Exclusive Interview: Yuria Tani


Rick Penny

Samantha Bizub, Producer

For the first time in nine years, Alden High School has had the privilege of welcoming a foreign exchange student. Yuria Tani, from Tokyo, Japan has been staying with a local Alden family since August. I decided to take advantage of this rare experience and chat with Yuria about her homes, new and old.

I was so curious to know some of Yuria’s favorite things about American schools so far. I was not surprised when she told me our “dance parties” or school dances were her favorite, but I was shocked when she explained they don’t have school dances in Japan. Yuria has also been enjoying her classes, with her favorite class being public speaking and debate. She also told me that she loves the American food, especially steak. Yuria has been getting involved as much as possible in the Alden school community. She has participated in both the play and musical as well as multiple clubs. She is trying out for the softball team as well. Yuria also explained that American sports work quite differently. In Japan, the sport is an all year activity. They do not have seasonal sports or change throughout the year. These cultures share vast differences, but share many commonalities as well.

Despite their differences, Japan and America share holidays like Christmas and New Years. In Japan, Christmas is a smaller scale. They have decorations such as Christmas trees and wreaths, but they do not use lights around the buildings. They also celebrate a holiday in August called Obon. Obon is a holiday based around the spirits of one’s ancestors.

I was so intrigued to learn about Japan and listen to the things Yuria had to share. This experience is something that Alden will be forever grateful for and impacted by.