The United States of America

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Right now I am sitting in my room in southern Illinois watching Orange is the New Black. 

The plan ride home was better than on the way there. I watched Lego Batman Movie, A Dogs Purpose, Beauty and the Beast, Divergent, and Alligent. The coolest thing about the plane ride – I witnessed the sun set, nighttime, and the sun rise all within three hours. 



After we got off the plane, we landed in Georgia and cut it very close to catch our connecting flight. Our flight from Japan got delayed by an hour so we only had 2 hours to get through customs, and everything, then run to our gate. We made it with about 20 minutes of time to spare. 

Then we boarded our flight to St. Louis. I got to sit in a row of seats by myself cause they were never sold. I watched 4 episodes of Adventure Time and then I feel asleep for about 40 minutes. Whenever I awoke, we only had about 10 minutes till we landed. I looked out my window and saw a place I knew! 

I knew I was moments away from seeing my mom and Grammy.

Once out of the gate I walked for about 3 minutes and they were sitting there waiting for me! I hugged them and we went to get my bags. I waited and waited and started to get scared when I didn’t find my bag. Eventually it came and we went to the car. Stephen stoped on his way out and said have a safe trip home! 

We went to a hotel as I live an extra 3 hours from St. Louis. There I gave my mom and Grammy their presents and they loved them! We went to Steak ‘n Shake and I ordered 2 whole meals cause you know haven’t had a burger in two weeks haha! 

After that we went back to the hotel and I showed them majority of my pictures. The second I hit the bed I was out. 

The next morning we packed up and then went to Cracker Barrel for breakfest. Then we hit the road and 3 hours later I was home. I unpacked some and then I feel asleep again. Jet lag sucks I tell ya. When I woke up I unpacked the rest of my stuff and just laid and watched Orange is the New Black. 

Here is everything I bought minus my moms and Grammys stuff. 

When I woke up this morning, I received a message from Rina. She said that my gift went with the concept of her room!

It really made me happy to see my art making someone else happy. I think today I’m going to try and get my pictures up on Facebook for everyone. 

These past two weeks were life changing with the different culture, and the people I met. I could have not been more thankful for everything that I was able to do. This experiences makes me want to get out in the world, and even learn some languages! 

One last thing, I would like to thank all of you for coming on this journey with me! I thank you for being amazing readers and taking the time to read this blog! Furthermore I hope you all got a glance of what I was able to do!  This is my last blog post, but it will not be the end to my adventures! 

Thank you so much for reading

Jacob 

It’s… Over

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I never thought I would have to type this post, but it’s true I’m sitting in Narrita View Hotel with is next to the airport and I’m watching some tv. But this time tomorrow I’ll will have been on my flight for a little over 3 hours. Before I really get into the sadness of this reality, let me tell you about the best day ever – today!

We put all of our luggage on a charter bus, that we would later take to the hotel, then headed for our last visit to Technos. Once arrived we went to our usual “home base” and we waited for our session to start. 

We went to the guy with the early childhood career students! They had a variety of games for us to play. We played (Japanese version of the following) Duck Duck Goose, Telephone, Red light/Green light, and ultimate Rock Paper Scissors. I’ll explain some of the difference in the  following 2 paragraphs.

Duck Duck Goose

So imagain playing a normal game with the same rules and this will be a lot easier. So normal rules, but you put your hands behind your back. Whoever was “it” had a rag. They would walk around and if they dropped the rag into your hand then you had to chase them like in our version. You have to tag them with the rag with it in you hand, as if you were tagging them with your hand in our version. 

Red light/ Green light

Once again think of basic rules and this will be easier to understand. So this game was played as normal. The goal was to tag the person saying stop or go. If you were caught moving you would turn into “eyes” and watch everyone else to help  the talker catch others. Once the person speaking got tag, everyone had to run as fast as they could to the other side until the talking person yelled stop. They would ask the person who tagged them how many steps they were allowed to take. The person replied and the speaker had to take that many steps to tag the next speaker. 

Hope that all made sense :/

After that we ate lunch at the college, and then had to waste two hours while the students got ready for our farewell party. When I looked and saw that I was a little upset, but that was nothing compared to what happened today. 

Once we go to the party we all sat down and listen to some very well spoken speaches. Then we all got a “Certificate of Completion”! 

It was very cute how they all did this for us! After that we had some snacks, and we had to vote on the 12 finalists and guess what!


The one on the bottom left is mine! I made it to the finals! I submitted for all three categories and I acctually made one! 

