Testimonial by Victoria (Tori) Cantu - Tachi kid 2012
My Tachi experience was life-changing and an amazing experience. Being selected as a Tachi kid was the best thing that has ever happened to me. I had the best time of my life that year and made memories that I will cherish forever. I gained a new "sister" named Momoka Akazawa, and her parents treated me like a daughter when I was in Japan. I had never traveled outside California before being selected as a Tachi kid. I was very nervous about going to Japan until I got on the plane. Once landing in Japan, all my fears and nerves went away. The committee who greeted us at the airport and who were with us for many excursions were the most welcoming and sweetest people I had ever met. I quickly adapted and tried to do and eat everything that was different! I think besides my wonderful host family and the new sights, my favorite thing about being in a different country was the food!
Being in Japan, I was able to experience Japanese culture and was able to experience first-hand Japanese grace and hospitality. I don't think I've ever been welcomed or treated as kindly in any other country as I was while living in Tachikawa. The pace of life is much faster and never-ending compared to America; the way people get from place to place consists of public transportation and walking, compared to the driving everywhere at home, and the people are always so friendly and willing to help you. I love Japan to say the least and I can't wait to go back! Above all, my Tachi experience gave me a new sense of independence and a strong yearning to travel the world and see new things. Since my exchange experience in 2012, I have traveled to seven different countries through study abroad programs through my college.
I enjoyed and love the Tachi-SB program so much that I have done my best to stay involved these past years despite my personal travels and being in college full-time. I am now one of the college mentors, and I enjoy helping new Tachi kids get ready for their trip to Japan and enjoy sharing my abundant travel experience with them to help make their experience as enjoyable as mine was. I owe so much to this program and hope to stay involved and help it flourish for years to come.