The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

I thought this was a really cute story and really brought out my love for foreign love stories. Well not to foreign but it does take place in England which is foreign enough! I thought both characters were charming in their own way. Their small quirks and believable thoughts made the book seem relatable enough. Though I do wish a cute a British guy would strike up a conversation with me at an airport. I wasn’t sure how the title of the book was going to match the story, and to be honest I’m still not entirely sure how it does. Maybe it has to do with the probability of finding compatible people in an international airport, being on the same flight, etc. Haha. I find it crazy how odd the parents were. Wanting her to accept and even be happy about the marriage especially after the dad left. The soon to be step-mother, especially her real mother extremely upset me. They seemed very inconsiderate and brash in their decision making. However, the story does take a turn for the good…and bad. But mainly good. I recommend anybody who is into a quick YA read or even in an airport to give this book a glance because who knows when you might meet a cute British person.

-Coralie D.

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

True at First Light by Ernest Hemingway

True at First Light eBook by Ernest Hemingway | Official Publisher ...

True at First Light: a novel written by Ernest Hemingway after a trip to Italy and his return from hunting in 1949. It reflects the author’s abhorrence of war, his concern for the future of mankind, and his reflections on the value of life, love, and death. The book’s title, taken from the dying words of Confederate General Thomas Jackson during the American Civil War, shows Hemingway’s tough-guy character — and that of himself — facing death. Although the novel is not his most famous work, it reflects the personal life of the writer incisively and vividly from one side, so that readers can have a comprehensive understanding of Hemingway.

Hemingway went on his second safari in 1953-1954 with his fourth wife, Mary Welsh. The couple, along with several locals who were working with them as their helpers, hunted a vicious lion. They also shot some gazelles, leopards, and sand hens on the way, which reflected the author’s pure and friendly sense of loyalty to the ignorant and loyal African indigenous people, Mary’s positive attitude towards learning shooting and training courage, and the happy atmosphere of their life together. Hemingway’s local girlfriend, Debba, is described in the book as “his fiancee” by Mary.

This girl was quite close to Hemingway, but she did not affect the relationship between the couple, showing a precious spirit of mutual consideration between people. An intricate counterpoint of alternating fiction and truth forms the heart of this memoir. In many passages, the author makes extensive use of this polyphonic tone, which will no doubt please any reader who enjoys this kind of music. True at First Light is a manuscript by Ernest Hemingway. The original was published in July 1999, just in time for the writer’s centenary.

What sets this book apart from many of his other novels is that it is an autobiographical novel written in the first person, so it feels intimate to read. It is a detailed and vivid account of the author’s second safari in Africa from 1953 to 1954 with his fourth wife, Mary Welsh, and reflects Hemingway’s affection for the uncomplicated natives.The book is permeated with a cheerful atmosphere, and appreciating this work is like tasting a cup of fragrant coffee which makes people have a sense of clarity and cheerfulness. In a way, this book is not so much a novel as a colorful travelogue or memoir, and many of its passages are beautiful prose pieces that add to Hemingway’s many works.

-Coreen C.

Book Review: On the Road by Jack Kerouac

On the Road Jack Kerouac Quote poster The Beat by Redpostbox ...

“On the Road” is a novel by American Beat writer Jack Kerouac, first published in 1957. The novel, mostly autobiographical, loosely structured and episodic, depicts the absurd life experiences of a group of young people and reflects the spiritual emptiness and muddled state of postwar American youth widely regarded as a classic of the hippie movement and the beat generation in the 1960s. “On the Road” is the the protagonist Sal’s pursuit of personality along with Dean, Marylou, several young men and women across the continental United States to Mexico. They drank too much, talked too much about Zen in the East, blocked cars when they got tired, slept in villages, and wandered from New York to San Francisco. At the same time, the book embodies the techniques of improvisation and spontaneity that the author advocates: the natural flow of thought, counter-plot, heavy use of slang, colloquial language, long, ungrammatical sentences, and extensive references to American social and cultural mores. On the other hand, the book shows the mountains, plains, deserts, and towns in the vast land of United States.