After the snacks, we all chilled and Rina (Technos student director) had a gift for us. The students had wrote on boards for us with little going away messages. Talk about emotions, then they said that they were going to announce the winners of the photo contest. This was the first time that they had done this competition, and they hope to carry it on. They announced the 2nd and 1st place winners for culture. Then they went to the category I was in. I was hoping for second and I knew that the start sky photo on the bottom right was gonna be first. They announced 2nd place and it was that photo, I was shocked. Then they said first place and they said “Jacob Wilson”…. I didn’t get up because it didn’t register that I acctually won! I got up and Rina gave my gift. 


After that we all took a photo and then the best thing ever happen. The students got up and My Life would suck started playing. They all got up and started dancing in sync! Like that was what made us cry. It was amazing. We then all went outside to take one last group photo.

We boarded the bus and waved one last goodbye to the students. Rina said by Jacob I miss you so much. I again cried and then we left the college! 
On the bus I opened my gift and it was a beautiful table scarf. I had Leslie pose with it.


We went to a new town for dinner and spent some time playing games. We boarded the bus one last time and finally arrived at our hotel. Matt told us about our flights and how to get there and when to leave. We got our keys went upstairs and I repacked to fit everything. 

Now I’m laying in my room with Elizabeth and we are just kind of chatting! 

This trip was life changing for me. A small town kid just went to Japan. I can honestly say that I am so proud of everything that I did on this trip. The people I met on this trip will not be forgotten. Most of us are hanging out and laughing, only to avoided the reality that in a few hours most of us will never see each other again…. it’s gonna be hard I really can’t remember what it was like not knowing these people and I’m gonna miss them like crazy. We all connected so fast because of this one great thing. I can honestly say that if you’re one of thoes people I’m talking about. Thank you for coming into your life, thank you for making this experience better than it was suppose to be, thank you so much for just everything. You all will hold a place in my heart and I’ll never forget the experiences that I’ve shared with you. Photos will help relive the memories, but the best ones are in my memories. 

All that’s left to say is that I will miss you all. And that I don’t wanna leave you guys but I have to. 

I’ll try and post tomorrow before my plane. 

Please stay in touch 

Love,

Jacob 

Airline before the plane home? 

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Went went back to Technos yesterday! We were in more classes like the manga one I was in a few days ago. I was in the airline course class! 

We made origami cranes, tried cool popular snacks and then played bingo. You had to act out the animal for bingo and I got a gorilla! 

After that we went to a new room that had an acctual airline seating area! We all turned in our “passport” and got our tickets. We boarded the plane! The thing in my hand was a gift from Japan.

After we got our drinks and snacks (yes acctual softdrinks and snack) it was our turn to serve drinks and snacks to the students. 

Next we went to the gym where the students put on a culture fashion show and we played games! I also made a samurai hat! 

After that we went to the hotel and a few of us again went to donquihite and then dinner. The dinner we had was again cool. You had 2 salads, 1 appetizer, 2 main dishes, and a desert. But they all came in waves. And you had to finish the current plate before you could get the next one. 

Then we all walked home and went to bed. I just loaded all my luggage on the bus and now we are leaving for our last trip to Technos.  

Today I’m wearing a traditional Japanese summer clothing called a Jinbei! It’s the blue outfit I posted a few days ago! Mya also is wearing hers! We didn’t even plan it! 

I can’t believe it done! Like tomorrow I’ll see my mom and my grandmother. Like two weeks already! I don’t think I’m ready to leave. It’s been so wonderful here 

I’ll tell you about the party after I’m at my hotel tonight! 

Stay tuned for the finish 

Jacob 

Kamakura Tour & Shibuya!

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We left the hotel today very early today to go sightseeing. We were greated after breakfest by a whole bunch of Technos students. Turns out there was one Technos student per international student. The Technos students were from the touring department of the college, and they were assigned to us to help with questions and to learn facts! 

My buddy was named Minato. He likes to play baseball! After about 2 hours of chatting we arrived at Hase temple. It was so beautiful, exactly what I wanted to see while I was in Japan! Gardens, ponds, and koi fish! You then walked up a step hill to find the temple. We went inside after we went on the famous hydrangea path. It was again a steep walk, but the entire hill side was covered with blue, purple, and marron flowers! Absolutely beautiful. At the top there was a remarkable view of the ocean! 

