Japan Trip 2009
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After farewells to our families, we joined the rush of international travellers. During our time in transit, we lost count of how many bag checks, passport checks, boarding pass checks and incoming travellers' checks we went through. It was a relief to come through our final checks in Fukuoka, Japan, as our adventure was just beginning.
The following day, we travelled for one hour by the Shinkansen (bullet train). Aboard the Shinkansen, we ate our first authentic Japanese lunch called the ‘bento box’. We arrived at Hiroshima Jogakuen School, where we met our host families.
We were taken graciously by volunteer Year 12 students from Hiroshima Jogakuen School to the well-known Hiroshima Peace Park. In English, they explained with detail and emotion the hardships the city has endured. Hiroshima Peace park was erected as a memorial for all the lives lost due to the devastating atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. On Tuesday we caught a ferry to majestic Miyajima. We felt as though we had stepped into a history book. The culture and rituals - not only in Miyajima but all of Japan - are so different to those of Australia. We left Hiroshima early the following morning. Although there were awkward times in the beginning, by the end we were all laughing together and dreading the day we would part.
When Saturday came, we found it hard to leave our welcoming host families. We were aboard the Shinkansen for two hours, which brought us to Japan's capital, Tokyo. While we were waiting at Tokyo's busy station for our host families, we reunited with students who had come to Kilvington in the past. Many of us experienced the wonders of the Tokyo Rail System for the first time. There were men specifically hired to organise people into orderly lines, to move, direct and push people aboard the bursting trains. This may sound extreme, but after experiencing the rush on and off the trains, it became clear that the extreme measures were necessary.
On Tuesday, everybody was buzzing with excitement. Today was the day we were going to Tokyo Disney Sea. The following day was our last day in Japan. We visited famous shopping precincts including Harajuku, Akihabara and Ginza. For the last time, we waved good bye to our second home and waited for our plane at Narita airport.
It was a memorable and wonderful experience. At each host school we were warmly welcomed and looked after. Events and activities such as calligraphy, kimono wearing, tea ceremony and school tours were amongst the memories we will treasure. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed this rare and valuable opportunity that was only made possible by Miss Ishihara, Mr Macmeikan and our dedicated parents. I hope other Kilvington students have the same opportunity in the future.
Our thanks also to the students and host families.
The 2009 Japanese Students