Like the beat generation in real life, the characters in “On the Road” are rebellious young people who defy political authority, secular ideas, traditional morality and law. In the oppressive and depressing society of the McCarthy era, these young people felt unbearable oppression and bondage and were always looking for relief. They are frantically speeding back and forth across the vast continent as they seek instinctive release, self-expression, and spiritual freedom. Their addiction to drugs, sexual indulgence, and jazz music were also, to a larger extent, extreme manifestations of their search for soul liberation. “On the Road” isn’t just about how these young people are challenging mainstream culture, venting their frustration, and trying to break free of its constraints. That is to say, it is not just about denial, but more importantly, it is also about these young people’s painful exploration of new ways of life and beliefs. Perhaps the most profound thing about Kerouac is not so much the extreme life experiences of the beat generation, their rebellion and pursuit, their nirvana and misery, but his reflections on the beat movement itself. It is this kind of thinking that best illustrates the spiritual pursuit and endless transcendence demonstrated by Kerouac and the beat writers.

-Coreen C.

Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne Around the World in 80 Days (8601410733353): Verne, Jules: Books

The novel is rich in themes. Science fiction theme, roaming theme, detective theme, love theme and other themes cross and merge, and construct quite rich meanings. Among these themes, the Eastern theme stands out. In the novel, Fog’s route around the world is detour through Africa to India, from India to Japan, through Japan to San Francisco, and finally from San Francisco back to England. India, China, the Philippines, Japan and so on account for nearly a third of the pages. This part of Oriental imagination and writing is also the most prominent part of the dramatic elements in Around the World in 80 days, full of excitement and adventure, bantering and satire. Jules Verne fully demonstrated his humanism as a writer.

Through the words of his characters, he expresses his indignation at India’s barbaric funeral system, and shows his deep sympathy and righteous indignation at the British opium poisoning of the Chinese people through the experience of Jean Passepartout. He also used the beating of Fix and Fogg at the San Francisco convention to ridicule the chaos of the American democratic elections. Verne through Fogg’s whereabouts, connected Europe, South Asia, East Asia, North America’s topography, climate characteristics, urban architectural characteristics and local customs. As if it were a richly detailed book of popular geography, the precise amorous feelings and the ups and downs of the characters in the book combine closely with the strange religious customs and local customs of the world to form the propeller of the plot.

Fix, for example, would not have had the opportunity to urge the evil monks in Calcutta to sue Fogg and his French valet Jean Passepartout if he had not been a know-it-all who did not know that Hindu temples had to take off their shoes and socks and enter barefoot. If Fogg and Fix had not strayed into the Hong Kong tavern, Fix would not have drunkun Fogg with his pipe, and Fogg would have missed the important message that his master’s ship was about to sail ahead of time. Fogg had to venture to Yokohama in a boat of twenty tons, and there would have been no hurricane at sea. And if Fogg hadn’t gone to the Japanese acrobat troupe in Yokohama to find work and perform feats of human overlap, the master and servant would not have met by accident.

Custom has no greater effect on the plot than when Fogg and his party, riding on elephants, witness the grotesque and sinister funeral procession of widows passing through the dense forest, and Fogg has a whim to rescue the poor lady who has been forced to die. This directly created Aouda’s brilliant appearance in the story, and also created the sympathy between Fogg and Jean Passepartout. In other words, when a new custom is carefully portrayed by Jules Verne, it is conceivable that the conflicts of the story will again become concentrated and climax. The customs of the world’s landscapes are, in a manner of speaking, like intricate prisms, and the development of established stories like flower petals, which, when combined, create a kaleidoscope of wonders from Jules Verne’s travels.

Around the World in 80 Days follows the narrative pattern of travel in Western literature. The hero Fogg is a calm, rational, methodical, precise and accurate Englishman. He bet the men of the club twenty thousand pounds that he could complete the circle in eighty days. So he set out with the French servant, and after a long journey they returned to England on time. Fogg not only won the stakes, but also won the love of Aouda from India. This is the main clue of the novel. There is another clue in the novel: Detective Fix pursues Fogg. Fifty-five thousand pounds are missing from the counter of the Bank of England. The police find that the thief looks very much like Fogg. When they found out that Fogg had left England, they thought he was going to make an escape, so they sent Fix to hunt him down.

Travel and adventure and the pursuit of fugitives form the double power of narration in the novel, as well as the parallel and intersecting two threads, which make the narrative and structure of the novel form a certain tension.

Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift

Gulliver's Travels (Classic Starts Series) by Jonathan Swift, Jamel Akib,  Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

Gulliver’s Travels has not only a profound ideological content, but also a relatively perfect art form. First of all, Swift used fictional plots and fantasy techniques to depict the reality of Britain at that time. At the same time, he also created a colorful, fairy-tale fantasy world based on the reality of Britain at that time. Swift’s fantasy world is based on reality, while the contradiction of reality is more prominent in the fantasy world. After the coup d ‘etat of 1688, for example, the Tories and the Whigs fought for power and attacked each other, when in fact they both represented the interests of the aristocracy and the bourgeoisie. Swift captured the essential characteristics of parliamentary party fighting and created the high-heel party and low-heel party in Lilliput.

