On Saturday 30th September, Kayla Bopp-Taylor, Elijah Cashen, Noah Collins, Kiara Churchman, Jake Merry, Calvin Nguyen, Kyle Williams along with Mr. Reynolds and Mrs. Mori left for Japan. They arrived at Kansai Airport next morning and had a half day travel including Bullet Train to our Sister School, Showa Junior High School. When we arrived at Minagi Train Station, all host families, staff members from Showa Junior High School, the principals in Showa Area, The Soja City Mayer and the top of Soja Education on Board welcomed us.
The students fit in the new school environment quickly and made a lot of new friends. Mr. Reynolds and Ms. Mori were pleased to see how the students enjoyed their school life in Japan. They participated in a variety of activities at Showa Junior High School. They enjoyed the cultural lessons including Tatami mat making, Koto (Japanese guitar), Kendo (Japanese martial art) and Japanese cooking lesson. They also attended Year 7, 8 and 9 classes. Some students showed a great potential of playing Koto, and all students enjoyed hitting the manikin with Kendo sword with no hesitation. All students were allocated in a home group and they enjoyed eating Kyuushoku for lunch in their home room. Kiara and Kayla took a role of serving food.
The excursion to Hofuku-Temple was excellent. We went with Year 9 Japanese students and we were lucky to be picked up by the local TV and Calvin and Kayla were interviewed about how they felt the Zazen experience. We also visited Showa Primary School on Thursday and enjoyed playing Japanese traditional games.
All participants including the staff members stayed in a homestay and enjoyed having a lot of cultural experiences. Kyle went to the Sushi restaurant with his host family and he enjoyed many kinds of Sushi! Noah and Jake were invited to experience the Japanese event – Moon Viewing.
On the last day, many people saw us off at Minagi Station. Mr. Reynolds and Mrs. Mori were glad to hear all students would become homesick after they come back to Australia, but they didn’t expect three students tried to escape when the train was approaching… they didn’t want to leave! Mrs. Mori had to ask the host families to make sure our students got on the train.
We went shopping at Aeon Okayama Mall. Elijah bought a Pikachu hat and he wore it everywhere at the rest of the trip. Satomi who was the assistant teacher at M.S.C in 2014 came to Kyoto to see us, and we went to Fushimi Inari Shrine and Golden Temple. We enjoyed “Express Ticket” at Universal Studio Japan, which enable us to ride the most popular 7 rides without any waiting time. Mrs. Mori tried all rides, but she got emotional sickness after the while.
We all enjoyed the trip to Japan. All students improved their Japanese language skills and gained a lot of cultural experience. The next trip is happening in October 2019 and Year 9, 10 and 11 students who are learning Japanese are invited.