School newspaper of Academy of the Holy Names, Tampa

Q&A With Caitlyn Helms on Her Trip to Japan

March 23, 2018

Helms+is+standing+in+front+of+Daikod%C5%8D+Temple.
Helms is standing in front of Daikodō Temple.

Helms is standing in front of Daikodō Temple.

Photo Credits: Caitlyn Helms (used with permission)

Photo Credits: Caitlyn Helms (used with permission)

Helms is standing in front of Daikodō Temple.

Almost annually, Caitlyn Helms (‘18) visits her family in Japan. The country’s culture is prevalent in her life, and something Helms enjoys.

Achona: How frequently do you visit Japan?

Caitlyn Helms: “I have gone to Japan five times since I have turned eleven, so I have gone every year except for one.”

A: How much of your family lives in Japan?

CH: “All of my mother’s family lives in Japan. It is a lot of my cousins, aunts, and uncles.”

A: How is your mother connected to Japan?

CH: “My mom is half Japanese and moved to Japan when she was five and lived there for 20 years.”

Photo Credits: Caitlyn Helms (used with permission)
Helms’s mother is half Korean and half Japanese.

A: What is your favorite part of visiting this country?

CH: “I love seeing my family, and this time was really cool because I got to meet my eight month old cousin.”

Photo Credits: Caitlyn Helms (used with permission)
Her baby cousin, which Helms is holding, is named Kota; which means “good fortune” in Japanese.

A: What is the biggest difference between Japan and the United States?

CH: “That is a tough question. I guess the safety. You can walk around at night alone and it is very safe. The crime rate is very low in Japan. Also, the Japanese are always respectful and polite to everyone because of their culture.”

A: How has Japanese culture influenced you?

CH: “I feel like it has taught me to be a better listener, because I cannot speak Japanese very well, so I have to listen harder, but I am working on my Japanese. My mom also cooks a lot of Japanese food, and she taught me how to cook those dishes. Now, I cook more than her.”

A: Do you have a favorite memory from this trip?

CH: “We had my whole family over for dinner and it was really cool to see everyone, even extended relatives. I loved just seeing and talking to all of them.”

A: Did you do something new during this trip that you had not done in others?

CH: “I saw cherry blossoms for the first time. They just started blooming and it was my first time going in the spring to see it.”

Photo Credits: Caitlyn Helms (used with permission)
Sakura is the Japanese word for Cherry Blossom.

A: What is the best dish you ate while there?

CH: “My favorite thing I ate isn’t really a dish, but it is a strawberry cake. It’s like strawberry shortcake and is very popular in Japan.”

Photo Credits: Caitlyn Helms (used with permission)
Japanese cuisine is Helms’s favorite type of food to make.

A: When do you plan on going back?

CH: “Actually, I am planning on going again this summer because I promised my aunt I would try to come back and spend more time with my family since this trip was kind of short.”

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