These fictions make reality stronger, more concentrated, more typical, and more universal. The artistic charm of Gulliver’s Travels is also here. Swift’s fantasy and reality are harmonious and unified. Swift’s fantasy and reality are harmonious and unified, and Gulliver’s experiences are different in Lilliput, Brobdingnag, Laputa and Houyhnhnm. But they were all reasonably arranged without any flaws. Every time he went to a fantasy country, he was treated differently. He made his works have a sense of artistic reality, which has a great appeal, so that satire can achieve a high effect. When the author mercilessly satirizes and criticizes the parliamentary politics and reactionary religious forces in Britain at that time, some of them are straight sarcasm, some use the tongue of foreigners, some are metaphorical sarcasm, some are animal sarcasm, all of which are funny.

The combination of fantasy and reality also adds a unique artistic charm to the novel. Although the author presents a mythical world like a fairy tale, it is based on the reality of social life in Britain at that time. Due to the author’s precise, delicate and apt description, people can not feel that it is a fantasy, as if everything is true. For example, when describing the proportional relationship between small people and adults, and between people and things, the ratio of one to twelve is always reduced or enlarged. The little man of Lilliput is twelve times smaller than Gulliver. And the lords of the Brobdingnag were twelve times larger than Gulliver. One of Gulliver’s handkerchiefs would be a carpet for the Lilliput Palace. Brobdingnag’s peasant’s wife’s handkerchief, draped over Gulliver, became a sheet.

In describing the operation of the flying island of Laputa, the architecture of palaces, and the structure of towns, the author also intentionally uses the knowledge and data of mathematics, physics, chemistry, astronomy, and medicine. In this way, the authenticity, harmony and symmetry of the partial details of the characters are transformed into the reality, harmony and unity of the whole picture and scene, which greatly enhances the sense of reality and appeal of the work. The author’s writing is simple and succinct. In Lilliput, for example, Gulliver transcribes an official proclamation extolling the king as the king of kings, with his feet at the center of the earth and the sun above his head, etc. Gulliver, in brackets, calmly explained that the perimeter was about twelve miles.

With this explanation, the boundless territory that reached the four poles of the earth shrank abruptly to a mere dozen leagues around it. The contrast is hilarious. The words in parentheses reveal the author’s simple and matter-of-fact style, which he does not seem to be commenting on, but rather to explain to us objectively and faithfully the scale of Lilliput. Although the scenes of Lilliput and The Land of The Houyhnhnms vary, as do the circumstances of the heroes, the layout and style of the whole novel are consistent. Every time Gulliver went to sea, the causes and consequences are explained in detail, the complicated plot is described in order of time and space, the text is concise and vivid, and the story is unique.

Five Weeks in a Balloon by Jules Verne

Five Weeks in a Balloon eBook by Jules Verne - 9781775452614 | Rakuten Kobo  United States

The friendship and care between people are reflected in the book. Three travelers once risked their lives to save a French missionary. When the balloon was about to fall into Lake Chad, in order to make it rise again, Joe jumped into the lake and saved the lives of his two companions. As Joe fled the Sahara for his life, a shot from Kennedy saved Joe from the barbarians. This spirit of mutual love and mutual assistance in the era of personality publicity is very worthy of readers to cherish and carry forward. In order to show the wonderful scenery in Africa, this novel introduces the rich geographical knowledge. Through the image of the hero Fergusson in the novel, the author fully shows a scientist’s loyalty to the cause of human progress, praises his courage and strength, and shows the great power of modern science and technology.

However, when the novel describes the African native people, the racial prejudice reveals inevitably the era and history of the limitations. Five Weeks in a Balloon, by Jules Verne, describes the journey of Dr. Fergusson and his companions across the African continent, in which the admiration for European civilization, as well as the disgust and disdain for backward civilization, is evident. From the perspective of orientalism, Five Weeks on a Balloon shows a strong national character and the resulting Eurocentrism, which is mainly reflected in its description of the African environment. More than that, Jules Verne wants to show the excellence of his own nation in this process. To highlight this, the typical environment in his works is the desert, which means to raise thirst, desolation, loneliness and death, which must be overcome when crossing the desert.

