Avalon has made some new friends in Japan… even though they live over 7,000 miles apart and have never met!  Recently she received a packet of 15 letters sent by a 4th grade class from Ballentine Elementary School in Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina.  They are Avalon’s new pen pals and they have an interest in learning about Japan!  Each student wrote Avalon a letter and she answered all of their questions in this blog post.  Before they wrote, they read some of our blog posts, namely the ones about the Cat Cafe, rice fields, trash and shoe rules.  So they had a lot of questions about those topics.

Avalon also hand wrote a letter to the class, telling them a little about life and school here.  She plans to send it to the students, along with a little care package from Japan.

A little trivia:  The website usageo.org says: The straight line distance (airline route) from Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina, USA to Osaka, Japan is 7,101 miles, (11,428km or 6,170 nautical miles).  Because their teacher has an engineering background I know she would enjoy these additional facts from usageo.org.  Maybe she can make a math lesson out of it!  (You can look up at what speed most commercial airlines fly at.)

Airline Route Distance and Flight Time from Fuquay-Varina, NC, USA to Osaka, Japan:

Distance          Flight Speed          Flight Time

11,428 km        900 km/h               12 hours, 41 minutes

11,428 km        700 km/h               16 hours, 19 minutes

11,428 km        500 km/h               22 hours, 51 minutes

Dear EW, I can’t believe that we are the same!  You have five people in your family and me too! And we are both the youngest!  And some of the candy here is weird… but most of it’s good!

Also the food is great!  Japan also has something called katsu. (カツ) which is really good pork.  Also, have Mrs. Barrows show you the blog post called Japanese Cats, which will tell you how we brought our cats to Japan.  And so yeah, we have 2 cats, and we brought them to Japan from America.

(エミリー) EW

Dear Olivia, Yes!  I love to swim in the sea, on my own free time!  And my favorite color is Cherry red, and gold.  And I love to cook and sew too!  I even have my own sewing machine, and my mom has a lot of cooking supplies in our American kitchen!  And I love Japan.

(オリビア) Olivia

Dear Natalie, There are a lot of butterflies in Japan, but you can mostly see them in spring with the cherry blossoms.  And sadly there is no beach near where I live in Japan.  I don’t know if there is a cat cafe in Calli.

(ナタリー) Natalie

Dear Jack, Yes, I found a dog cafe, but only in Tokyo.  I live in Osaka.  We do have many trash cans in my house but mostly in each room, and there are a lot of shoes but we really don’t use them.  We only have bathroom shoes for guests.  Right now one hundred yen (called hyaku en) is equal to about $1.10 in US money.  So that’s one hundred and ten cents.

(ジャック) Jack

Dear MP, It’s kind of hard to get used to Japan but I know what you are supposed to do in Japan.  Like you can’t talk on the phone while you are riding the train or bus.  Because it might disturb other people.  Or you have to stand on the right side of the escalator so people can walk up the left side.  It isn’t hard though, so thank you!  I go to school, but it’s an international school.  We all speak English there.  My favorite sport is gymnastics, and my hobby is swimming/water polo.  In America it’s the same!  This is the pool at my international school!

(メガン) MP

Dear Giovanni, Actually they do have a dog cafe, but it’s in Tokyo.  I live in Osaka.  And just for everyone, you don’t have to take off your shoes every time you go to a bathroom.  Sometimes you change into bathroom slippers in a building, like my mom’s work place, or someone else’s house, or sometimes in a restaurant, but you don’t change shoes like in a train station.  And you don’t wear your outside shoes inside the house, usually you wear your socks.

(ジョバンニ) Giovanni

Dear LS, Are you the one that is learning Japanese, because the Kanji that you wrote was right! And I can’t write/ don’t know that Kanji!  I only know the first one, 月=  is month – for an example:  私の誕生日は11月6日です。 As you might know, 日 =  is day so what the Japanese sentence says, is that my birthday is November 6.  I also love doing crafts!  I love my art teacher.  Also you will have to check out the Owl Cafe blog post!  It also feels very different in Japan, it’s much more quiet here.

