Summer Rendezvous at UCSD

July 11, 2007
Rini Parekh

On an overcast, slightly chilly day in La Jolla, I had the pleasure of making Sara Furuno’s acquaintance. Although she speaks softly, she possesses a great deal of exuberance and enthusiasm. Her personality is so warm and amiable that I forgot I was shivering during the interview.

Sara is a 16-year-old student at Carmel Valley High School who currently lives in the San Diego area. She is of mixed-heritage; her father is Japanese and her mother is Chinese. Because she was born in the U.S. and grew up learning only English, she felt it was difficult to communicate those who share her cultural identity. As a result, she was determined to learn the Japanese language. Thus far, she has taken two years of Japanese and hopes to further her knowledge by taking AP Japanese in the future. I was delighted when she taught me about the different scripts in Japanese: Kanji, Hiragana, and Katakana. Later, she explained how her last name, was derived from words that mean “old” and “field”.

Moreover, Sara is inquisitive about her culture and heritage. A few months ago in spring, she took a one-week tour of Japan and explored Kyoto, Tokyo, Osaka, and other regions. She was fascinated by mix of East and West in Tokyo. She commented that she saw women dressed in traditional kimonos as well as a plethora of vending machines while visiting the city. She was deeply moved by a monument in Hiroshima that pays tribute to those who lost their lives due to the atomic bomb explosion during World War II. Sara said that she sympathized with those who lost their lives and homes, but at the same time, felt grateful for being able to experience life’s beauty.

Sara certainly has the creativity of an artist. She is a part of Carmel Valley High School’s Art Envision program where she engages in activities such as acrylic painting. In the future, she would like to learn photography. She likes to draw, especially in the Japanese anime style. Although she likes being able to use art as an outlet, she doesn’t want to get formal training to be an artist. Rather, she creates art for her own enjoyment. “I like to do things because I want to. I don’t want to blindly do what others want me to do,” said Sara.

Finally, I discussed the journalism course offered in the Academic Connections program. She told me that even though she didn’t have any past experience with journalism, she was eager to learn the necessary skills as well as apply them in real life. Sara told me, “The fast nature of journalism helps you think faster.” On a deeper level, she wanted to take the class so she can gain awareness of the world around her.

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