Sixteen-year-old Japanese homestay student Naoki lands in L.A. with more emotional baggage than suitcases. Naoki is on a mission to reconnect with his estranged best friend, but finding one person in a city of millions is almost as difficult as finding the words to apologize. Navigating a complicated love triangle and acknowledging his bisexuality doesn’t make it easier. Amidst the turbulence of his new life, Naoki needs to build the courage to face his difficult past and make amends before he loses his last chance.
Turbulence: a noun. Definition: Violent unsteady movement, confusion, turmoil and my life right now. It perfectly describes my current physical and emotional state as the airplane makes a swooping wobbly break through the clouds above Los Angeles—one mile closer to what might be the biggest mistake of my life.
The plane (and my heart) takes a steep plunge, and my English-Japanese Dictionary slides off the tray table, followed by my notebook. I reach for them with one hand and hold the armrest for dear life with the other. If I’d just waited two seconds after the in-flight announcement, it would’ve been obvious what “turbulence” means. I readjust my glasses and peer down at the monochrome city skyline below—a total contrast from the lush green mountains I left thousands of miles behind in Hokkaido.
Did I really travel across the world for the chance to find one person in a city of four million people? Am I seriously doing a year-long high school homestay program just to give me that chance?
I am completely out of my mind.
Even after two planes and sixteen grueling hours, only the first part of my journey is over. Landing is the start of another, and the closer I get, the more it’s clear that I can’t turn back.