The success of Mr. Fergusson’s entourage is the author’s affirmation of westerners and western civilization. But the whole work, from the point of view of orientalism, this affirmation is also based on a kind of dislocation between Europe and Africa. They thought of themselves as the most civilized people, looking down on others, and orientalism retained a more or less European-centered consciousness even in their later reflections. It is difficult to avoid this phenomenon, which requires that people should treat the East objectively and not overnight. However, in the analysis and criticism of people, they should at least be conscious of preventing them from being brought into the theory of Eurocentrism. When they look at problems, they should always make clear their position as an Oriental.

The African landscape is described in vivid detail, with mountains and seas, swamps and depressions, desert rivers and volcanoes all covered in the novel. The baobabs, fig trees, acacia trees, tamarind trees and other tropical plants are very strange. Elephants, hippos, crocodiles, vultures, leopards, hyenas and other tropical animals, as well as the thrilling battle of wits with savages and monkeys, all inspire the imagination to travel to Africa in an adventure. The hydrogen balloon was their vehicle, a relatively unknown object even to today’s readers, and the hero of the book had thought of it as a tool for exploration in the first half of the 19th century. What is more interesting is that the author even introduces the complex structure of the balloon to the readers in detail through the protagonist, which shows the author’s extensive knowledge and extremely rich imagination.

Authors We Love: James Agee

Image result for james agee

Born on November 27th, 1909 and died on May 16, 1955 was this brilliant American poet, novelist, and writer for and about motion pictures. Written about in Encyclopedia Britannica, Agee grew up in Tennessee’s Cumberland Mountain area, went to Harvard University, and wrote for Fortune and Time after he graduated in 1932. Although his movie criticisms weren’t widely known, his humorous comments on movies still gained a lot of support from the audience instead of merely evaluating musicals and movies like an insider.

If you don’t know yet, his book A Death in the Family actually won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Now, I think this has a lot to do with his experience as a child, as this is an autobiographical novel. Not only the name “Rufus”, who was the main character in that particular novel but moreover it was James Agee’s middle name. His father, Hugh James Agee, like Jay Follet was killed in an auto accident when he was merely seven.

In addition, just when he was ten years old, his mother enrolled him in Saint Andrew’s boarding school. Remember something now? Yes, this is exactly the same setting as his other book The Morning Watch.

Although I haven’t read or watched all his other plays and featured stories, there is one thing I can tell: James Agee is a legendary author who utilizes his own family background and experience to produce outstanding stories and mold characters into the best shapes he can.

-Coreen C. 

The works of James Agee are available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Charles Dickens Comes to Life On-Screen

Now I’m sure that many sophomores out there in the blogosphere are familiar with a certain book: A Tale of Two Cities. The author of this book, Charles Dickens, is renowned as one of the most brilliant writers of all time.

kelsey_kyle_londonConnecting back to my previous blog, I traveled to London this past summer and visited many historical sites. One of the places I ate at was the George Inn, and I learned while I was in England that Charles Dickens and William Shakespeare were known to frequent the pub and write their stories over meals. I thought that it was fascinating to be able to stand in the same building as two famous writers from about 200 years earlier.

invisible_woman_movieWhen I heard of a movie focusing on the secrets of Dickens’ life, I immediately became intrigued. I think that it would be amazing to have a famous actor/actress act out your life story in a movie! Ralph Fiennes, a well-established Hollywood actor, plays the part of both director and Charles Dickens. One of the main reasons why I think it would be interesting to see the movie is to get a better understanding of who Charles Dickens was, and how that took shape in his writing. Personally, I am finding myself enjoying his novel, A Tale of Two Cities, and although my English class has not yet finished the story, I like the plot of the story and how Dickens shares his opinion of the French Revolution of 1791 with his readers.

I think Charles Dickens was a very talented author of his time period, and his legend will live on through this new movie that reveals the secrets and tells accounts of his life.

-Kelsey H., 10th grade

Four things about Japanese culture and society that I bet you didn’t know

I’m not entirely sure on how to start this post, so we’ll start from the beginning… (And please excuse my tangent from the standard book review, welcome to an adventure in Japanese pop culture and society!)

256px-Satellite_View_of_Japan_1999So, this summer I was granted the wonderful opportunity to study abroad in Japan through the program American Field Service (AFS for short, more info at the end of this blog post*). I was placed in Nagoya, the third largest city in Japan, and lived with my wonderful host family for six weeks. During the span of living there I also attended a Japanese language school, to learn more and improve on my Japanese. I am so grateful I was able to experience Japan through this way, because of this I came back home a more outgoing and open minded worldly person, not to mention my Japanese dramatically improved.

