A thousand miles away across the sea, Now in America


Salinas Dinh, writer, photographer

Name: Akua Hayashi

Where he’s from: Japan

Grade: Sophomore

Favorite Food: Sashimi (a Japanese dish of bite-sized pieces of raw fish eaten with soy sauce and wasabi paste)

Extracurriculars: Basketball, Theater

Akua is an exchange student here all the way from Tokyo. He says he doesn’t have many friends and because of that he mostly spends time with his host family– Andrea and Harold Clark– who he describes as “very kind” and “always make up jokes” laughing along with him. They play different kinds of board games, and occasionally watches movies as well.

Akua says one of the biggest differences between his home country and America is the traffic system.

“Here there are a lot of cars, while in Japan we have more buses and trains,” he said. Tokyo’s citizens don’t really need cars to get from place to place, Akua said.

Rather than finding it difficult to adjust to Texas, Akua thinks it’s fun, having more activities to do like boating and theater. He thoroughly enjoys acting and playing out different characters in theater, which is a class that they don’t have in Japan. In fact he is planning on joining both of Hays’ fall productions, the musical Happy Days and The Haunted House.

He’ll be staying in Texas for one school year, returning to his home country afterwards. But it’s not his first visit to America. Two years ago he attended summer school in Seattle for two weeks.

Typical Hollywood films and TV shows on American high school life mainly influenced Akua’s decision to study abroad in America, he said. He’s disappointed when his experience was not what he saw onscreen.

One thing that Akua doesn’t like about American culture is that Americans typically don’t care about what others think and the way they are perceived, while in Japanese culture it’s all about respect. With that being said he “doesn’t want to be that guy.” The one word he chose to describe himself is “shy.”

Akua said while he’s here in Texas he would love to educate others about his culture and make new friends.