Emmy Yonemura: from the wild west to the far east


Junior Emmy Yonemura traveled to Japan as an exchange student to experience Japanese culture and lifestyle. Yonemura had the privilege to celebrate her birthday on top of mount Fuji.

Japan, home to the creators of Pokemon, studio Ghibli, Nissan, Toyota, Godzilla and sushi, is a place of rich culture. And through the International Rotary Club, junior Emmy Yonemura has received the opportunity to experience this rich Japanese culture for one year as an exchange student.

Yonemura landed in Japan on Aug. 19 and will be leaving in late July of 2015. There, she will have the experience of a lifetime living in a radically different society and culture from ours.

“I love Japan; it is purely based on traditional rules and traditional mentality,” Yonemura said. “Everyone is very polite and truly respectful, and that’s something that you don’t see that often in the United States, Japan is more civilized. Everyone follows the rules. There is almost no crime here — you can literally put your wallet on the ground and come back the next day to find it there.”

In addition to a relatively respectful society, Japanese cities have unbelievable clean public hygiene, due to the fact that there are no public trashcans.  People must go indoors to dispose of their trash.

“The cities here are as neat and clean as it gets,” Yonemura said.

Yonemura has also been through a new food experience.  Occupying the fourth spot on the list of the world’s healthiest cuisine, Yonemura’s reaction to Japanese food is not surprising.

“One of the best things I have tried here is the apple juice; it is 500 times better than the American one simply because the Japanese avoid putting preservatives in their foods and drinks,” Yonemura siad.

Regarding school life, Yonemura is also learning Japanese to be able to further immerse herself into the Japanese lifestyle and culture.  She was also pleasantly surprised with the other electives offered there.

“We have after-school clubs which we participate in until 6 p.m., and I have chosen archery which is very cool,” Yonemura said.

Another highlight of her trip so far? She got to celebrate her 16th birthday on the top of Mt. Fuji. But no matter how thrilling life is abroad, Yonemura still misses life back in California as well as her many friends. Junior Natalie McKittrick sends her regards.

“I hope she succeeds in Japan, learns the Japanese language and adapts well to her new environment,” McKittrick said. “I love you Emmy and miss you.”