasingly connected by the exchange of cultures and experiences, one Japanese exchange student embarked on a life-changing adventure to the United States. We had the privilege of interviewing Mona Noro, hailing from the picturesque city of Sendai in the Miyagi Prefecture, Japan. She shared her unique journey and insights into her time in America.   

Mona’s decision to come to the United States was driven by a deep-seated desire to explore the world beyond her homeland. Eager to immerse herself in American culture, improve her English skills, and embrace the unknown, she embarked on a transpacific flight to California with a mix of excitement and nervousness. 

Upon her arrival at Lodi High School, Mona found herself in an entirely different environment from what she had known in Japan. The expressive individuality of the students surprised her, as her home country had strict rules regarding appearance. Her first meal in the U.S. was a California roll, a flavorful introduction to American cuisine. However, it was the warm and open-hearted nature of the American people that truly left an impression, a stark contrast to the reserved social norms in Japan.

 As Mona introduced herself to her American peers, she experienced a whirlwind of emotions, ranging from fear to excitement. Fortunately, the students welcomed her with kindness, alleviating her initial apprehensions. When asked about her favorite food from Japan that she missed the most, she fondly mentioned Udon, a beloved traditional dish.

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 Sendai, nestled in the Miyagi Prefecture, is known for its scenic beauty and cultural heritage. As she describes herself in five words—serious, emotional, loving, funny, and touchy—it becomes evident that her personality reflects the rich tapestry of her Japanese upbringing.

 In the realm of music, Mona recommended exploring Vocaloid, a genre popular in Japan and highlighted Amuro Namie as one of Japan’s most celebrated musicians.

 She also shared intriguing observations about the differences between Japan and the U.S., including her astonishment at cars running without doors(Jeep)—a sight unique in the United States. She further emphasized the open and friendly demeanor of Americans, who readily engage with strangers, in contrast to the more reserved nature of Japanese interactions. 

Keeping it real, one of her dislikes is how dirty the bathrooms are at school. I think we can agree with that sentiment.

Mona has a tip for you. Head on over to Hokkaido in Japan. Apparently, it’s a sushi lover’s paradise, and you won’t want to miss out on the mouthwatering seafood delights there.

As she dreams of a future working with people from around the world and expressing a keen desire to explore countries like Germany, Thanksgiving holds a special place in Mona’s heart as her favorite holiday in the U.S. She revealed her preference for quiet places, finding solace in serene environments. 

Mona’s journey from Japan to America wasn’t just about discovering new places and faces. It was also about adapting to a new way of life, one that offered intriguing contrasts to her homeland. 

Adjusting to life in America came with its own set of routines, and for Mona, one of the key changes was waking up later than usual. 

Even when thousands of miles away from home, the comforting voice of Mona’s mother remains a source of solace and connection. It’s a reminder that no matter the distance, family bonds endure. In the midst of bustling cities and new experiences, She finds solace in quiet places.

 Sharing personal experiences, Mona recalls a moment when her earphones were not connected, and she unintentionally blasted music on a quiet subway in Japan. There is an expectation that everyone must not be loud or disruptive. Talking on the phone or having a quiet conversation are examples of what not to do. It is considered to be rude or have bad manners if your phone was to make a loud noise in public. The term Manner Mode”マナーモード” is regularly used to signify people to silence their phones in certain areas. 

Mona also shared more personal details about her family, which include three sisters and a brother. She described her parents as “funny,”. Ultimately, Mona encapsulates her journey with a heartfelt expression of love for the American people and culture. Her experience stands as a testament to the transformative power of cultural exchange and the enduring connections that can be forged when individuals from different corners of the world come together.

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About the Contributor
Sabrina Galvan
Sabrina Galvan, Staff Reporter
Sabrina Galvan is a Journalist for Lodi High. (Junior) She is a professional Slayer and slays every story she makes, although she has not yet published any stories yet she has been featured in one of the photos of the past stories. She likes hotdogs, Sandwiches, and Chocolate cake. One of her many hobbies is learning choreography to songs. One of her favorite music artists is Twice (Sana), she enjoys all types of music but her favorite song as of now is Runaway Love by Justin Bieber. She is a solid 5’4 but could pass as 6’1 if you look from far. Anyways she looks like she’s always mad or ‘not in the mood’ but, in reality, she is almost never mad but always tired and bored so don’t mistake her resting face as her not liking you because in reality she is half asleep and struggling to stay awake. 
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