I can honestly say I made many new best friends there and through truly immersing and experiencing the culture first hand my view of the world has changed for the better. It may sound a bit cliche and cheesy, but it’s true! Living abroad, let me repeat living, not being a tourist, changes everything about how you view the world, literally with “different eyes.” Ask any exchange student who has come back and genuinely grown from their experiences, I know I have.

As a little about myself, I am of Japanese background so I am and was deeply aware of many Japanese traditions and societal values, but being a Japanese American is entirely different than being a true Japanese person. It is incredible the amount of differences between our two cultures, so although I believe myself to be Japanese, I now know that I am proudly Japanese American. Although the two cultures are dramatically different, there are so many aspects that have been carried to my own life through my ancestry that I only became apparent of with this experience.

So why am I posting this as a blog post you ask? While I was in Japan, I decided to document my experiences in writing on a blog, which before my trip I showed to the lovely Allison Tran (Mission Viejo’s teen services librarian). After my return, she read a majority of my blog posts, she asked that I would write this blog post on different aspects of Japanese pop culture and society. So let’s get started!

Four things about Japanese culture and society that I bet you didn’t know.

(As a quick note: a majority of these things are based off of my own experiences living in Japan, so they may be specific to Nagoya, my host family, or my own experiences. Everyone’s experiences are different, and because of this you may not encounter or experience all the same things that I have.)

1. Japan IS NOT (most of the time) the country it is portrayed as in the “Meanwhile in Japan” memes. Although there are many crazy aspects of Japanese culture that are truly like what you sometimes find while roaming across the internet, there are also huge differences in everyday life as well. I can assure you that any culture has their share of things that would be viewed as “strange” by other cultures or ethnicities. Japan is very much so a culture of opposites, old and new-look at the ancient capital of Kyoto versus modern day Tokyo, people hold values on both ends of the spectrum, and that stuff that you saw in the “Meanwhile in Japan” probably only applies to a fraction of the actual population living there.


Of course Japan has McDonald’s (photo by flickr user Nicky Pallas)

2. Japan and Japanese culture has a lot of adopted things from different cultures. Although they take many things and use them within their own culture, they change it and improve on it, putting a distinctly Japanese twist on it. Food, kanji (adopted Chinese characters), inventions, certain words and vocabulary, social norms of the younger generations, and fashion in Japan, are all things which a fraction of could be traced to another culture of origin. And although Japan does have a large amount of “borrowed” things, they will take it and modify it to be distinctly Japanese and entirely unlike the original imported item of choice. I often experienced culture shock finding so many familiar things there that weren’t all that familiar.

A member of the pop group AKB48 (photo by Dennis Amith)

A member of the pop group AKB48 (photo by Dennis Amith)

3. Dramas (basically television shows), manga (Japanese comics), J-pop (Japanese pop music), and anime (animation) isn’t as prominent as you would expect it to be. Of course there is a section in the bookstore of library dedicated to manga, but it’s not as if everyone is an “otaku” (the closest equivalent to this in English is a “geek” or a “nerd” who is obsessed with a certain thing like a certain manga, or anime shows). And yes, of course all of these are much more prominent in the country of their own origin, but I was definitely expecting a lot more. Everyone though does have their own favorites and many anime or manga in Japan could be connected to a certain generation as what they grew up to, similar to us saying we grew up reading dystopian novels that are popular with American teenagers nowadays.

I know I should be mentioning more about these aspects of pop culture so here are some sub-points to this topic:

  • Japanese dramas: The standard format of Japanese dramas are around ten to eleven episodes long depending on how well it is received and if liked even more, maybe a second season will be installed. I personally prefer dramas over anime because of the amount of dramas that can truly reveal aspects of daily life and culture in Japan, versus the selection in anime (but this may also be because I haven’t taken the time to actually watch many animes yet). Dramas are basically Japanese television shows, created for a Japanese audience. Since they are produced specifically for a Japanese audience the Japanese humor runs rampant and hilarious. Many Japanese dramas are also adaptations of other mangas, and sometimes animes, and due to the popularity many Korean and Taiwanese versions of the same drama crop up.
  • Manga: There are many different styles of manga and genres, very much similar to how one would organize a book collection by genre. Many very successful manga go on to have anime and drama versions. Manga can also be seen as forms of art within the storylines told and art forms themselves. Huge fan bases have been created for various manga, and often times these books are considered real forms of literature with overarching themes that can connect readers to the situations the protagonist is going through. I often read the more girly form of manga named “shoujo,” which isn’t necessarily girly, but known for its emphasis on emotions, relationships between people (not all romantic), and is usually directed towards a target audience of teenage to young adult women (although anyone can read it!)
  • J-pop (and other assorted music): Believe it or not, a majority of music is marketed towards the younger generation through television, (if you search through my posts you’ll be able to find mine about the amount of television watched in Japan…if you’re wondering it’s a lot.) There are many channels that are very similar to what MTV was originally, before all the reality TV set in, music artists are invited onto television show to perform and promote themselves. They sometimes have funny challenges for band members to participate in and interview questions so the watcher can learn more about their favorite artist. In this way people in Japan are much more connected to their favorite idol or artist through their television, and these performers probably reveal more things about their own personality and who they are through these shows versus how teens in the United States obtain information about their favorite music artist. It is also interesting to note that there are huge idol groups such as AKB48- which actually has 48 members- formed on the basis of fans being able to connect with at least one of these many girls who have a range of hobbies, likes, and interests. Many J-pop idols are also well into their 30s and 40s for age, yet are still extremely popular. SMAP is Japan’s number one idol group and is composed of members all in their 40s, who aren’t just listened to by women their age, but also by teenagers.
  • Anime: Personally I don’t watch a huge amount of anime, but in many cases it could be considered an art form. Much like in the United States there are huge fan bases for popular shows, and many “otaku.” Anime could be comparatively what some people watch in Japan today, versus what we Americans watch as television shows. Many go on for years, a famous example “One Piece” started as a manga in 1997 and is still running having around 400 something episodes. Studio Ghibli, the creators of many classics such as “Spirited Away” and “Totoro” are in particular regarded as one of the highest quality art form of anime produced in Japan.


Students working together to clean their school (photo by Allison Tran)

4. Many people don’t expect this- I certainly didn’t- but everyone works together so well in a group mentality in Japan, versus the mentality of Americans, which emphasizes independence. People act for the betterment of society, for the betterment of their family, or for the betterment of their group, not for individualistic means. I knew my host family’s neighbors extremely well, maybe even better than my neighbors here at home. It’s not as if everyone is extremely self-righteous and friendly towards everyone, but everyone acts more cooperatively and openly with other people. Certainly the culture is shifting a little at the borders and the younger generation may experience it in different ways, but everyone is there to support the others, often placing others before themselves. My own theory for why this came to be is the small size of Japan as a whole, because of this more people have to work harder to understand each other and be a team in times of crisis within the islands. It’s based on the shared experiences of living together, a shared awareness shaped by their own society. Perhaps many other cultures have this as well, but it was highlighted in sharp contrast for me coming from a very American mindset and cultural background.

Oh wow! The memories! You may not believe it, but after living somewhere and truly being a part of the community you may return home and experience homesickness for the country and people you were with before. I can now testify that although I only stayed for around six weeks, I am homesick for Nagoya and I miss my host family and my friends dearly, they have all become like a second family to me. If you would like to check out all of my previous posts and experiences from my time in Japan, check out my blog:

I have a bit of a backlog of posts that I started in Japan, but neglected to post, so if you keep reading, I’ll be sure to keep posting!

*  As a bit of background related to AFS: A group of young American ambulance workers named the “American Field Service” were sent to France during both world wars to help with aiding the war effort by tending to the wounded French soldiers on the front lines. Many of the young American ambulance workers and French soldiers formed extremely close bonds with one another, becoming almost inseparable friends. The Americans soon realized that one-on-one relationships between people of different countries was major piece of the puzzle in creating world peace, dispelling ethnic stereotypes, and as they said, “breaking down barriers and forming bridges” between different cultures. As soon as World War II ended they decided to do something to recreate the great friendships they encountered with the French soldiers for other people as well. In 1947 the first student exchanges were started.  Since then AFS has been promoting positive diplomatic relationships between countries through high school age student exchange. I honestly belief that AFS is an amazing organization that is achieving what was originally intended to occur- the promotion of better country relations and the dispelling of racial stereotypes through one-on-one relations between people of different cultures.

Ok, thanks for reading through such a long post! I hope you learned a little more about Japan, and rid yourself of some stereotypes!

-Sophia U., 11th grade