Once we started down, we went into the temple and inside there was a huge statue called Juichimen Kannon. He is a bodhisattva with 11 faces and one of the tallest wooden statues in all of Japan. His 11 faces allows him to hear prayers in all directions. 

After that we started back down to the bus and I took a few last pond pictures before getting on the bus.

Our next stop was Kotokuin Temple. This wasn’t like a “oh my god big Temple.” It did have a very interesting attraction! A statue of Amida Buddha that is 13.35 meters (43.8 feet) tall. It used to be in a big temple, but typhoons and a tidal wave destroyed the building. This statue was originally casted in 1252. 


For ¥20 you could go inside. It was hollow inside and you were able to see all of the carving marks. After that we all went to lunch. It was stormy and raining all day. I spent most of my time protecting my camera. 

For lunch we had a whole fish with rice, soup, and pork. Very good! After we got done, a lot of us went back to the bus and waiters till we left.

On the bus, Minato fell asleep and left me hanging 

We played games on our way to the next location and I won two prizes I plan to give to Emma who is my back home friend. 

The last area we went to was Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine. This was built in 1062 for the gods of samurai warriors. My favorite part was the big red arches that they had! It was amazing and it was really high up! 

I left for the buss after about 15 minutes because I broke my umbrella and had no more defense agains the weather. I got on the bus soaked and waited for our time to run up.

We came back to the hotel and I went to my room and searched for pictures to post for the contest. I decided on a Buddha Statue, a pond area, and a pic of Mariah, Steph, and Brandon walking together. I like them and they meant a lot to me. 

Mariah messaged me and asked if I wanted to go to Shibuya. I was happy because that was the last thing on my must see list. I would have felt incomplete without going. We went and there it was… Shibuya Crossing! It was so fun to watch everyone and be part of the people! 

After that Mariah and I walked around and looked at the pretty city lights. Then we went to Starbucks to get a drink and a better view of the crossing. I got some double chocolate chip heaven drink! We went upstairs and got to watch the people cross a lot. It was so cool! 


After that we decided it was time to go back. I got to witness the “pusher” it’s this guys job to shove people into the trains so the doors will close. I wasn’t on the train but I had heard about it and it’s true. 

That’s all for today. Did I mention that we have 2 days left…. like where did that time go? 

That’s for stopping by, catch ya tomorrow 

Jacob 

Slow updates

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Luckily Jacob is an epic updater because I can’t seem to remember to do it. The trip is amazing and everyone involved is having a great time. I will add a few interesting tidbits for those who make the trip.

1. Get lost on the train, after that you’ll know it and never have a problem again.

2. Stores are often smaller than American stores and stacked on each other. Thus, Google won’t always help. It gets you to the building and that is about it.

3. Try everything.

4. Embrace the culture and norms the for the short time. Don’t be that person, bow, do the Shinto rituals, and learn. It is apart of understanding the unique cultural exchange.

5. Be kind. Our student hosts do so much for us and while it’s a part of their schooling they deserve all the praise. Our student lost her umbrella total the wind and as I tried to buy her a new one other students almost cried because they saw it as so nice. We discussed Karma and moved on.

6. See all of it. The tradition (shrines, museums, etc), nature (Fugi), and the new (Kawaii culture, trendy shops, karaoke, professional wrestling). It’s a layered world.

 

–Stephen

 

Manga Creation

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So yesterday we went to Technos to sit in on some of the classes. They assigned us 3 groups. I was put into the manga creation class. 

In the class the students were preparing for life of comics and other drawings. We were to draw manga ourself while the professor helped us. Thoes of you that know me, know I cannot draw very well, but I can paint. When we had our outline done. We had to go over it in ink. We used the metal famcy tip pens! Or whatever they are called but the ones where you had to dip it into a bottle of ink. Mia was amazing at doing it! 

I was also blown away by how good the students were. Some of them didn’t look handrawn 


When we were about to leave a Technos student behind us drew all of use. And it was so kawaii! I’m the one with his back turned 

After we were done, we had lunch at the college and then we were done for the day. I went back to my room and looked through pictures to send in for a contest the students are putting on. I think I have my 3 selected but it could changed. The deadline is tonight.

After a short time Brandon Leslie and I went to dohnquhotea which is like a less fancy Walmart. They both bought stuff but all I got was a soda haha. 

Brandon and I decided to go back to Harajuku because he wanted to find a tradition formal wear for his girlfriend and grandmother. It looks like this  I helped him find a matching belt. I bought a cute outfit. It was traditional summer wear! 

