Kagome Higurashi sat in her designated chair while silently cringing. The muggy heat seemed to press on her body to the point where even sweating seemed to be of no help. It was beyond hot—to say the least. It was days like today that she wondered if there truly was more to life. For some reason, she had thought it would be a good idea to walk to class. In all reality, her good idea had been the reason she was now nearly drenched in sweat. Sighing, she asked herself mentally why it was that she decided to stay in California for college.
"Kagome!" A voice rang out and her answer was received.
Oh, right. Her sister—Kikyo. She had been the reason both of them stayed in California. That and the fact that their only family would be heartbroken if they had moved away. Looking at her sister, she patted the seat next to her. Receiving the message, her sister plopped down next to her.
Staring at her only sibling, she slowly noted their similarities and differences. Kikyo was maybe an inch taller than she was and stood at 5'2 while constantly ranging from 112-115lbs. She had brown narrow eyes and straight jet-black hair, which typically was always down. Kagome on the other hand was 5'1, and had never been over 108 lbs due to her small frame. Unlike the narrow brown eyes that her sister had—she had wide blueish grey eyes that seemed to constantly show off her youth. Other than that, the only difference they had in appearance was the fact that her hair was wavy unlike that of her sisters.
Yet, even with all the subtle differences people always mistook them for twins. She never really understood why. Did they really look that alike? Similiar? Yes, of course. After all, they were siblings. But not twins. Not only that, there was almost a year difference in their ages.
Typically, Kikyo was known for her elegance and maturity while Kagome valued intelligence and sass. Despite their differences, they always remained close. In fact, it was because she had valued intelligence so much that she was able to enter college the same year as her older sister. Even though they were a year apart, here they sat—together—beginning their first year of college.
Noticing that Kikyo was texting away at her phone, Kagome raised a brown at her curiously.
"Mom." Was the response she received. Her sister had not needed to say anything else. Their mother had texted them non-stop for the past few hours expressing her excitement and how proud she was of her girls. While their mother did not say it, she was also thankful that they decided to remain in California. Near their family.
Their Grandfather had originally come from Japan and moved to America later in his adulthood. That meant that while their mother had not been born in Japan, she had learned Japanese because of her father—a skill that she sadly had not thought to pass onto the girls. It was because of that very reason that both sisters sat in their current class—Introduction to Japanese.
Initially, it had been Kikyo's idea. She was majoring in Business while Kagome had decided to go for a degree in Psychology. While they had some Gen Ed classes together, she had thought Japanese would be a perfect elective for them to take together. This was going to be their surprise to their mother—Japanese. They had promised one another that they would stick with it and add it as a minor for both degrees. As the class began to fill up, Kagome gave her sister a nervous glance. She would turn eighteen soon while Kikyo would be turning nineteen in a few months. Both of them grabbed their textbooks out of their bags and waited for the instructor to begin. Almost immediately the door to the classroom opened and an older Japanese woman walked in.
Observing her, Kagome guessed she was in her sixties possibly. While she appeared to be a heavier set old woman, she radiated of professionalism and seriousness. As she gave her introduction, she informed the class that they were allowed to call her Kaede and that she hoped everyone would enjoy the class. Shortly after, the professor began to rattle off attendance. As the introductions and formalities ended, the professor once again began to speak.
"We will be trying something new this year. Raise your hand if you plan to take all the Japanese courses."
Kagome looked at Kikyo with question in her eyes. Nodding, Kikyo raised her hand. Following her lead, Kagome did the same. Looking around the class, there were not many hands up—and the ones that were seemed to be hesitant.
"Very good. One moment." Quickly, the instructor seemed to be writing down the names of those whom had raised their hands. "See me after class." She added as an afterthought. Nodding, Kikyo gave Kagome and annoyed glance. As the class finished up, the students that were informed to stay behind waited patiently. As the professor finished what she was doing, she began to address the remaining students.
"Since everyone here is planning on taking this language seriously, I will be handing out an extra assignment to all of you. Our school is working with Tokyo University to help students learn Japanese and English. The assignment will consist of being given a pen pal. For this course, you will correspond with them only in English—and they will correspond with you only in Japanese. "
Kagome and Kikyo glanced at each other with surprised looks. Pen pals? In 2017? What was the purpose? Didn't everyone have social media at this point? Was there not an 'auto translate' button everywhere on the internet? As intrigued as they were, they politely waited for their professor to finish up.
"While this assignment may seem silly to you not—it will not in a while. As you correspond in your native tongue, they will do the same. Each thing you learn in class will slowly help you translate your letters. You will become more familiar with the culture of Japan and vice versa."
As Professor Kaede finished explaining the assignment, she reached for a stack of papers.
"I will now match you up with a student to contact. The paper I hand out to you will provide their name, address, and a little information about themselves. The assignment requires you to send out a letter by this weekend. It can be about anything—just make sure it gets sent off."
With those words, she began handing out papers to each student. Nervously, Kagome looked down at the paper that was in her hands.
Name: Sesshoumaru Tashio
Address: Nanpeidai Estate, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Academics: University of Tokyo / International Program in Economics
"I'm going to be late to my next class. Text me about who you got?" Kikyo said as she grabbed her paper quickly and ran out of the classroom. Nodding in agreement, Kagome glanced down at the paper. Really? That was it? Name, age, gender, address and their degree plan. That was all she had to go on when it came to writing a letter to someone. Mildly irritated, she told herself to make the best of it. After all, it was just a couple of letters. How bad could it be?