(ローレル) LS

Dear Benjamin, I also have 2 brothers!  No, we don’t own a rice paddy!  Although I can see one through almost any window in our house, if we did it would probably be a lot of work!  Because rice paddys are big!  Although, you really almost do eat rice with everything, and yes I have grown to like it.  My mom makes brown rice a lot, but I like white rice better.  How you spelled your name was pretty close too!

(ベンジャミン) Benjamin

Dear Ella, Wow! you have a lot of pets, I have two cats!  I have been to Cabo San Lucas in Mexico, but never to New Mexico!  I loved Mexico.  And soccer is a really fun sport too!  Look at Giovanni’s answers, that should have answers to your question, the other part is, well, our house only has 2 bathrooms so we only have 2 extra bathroom shoes, and you don’t have to carry around bathroom shoes.  And yes I have seen many rice fields, I live in a city called Minoh (it’s in Osaka) where there are a lot of them.  And there are a lot of different things in Japan than in Calli. You also got your Kanji name spot on!

(エラ) (彼女) Ella

Dear Chase,  Somethings that I do at school?  Things I do at school, like subjects, are, we have art, English, Japanese, laptops, and music.  We don’t have science yet.  And what I DO in art, is listen, talk, do my work, and that’s probably it, really. OMG, the rice here is so good. I have 5 pairs of shoes at our house. And 1 hundred yen is close to one dollar.  Japan uses things like pennies, they are called yen, so one hundred yen is almost one hundred pennies.  Also you are another one that did your Kanji right! Good job!

(チェース) (追跡) Chase

Dear KT, I do have 2 pet cats, we brought them from America, and you should also check out the Japanese Cats blog post.  They are Tabby cats!  And they are so cute, once your class and I Facetime/Skype, I can put them on camera.  OK, we have a huge closet of board games but we have not played many.  So do you play board games, or maybe that’s just our family.  Um…. usually when there is something like a rainstorm we usually have hot cocoa.  And I love animals.  OMG when I have the chance I love to bake!  It’s soooo fun!  Also, I love doing something new!  Here is a picture of my brothers when we played the board game “Life”.

(ケイト) KT

Dear Emily, Haahahahahahahhahhaahh, I had to ask my mom who that was that you wrote about, I totally forgot about that!  Um… he just sat there the whole time his friend or wife tried to put cats on him because he was sooo scared!  Also my Japanese teacher has stuffed a lot into our minds, so, kind of pressuring… but it’s ok!

(エミリー) Emily

Dear Nathan,  I do have to learn to speak Japanese, #1 because that is one of my school classes, and #2 because all the people around me speak it.  No, my regular teacher is American (she is from Pittsburgh!) and she does not know how to speak Japanese.  The food here is really good, although something that bothers me is that you are really not allowed to eat and walk at the same time, so that gets kind of annoying.  Here is a sign that says not to eat while you are walking!

(ネイサン) Nathan

Dear Ryley, My favorite video game is Super Smash Bros, my favorite character to play as is Robin with the pink hair!  I also can beat a level 8!  If you know the game, I love it!  And yes, I love playing video games!  There’s an arcade near my house.  It is called Namco-land.  Sometimes my brother and I stop there on the way home from school!  My favorite game there is called Pokemon-Galoe (GA-RO-AY).

(ライリー) Ryley

Dear Gabe, The shoe system is not like America. You have to take off your shoes to go into the house.  We just wear socks inside.  And the trash system I really don’t know, my mom is the best at that! And I love to eat white rice, as white as it can be! And it’s not hard to find American food here.  We have pizza and hamburgers and corn dogs here.  There is even a Costco that we go to sometimes.

(ゲイブ) Gabe


This place is called Pokemon Expo Gym!  It is near my house at a mall called Expo City.  We have to take a monorail to get there!

This is really close to my house.  I can ride my bike to the bottom of the path and walk up to a waterfall.  It’s called Minoh Falls.  Minoh is the city I live in and Osaka is the prefecture.  A prefecture is a really large area.