After we got back I went to my room and watched suicide squad. I shortly fell to sleep during the move. I just don’t realize how tired I am! 

Today is a longer day so I’ll let you know all about it at 5 for me and 3 am for my hometown! 

See you later 

Jacob

Seisaku Taiken (Fake Food) and Sensoji Temple

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Shoutout to Vanessa for posting all the Japanses words on her Facebook for me to steal. 

Now that that is over, today we took the train to Asakusa. From the train we went to a cool store that had three metal bins with warm water in them. Next to the bins were 3 cups containing some yellow, green and white liquids. On the other side of the room, there were bags and containers with numbers on them. We went over and picked up a number to put on our apron and we went over for a brief instruction session. 

The lady told us step by step how type stuff works and then told us to select two pieces of fake food. I chose shrimp and an eggplant. Basically this is what we were doing. In Japan they have a lot of fake food outside of restaurant to try and get you inside. The food is very very realistic! And we were going to make some fake food.

First I did my shrimp and with that you used the yellow liquid. You had to pour it from a high distance in a rectangle into the water. As it would fall, it would kind of stick together and bubble in a way. This would create a fried coating look. You would then place your shrimp on the longer part of the rectangle, grab it by the tail, and then pull it down. The liquid would turn into a solid as it went into the water. Then you would turn it right side up and bring it out of the water. Next you had to fold the edges to make it go all the way around. You would pinch any excess of with your finger. Once that was done you would then put it into a bowl of cold water. This would harden it. Then I did my eggplant which was the same thing. After that we made cabbage. You took the white and poured a bit into the water. You would then grab an edge and hold it while you gently poured the rest on top of the little bit you had. Then you would take the bottom of the ladle and gently drag the white puddle into a long rectangle. Next you add green halfway on the white with the same distance. After that you then add in more layer of green and you are ready to go. You would pull the white side down to the bottom, then a towards you, and the up. Next you would gently start to roll the cabbage to either side. Once done you put it in the cold water and cut it. 

It was so interesting and fun to watch. I remember wataching an Facebook video on the cabbage but never thought I would acctually get to make it!  Next we went to lunch. You remember the dinner were you fried stuff? We we went to one of thoes; only you got to grill it! 

After this we all were like dying cause we ate way too much. Next we went to the temple. It was massive! Bigger than I expected. It was a little crowed but I was exicted to see several people in their formal wears! There were massive gates that you entered which had huge lanterns! 


We all went to the temple and witnessed a prayer happening. It was very cool. We found a fortune telling station. You put ¥100 into a slot and you get to draw a fortune! You would shake this big spaghetti size container and payed. When you were done you would shake a stick out that had a number. From the number, you drew from the many many many slots that matched your number. I drew a good fortune and was suprised how close it matched with my life. Steph and Leslie got bad ones. If you get a bad one, you have to go tie it into a rack to get rid of it or something like that. Steph just went and bought luck. 

After that we hit the shops. Outside of the temple there are shops in a perfect line for at least a mile. I bought my Grammy something very nice and my best friend Genna something too! From there we all headed back to the hotel. Brandon Mariah and I wanted more adventure, but less people. So we visited the park! We walked around and found a cool obsticle course thingy. We all failed miserably but it was still fun! 

We found a swing set and just chilled and talked about our trip and life. Steph messaged Mariah and asked if we wanted to go to the ramen place by the hotel. So we all said sure and left. I had my usual because it’s amazing. I ran out of water and learned a new word today! Sumimasen which means excuse me, I’m sorry, and rarely thank you. (I know the word for thank you as well.) Sumimasen is kind of you call a waiter or waitress over if you need something. After I got my water I said arigatou for thank you! 

Brandon and I went to the bookstore to go look for some booked he wanted. He ended up buying 2 books of his favorite series and 2 book covers kind of like what I bought the other day. We went back to the hotel and I’m now falling asleep while typing this.

Final thoughts of the day: (kinda sad)

4 days… what. It feels like 3 days have gone by. I’m too shy to say this in person but I’m gonna miss these people like crazy… it kind of hit me and I don’t remember not knowing half of these people. We all connected so fast and on so many levels. But we have to part? And most of us are from all over the states so like will I see them again. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to spend this experience with. I have made the most of my time and I’ll soak up everything I can. This has inspired me to travel, to learn a new culture, a new language. I wanna do more than what our four boarders lets us. I want to see the world. I want to live my life! 

Arigatou for reading! 

Jacob