Monday, June 25, 2012

Japan Updates

Today is our first day at school. The students were very happy to see one another after spending one and a half day with their host family (by themselves). Katano Senior High School had a opening ceremony for us this morning. In the afternoon, the group took part in tea ceremony and special calligraphy lesson. (future updates will be added to this site)

Today was our last day at Katano Senior High School. The morning was spent attending various English classes. The school then organised a half day excursion for the BTC group where we visited a old Japanese aristocrat mansion built during the Edo era. A farewell party was held for us where Katano Senior High School students performed ballet and koto (a traditional Japanese instrument) for us. Students were then given a wind chime and a key holder as farewell gifts from the school.

Day 6
This morning we bid the host families goodbye before heading off to Kyoto on the local bus. Everyone really enjoyed their home stay, a number of boys were asked to stay longer by their respective host family. Thomas, Selai and Raven were extremely scared prior to their home stay experience, but they all had such a great time with their families and wished they could have stayed longer in Katano. We visited Kyomizu dera, Yasaka jinja and Gion after arriving in Kyoto. Everyone was exhausted after 6 days in Japan, and have all asked if they could go to bed early tonight. 

Day 7
This morning everyone enjoyed a sleep in before heading to Arashi yama. The group spent most of the morning at Arashi yama Monkey Park, where they fed and took photographs of wild monkeys and boars. Some of the less sporty students did not enjoy the 20 minute walk up the money park, but the view at the top was worthy it. In the afternoon, we visited a traditional tea house where the group was entertained by a 17 year old maiko (a Geisha apprentice).

Day 8
It is difficult to believe, but it has been a week since we arrived in Japan. This time next week, the group will be heading to Narita International Airport to fly back to Australia. This morning we travelled on the local express train from Kyoto to Nara. Nara was Japan's first permanent capital from 710 to 784 AD. A number of traditional houses, temples and shrines built during the 8th century can still be seen in Nara. The group visited the Nara deer park and Todaiji, where students fed semi-wild deer and saw a giant bronze Buddha.

Day 9

Everyone woke up early (6 am) this morning, as the group had to catch the shinkansen from Kyoto station at 7:45. We arrived in Tokyo around 10:40, and had a quick lunch before going for a ferry ride along the Sumida River. It was a easy day for the group as most people were too exhausted to partake in all the activities we had planned for the day.

Day 10
This morning we traveled to the Meiji jingu where we witnessed two traditional Japanese weddings and all purified our sinful selves with the holy water! After we went to the Takeshita street where many young fashionistas chilled ; Lucy and Madi also indulged in a delicious crepe after being hassled by Jamaican Hawkers. We then traveled two kilometers to the park due to Ms Hsu poor sense of direction!!! After arriving at the Yoyogi Park many of the students were disappointed to discover that it was not the home of yogi bear. After sight seeing the marvelous park we caught the subway to the center of TOKYO (Shibuya) where the students were mind blown by the department stores and amount of people! Due to the amount of rain we departed Shibuya early for dinner at a western style restaurant. Steven, Laurence, Thomas and Justin ate so much they all have many food babies.
This awesome description was written by Madi and Lucy

Day 11

This morning Ms Hsu said that we were going for a light stroll up the hill which turned up to be a 5 km walk up a 45 degree mountain to see bless ourselves at another temple. Thomas was struggling so much, he took off his shirt thus blinding us all. Thanks to him we all had nightmares that night ; it was a long train ride to and from the mountain and that afternoon we all did what ever we wanted. The boys played Mario on the wii and Lucy and Madi played cards.

Day 12
A visit to Disney Sea