Since we had so many individual experiences, it would be more fun asking what was their favorite moment with their pen pals from National Tsukuba University of Technology (NTUT)! Without any further ado..
Jonathan Cabrera: My favorite moments is when I finally met with my pen pal.
Justin Cha: My favorite memory of my pen pal was one of those moments that I Skyped with her back in Fall Semester. We talked about our interests and likes and one of the things that we talked about was a bunny! So at that moment, I was at home waking up early in the morning at 7AM and showed her my bunny. To my surprise, she had the brightest smile that I can remember from all the times we had together.
Megan Burgess: My favorite memory is when I actually got to meet my pen-pal, Hirame Mina! That night we went out with a group of pen-pals to a sushi place. It had a sushi cart come to you after you order! The sushi was truly delicious. It was funny because we had a separate table with 6 girls and 5 boys! Afterwards, we went out to a local bar and enjoyed our evening, chatting away!
Christian Vergara: My favorite memory is when I was chatting with my pen pal via videochat, I was realized that happened during his class time. He told me that he was “devil.” ha ha.
Peter Yeung: My favorite memory of my pen pal is when we first skyped with my pen pal. While skyping, my pen pal was very nervous, but communicated with me smoothly. We taught each other with ASL and JSL. Every time we skyped, the pen pal was very happy to see me because we learned our interests, our hobbies, etc!
Michael Conrad: When my pen pal, a few other students and I got to explore Tsukuba. We got to eat some great sushi, explore the town, visit a Japanese Starbucks, and even went to a local bar! We got a great picture from it all too!
Mary Rose Weber: My favorite memory is when I chatted with my pen pal via Skype. Our time are different. I talked with him during morning in my time and during night in his time. We taught each other how to sign ASL and JSL. We enjoyed and shared our interests and hobbies.
Gianna Heaviland: Sarah, Cat, Mary Rose, I, and our pen pals went out to dinner at Tsukuba Station. We stayed there for a long time since it was an all you can eat restaurant and we wanted enough time with them before they headed back to campus. We signed in both ASL and JSL. We asked each other what signs there were for certain words. The group of guys were really funny so I had to get a video to capture those moments. They even paid for our bus ride and dinner; that was really nice of them to do.
Caitlin Kight: My favorite memory is that I chatted with my pen pal, Miho for many hours, we skyped each other five times before I went to Japan and chatted for more than three hours. She used ASL while I used JSL so that were only way that we learned the new language. I enjoyed our times a lot and she told me that she loved Winnie the Pooh so I just sketched one while we were chatting then I showed the sketch of Pooh to her and she had a bigger smile I had ever seen. I told her that she have a beautiful smile. She just shook her head and blushed and would declined. We just laughed. That memory will always be cherished to me. And other favorite memory with Miho was meeting her for first time in the person. It was little unexpected for us since I was taller, I mean way taller than her and she told me that she was expected that I would be similar height as her. We just laughed and chatted to catch up. After I got back to America from Japan, we are still in the contact but less as usual however, I am just glad that we are still in the contact!
Geraldine Dang: One of my favorite moments with Pen Pal was when I showed my Nikon to my pen pal. We discovered we both like photography and Nikon camera! She wanted her camera like mine, but she has an INstax, so she was so surprised when I showed her my Nikon, she admired and touched my camera gently. Another special moment was when we met each other, we felt both happy to meet each other at last. Even though, we felt shy awkward at first, soon our convention was easy. We went to eat dinner with my friends and her friends at the sushi restaurant with 6 girls and 5 boys. We enjoyed chatting about New York City, while eating the awesome and delicious sushi! What a special moment for me having great fun and seeing my pen pal having a great time, we leave to each other of friendship and a better understanding of the cultures. I hope to visit Japan and pen pal again in the future!
Rapheal Lopez: My pen pal and i became awkward in the first time because we become strange to each other. We chatted on Skype and learned several sign languages. We are the graphic designers. it’s nice! We shared our artworks. She said, “You draw very good! I draw awful!” I told her that it is not true! Art is our passionate! Until we finally met in person. We chatted and shared our artworks again. On a night, my friends, her friends, my pen pal and i went to the restaurant. We acted a little goofy. They were nice when they paid them for us that means they thanked us for the gifts.
Tiandre Turner: My moments with my pen pal was pretty interesting. We communicated through Skype, most of times we always asking each other questions when it come to JSL and ASL such as how do we sign this and that. I mainly ask him about how to write specific words in Japanese as I am learning how to read and write the language. We always started with the questions provided by our sensei but then we got that out of the way and end up talking about ourselves a little bit. Then when I saw him in person, I could see that we have a similar personality. I am always forever grateful for him to buy me a portable charger for my phone when he didn’t have to because my phone died while we went out with a group for dinner.
Sarah LaMascus: I finally got to spend some quality time with my pen pal in the evening when we went out to dinner with a few other students. Interestingly enough, the way we paired up made it feel like a date which was really funny! Our pen pals were nice enough to pay for our bus fare and for dinner. However it was really funny when I asked my pen pal how much dinner was and he told me that he and his friends were paying because apparently one of the other guys didn’t know that and was quite shocked!
Cat Palm: The moment that I will laugh forever with my pen pal, Takuya, is when we saw each other in person for the first time after skyping for months. I entered the room where we would have lunch with out pen pals, that was where I saw him, at that exact moment, he noticed me too. Takuya immediately looked at his friend on his right and signed in JSL, “She’s tall!” My knowledge of JSL is limited, but it was clear as day what he said! So I walked across the room to him, and said, “Yes, I am tall!” We had a good laugh afterward, it was a great way to break the ice.
Kali Doubledee: I have to admit that my first Skype with my pen pal, Madoka, was a little bit awkward and new because that is when I found out how much do I know Japanese Sign Language. After a while, I would stay awake at around 2am-5am just to chat with Madoka for hours. I was kind of shy when I finally saw her in person. I was too happy that I don’t know what to do! In the end, we are still in touch sometimes after my Japan trip. 🙂