Claire Komori departed from Tokyo, Japan and arrived in Pasadena, California in 2014 at the age of 16. She is 19 at the time of the interview and living in Seattle, Washington.
Transcriber: Claire Gordon
Claire Komori: (0:00:00)
Hi, my name is Claire Komori, I am 19 years old, and I’m currently a sophomore at the University of Washington. The first time I ever came to the mainland United States was when I was visiting California Institute of Technology, in Pasadena, California. And, when I came to California for the first time in my life, I thought it was really different from what I had imagined it to be. Because the media portrays California to be basically just Hollywood. But, when I was landing into Los Angeles Airport all I saw from the window was just brown dirt. And so, my image of Los Angeles changed from this perfect city to just being a normal, sort of town. Because the media portrays such an exciting, everyday, lifestyle, there was something about me that kind of expected every day to be so, adventurous. But I was surprised that I actually got used to living here quite quickly, probably because every day is the same. I think that really helped me get used to living here, especially because I’m all alone, without my family. But, I do have some friends, uh, who are Japanese, who have come to this college after graduating high school with me. And, I think it's been very helpful for me to see them from time to time, you know, a couple of times a month, to just talk about it. We’re both usually very homesick so we would just talk about what we miss about it. Having friends made it really easy for me to sort of forget about not being with my family and being sort of negative about a lot of things, but just to look forward and enjoy every day.