Monday, May 16, 2011

School Curriculars

Wow there are so many choices for school curricular I have no idea what I should do when I get there, apart from the obvious choice, Kendo which is Japanese sword fighting and a must I need to pick a cultural activity and i would appreciate some input. Here are some cool people doing kendo.

Some of the choices for clubs are:
Wind Ensemble
Amateur Radio
Astronomy -which is pretty cool...
Photography-which would be a good choice seeing as I know only a little Japanese
Art- also a good choice
English Speaking Society-yeah probably not
Newspaper- That wouldn't really work

Calligraphy- which would be fun

Acting- which would be my first choice apart from the language difference

Tea Ceremony-which is pretty cool
And of course, Flower Arrangement- which is an obvious win
I am not really sure what to choose there are a lot of amazing choices and comments would be appreciated. :)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

My Family and House

Yay! I finally received my host family and school information.  I will be staying in the city of Ogori which is on the southern-most island in Japan, Kyushu.  it is gonna be over a hundred degrees there year round so maybe I will actually get a tan for once in my life.  Ogori is the rose capital of Japan so I expect it to be absolutely beautiful.  Also it is less than 2 miles away from the ocean and I am very exited to spend some time on the warm beach. 

My host family has two daughters who are four and ten.  It is going to be weird having younger siblings because I am the youngest in my family by quite a large age difference.  However, these two girls are possibly the cutest things I've ever seen and the whole family just looks so nice.  My host dad is a police officer and my host mom is a stay-at-home mom so I should have plenty of time to connect with her.  The family name is Ikeda, so while I am there I will Ikeda Jennifer haha, that doesn't sound right.  The father's name is Masafumi, the mother's is Aya.  The two girls are Yui, the younger one and Wakaba, the older. 

Their house is huge, considering the size of normal Japanese houses.  i don't have to share a room with either of my host siblings which will be nice because I am sure that some days I will want some space.  The care bear rug on the ground however might be a bit disconcerting haha.  I also really like how the little girl is posing in all of these pictures :).

My school is Called Kurume Senior High School and it is a Prefectural school (which means a public or state school).  It focuses on students who have an interest in foreign communications so there are a lot of English classes taught there.  However, there are few if any English exchange students studying there so I should stand out a fair deal.We all have to wear uniforms and my high school's uniform is not the cutest but it isn't horrible and I do rather like the summer outfit which I will probably be wearing most of time due to the heat.

My school is in a neighboring city of Ogori called Kurume.  It is 20 km from Ogori and I will have to take a train or walk to school every morning.  It will be nice to have a little bit of time to wake up in the morning before i face the day. School starts at around 8:30 there and goes till 3ish.  After that I will have two hours of whatever extra-curricular I choose and then head home.  I hope I can make friends easily, my Japanese isn't very good, but I am practicing.  Overall, I am just oozing enthusiasm for my trip.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Success!  After months of preperation and planning I have finally been accepted by AFS Japan.  I am now planning on studying abroad in Japan for six months come August.  As a junior at Lynden High School in Washington this is the last year that I would be eligible for this program, so the fact that I got accepted means even more to me.  I have been to Japan once before and simpley feel in love with the whole country.  I am extremley excited to be able to LIVE there for half a year!  Those of you that know me will testify to how excited I am, for those of you that don't know me as well or are just tuning in to my blog, my name is Jennifer Rienstra and I love Japan.

My passions include art and history.  The main reason why I am so thrilled to be going to Japan is that it is a country that has very unique history and art styles and it also places a high importance on having a good grasp of both subjects.  Actually, Japan places a very high importance on being top-notch in all areas of academia.  I beleive that this trip, besides being a great cultral experience,will allow me to become a more well-rounded person.  The soceity of Japan is so different from rural Washington, that almost everything there will be a new experience that will force me to have a fresh outlook on life.  I am very excited to learn more about their fascinating culture and to be able to use their age-old in my own life.

While I am there I hope to serve their country to the best of my ability.  I know that AFS is foremost an academic program, but secondly it is a service program.  I hope that my presence and work while I am there will help to rebuild their terrorized communties and bring hope to families in need. 

The only thing that I still need help with for my application process is that I need to raise $12,000 to pay for tutition and the cost of living for the six months while I am there.  It may seem like a lot at first glance I know, but when you think about how that fee includes tuition, airfare, food, lodging, and other nessasary costs for six months, it makes total sense.  I do not have $12,000 in my bank account however.  That is where i am going to ask for your help.  I am currently working as many hours as I can and planning fundraisers right and left.  However, this will most likely still not help me raise all of the money.  I would apprietate any support you would give whether it is monetary or just moral.  Letters are still nice. :)  If you would like to help out you can either click the ChipIn button below or send money to my home address. (1290 Garden Circle, Lynden, Washington, 98264)

Thank you for everyone wishing me well,