All in the Family

All in the family

All in the family

Greetings from Omura! Imagine blue skies, palm trees, native flowers … the definition of utsukushii (beautiful). Omura was not only beautiful from the outside, but also on the inside. Its inner beauty was revealed by the smiles, kindness, and my wonderful host family!

During this WCI – Japan tour I have been blessed with great host families. I find that as we share our respective cultures, we discover how similar we really are. My (Yamamoto) family in Omura was awesome! They were so welcoming and natural, I was surprised that it was their first experience as a host family. From the first day I was encouraged to call my Okaasan and Otoosan ‘Mama’ and ‘Papa’ and was welcomed as one of their own. The first night I remember leaving my toothbrush in a case to the side, and finding it in our family toothbrush holder in the morning – what a nice surprise! I remember enjoying each day as we shared stories, jokes, conversations, drawings … we had so much fun as a family!

The day before last was Arigato Evento and ours was extra special because it was my Mama’s birthday! During our show, my family went on stage for a family interview. Then, it was my turn to give my thank-you speech. Despite my efforts to maintain composure, I was overcome by emotion and tears smoothed my cheeks. After our show, Mama was invited on stage and we sang ‘happy birthday.’ We got emotional again and it was so perfect. Our hearts were melting with joy and our eyes showed it. I gave my Okaasan orange Gabelas (her favourite!), lilies, and carnations (my favourite!) … I am so thankful that I got to become part of such a wonderful family. I will always remember our fun memories. Thank you Yamamoto family! See you again soon.

Grace Cornejo (Canada)

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2 thoughts on “All in the Family”

  1. How are you?

    On April 12, 2009, we welcomed Grace from Canada with excitement and anxiousness. However, once we saw her smiling face, all of our fears easily disappeared. We thought that she might have several inconveniences due to language barriers; however, she tried communicating with us again and again. We also used an electronic dictionary to understand each other! We had such a memorable time with her.

    Even though it was our first time to be a host family, we had no problems at all. This was because Grace always asked us what she should do and what we think.

    The day of the “Arigato Event” was my birthday. It was a surprising moment for me that all of World Campus – Japan participants sang “happy birthday” for me on the stage. I will never forget this special day forever. I appreciate you-Grace; you tried hard to prepare for this day. Also I thank all of World Campus – Japan participants who took part in it. Another impressive thing about World Campus – Japan participants is that they were always smiling whenever I met them in the morning and afternoon.

    Throughout this nine days experience, I realized that we could understand Grace with our hearts even though we had some limitations with our language skills. Now we, the Yamamoto family, feel that we would like to study English more so as to understand Grace’s ideas more clearly, and communicate with her as well as other World Campus – Japan participants.

    It was a very valuable opportunity for us to know this program which fosters mutual understanding through exchanging ideas as well as values while experiencing various activities in Japan.

    Recently with the news of the swine influenza which has broke out throughout the world. When I heard about this news report, I was thinking of you Grace as well as other participants.

    Good luck on your future. Take care.

    The Yamamoto family from Omura, Japan


    1. Hello Yamamoto family, o genki desu ka? Thank you for sharing your nice comments. I am so thankful that we met and became a family. I hope that everyone is well, and Miru is keeping you safe from the Beavers! ^.^ I miss all of you and hope that we meet again soon. Currently, I am practicing my Japanese – I learned so much during our time together.

      Whenever possible, I like to share my amazing experience with WCI – it’s an awesome programme reflective of the people involved. It’s individuals who, through kizuna have the power to create positive changes. Like many other WCI members, I have been changed forever. We all met in beautiful Japan and every person we met made us better people.

      Thank you to all of the host families, community members, volunteers – I will always remember you in my heart. Whenever I see our pictures I feel kizuna’s warmth and my face shines into a smile. Everyone in Japan is so joyful … I remember smiling so much! Thank you everyone, thank you Japan, and thank you WCI for bringing us all together.

      Best wishes for a happy future! Ganbatte kudasai.

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