Thursday, 9 August 2012

Mini Album for Hiro

You may remember that we were having a Japanese exchange student stay with us for 10 days in July. I was excited and petrified all at the same time but knew that this was an experience that the kids would never forget.  It would also have the added bonus of helping The Extrovert with his Japanese.  As the arriving students were closer to the ages of our boys we knew that we were getting a boy.  It turned out to be a very lovely young man named Hiro.  I believe he had recently turned 17 but his English was very minimal and so I am not 100% sure :-)

Here is the mini album I quickly made for him as a going away present.  I need it to be easy for him to put photos into and so I chose to use 6x4 page protectors and make a chipboard cover.  I covered the front of the chipboard with some Ranger Sticky Back Canvas so that I had a good surface for painting.  I knew exactly what I wanted to do and it turned out pretty close to what I had imagined.   First I painted a sunrise using Twinkling H2O's, Glimmer Mists, Ink pads, and Distress Pens (these were the things I had in the right colours).  It is actually quite shimmery.

That is our city skyline.  I found a photo online and printed it out in black and white.  I then cut out the skyline and used it as a template to draw around and filled it in with black paint.  Perth sits on a river and so I used Tim Holtz Crackle Paint put on thickly so that I could get some texture.  However it was really the wrong colour blue so before it was fully dry I painted over it with a dark blue October Afternoon Sprinkler.  It turned out quite textured and I like the slight two tone effect.  Hiro LOVED it!  It took me a while to come up with an idea that wasn't girly :-)

I then made a few header pages for some of the places he had been.  By now it was 11:30pm and so these were done quickly! LOL  Here are just a few of the better ones ...

I printed off some of the photos that we had taken and inserted them in the album and left plenty of blank spots for his own photos taken at places that the school took him.  As it turns out I am really happy that I made this for him as we received an email last night asking for any additional photos we might have as Hiro lost him camera during the trip home.  I wish now that I had asked him for copies of his photos too :-(  He is quite distraught about it.  I am going to try and get any other photos that people may have and send them off to him.

He was a very polite boy and he tried all of the food we usually eat.  If he liked it he said it was good, if he really liked it he said "very delicious"!  On his first night he must have really wondered what he had gotten himself into ... we had Mexican burritos!  We had also just bought ourselves a pie maker and so we had apple pies for dessert.  Some of the other meals he enjoyed were roast lamb with all the trimmings, sweet and sour pork (Jamie Oliver style), sandwiches for lunch, and fish & chips.

Hiro was quite a bit more relaxed around the kids than with us, so we encouraged the four kids to do stuff together.  The Extrovert and The Princess taught him how to play Monopoly (a staple in our house!) which he won.  They took him down to the park to play basketball.  The Extrovert got his butt kicked playing Chess on numerous occasions (this is NOT a staple in our house!).  The Thinker had finally met his match and was beaten in every game of table tennis they played.  All three kids thought it was wonderful having him here and we thoroughly enjoyed it too.

I will share more of our experiences later, but this is definitely something I would recommend to other people.  I am not sure if I could cope with a long visit, but anything up to two weeks would be a breeze.  We will definitely be putting our names down again the next time they come.  The Extrovert is really hoping to be chosen to go to Japan next April and they will be at the same school that Hiro goes to.  Hiro hopes to host him at his house.  It will be interesting to see if they continue communicating.



  1. What an experience! I bet he'll keep that album for ever. I can remember when I did an exchange to Boston my camera broke too and the girl I was staying with lent me hers. I was only young, and it took me until I'd got home again to realise that meant she didn't have any pictures then! No digital then , so I had to get an extra set printed and posted to her.

    Are you planning on staying in touch?

    1. We are planning on staying in touch. When I was 15 I did a trip to Spain and Morocco and when I took my film in to be developed there wasn't a single photo on any of the rolls. I cried!!! Either something happened and I didn't load the film correctly or the film was erased by all of the scanners we went through as they weren't film friendly back then. I only have one group photo from the whole trip.

  2. What a lovely gift...hope The Extrovert gets his visit next year!
    Alison xx

  3. How fun! I always wanted an exchange student to stay with me when I was growing up. I love the album you made him and the skyline idea is just brilliant!


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