“Konichiwa” Rikka

 Story by Khadijah Cooper. Photo by Nijah Ford.

APRIL 4, 2017: A Japanese exchange student by the name of Rikka Murakami came to Friendship Blow Pierce to help our class of 5th grade girls. Rikka came all the way from Nagoya, Japan. She traveled 12 hours on the plane to get to Washington, DC. Rikka is a very intelligent, cooperative and independent sophomore college student from Aichi Shukutoku University.

Rikka’s culture is unlike America's culture because in Rikka’s culture they don't give hugs, kisses, or show affection by touching one another. Rikka desires to become an English teacher some day. Rikka and the girls in Ms. Cooper’s 5th grade ELA class made a great connection. She visited the National Museum of African American history with us, which was her first time.

Rikka turned 20 years old while she was with us on March 3, 2017. The girls interacted a lot with Rikka assisting her with English and all the other school activities, which was something she really enjoyed. Since she doesn't really know a lot of English, we took our time helping Rikka.

On March 9, 2017, Rikka gave us a presentation about her hometown in Japan. One thing she taught us was that students have to pay $2.30 for their lunch in Japan. Kids lunches may consist of a dessert, rice or bread, soup or meat. Rikka gave the 5th grade girls a treat before she left which was chocolate chip cookies. I was also able to experience my first Japanese cookie, which was a small cookie that was extremely tasty.

Rikka took many pictures of the 5th grade girls so that she could show her friends and most of all for her to remember us girls. Rikka is a fantastic person and we will always remember her as an excellent person. We will miss her.

Khadijah Cooper is a 5th grade scholar at Friendship Blow Pierce Academy.