A Project for Better Journalism chapter

Japan’s Kokoro Leaves Japan to Visit Greenwayland


Kokoro is a 19 year old exchange student from Hiroshima Japan. Despite visiting our school, she is actually a freshman at a university studying English and Biology.

Kokoro’s hobbies include “listening to music, hanging out with friends, and traveling,” to name just a few. In regards to traveling, she has been to Taiwan and wishes to go to France one day. Meanwhile, her favorite musical artist is Bruno Mars, “Just The Way You Are” being one of her personal favorites.

Her first impression of Arizona other than the obviously miserable heat is how large portion sizes are here. Despite that, she’s yet to find a dish she doesn’t like, one of her favorites so far being tacos. Something she found shocking is the differences between Japanese and American schools. “There are lots of rules in Japanese high schools. When class starts students cannot speak, eat food, chew gum. It’s surprising seeing people do that here. American school is so free, you can choose your clothes and it’s okay to wear makeup.” Mrs. Olson added the fact that tattoos and hair dye is restricted in Japanese schools as well; however, Kokoro says she has a bit more freedom now that she’s in university. “University has less rules then, because your an adult.”

Kokoro has been taking in American culture very well according to Mrs. Olson. “She’s really brave and willing to try everything.” However, she does admit she misses Japanese food her family a bit.

Kokoro was greeted by our student body in August and has already experienced some Greenway rights of passage such as a trip to QT and her first school lunch. A party in Ms. Olson’s Japanese club was held to celebrate her arrival and she has been shadowing different Greenway students in order to get a diverse view of different student lives here. Aside from school, she’s been shopping and even did some laser tag.  Ms. Olson took her to  see Bearizona and Antelope Canyon in Northern Arizona.

Traveling across the globe to visit the land of Demons was an experience that she will never forget.