By Matthew De Bortoli & Daniel Yue, Y10
Our tour of Japan began on 19September with an early morning flight to Brisbane where we transferred to the international airport for our flight to Narita Airport, Tokyo. After an overnight stay, our group took a domestic flight to Okayama. We arrived at Konko Gakuen High School for a welcome ceremony where we each made an introduction speech in Japanese. We felt extremely welcomed by the students, host parents and teachers and it was wonderful to see familiar faces as many of the students had visited Radford earlier this year in March.
We spent a busy week with our wonderful host families and participated in school life at Konko Gakuen, attending classes, a tea ceremony, club sports and the annual Sports Festival. Along with the usual track and field events, there were fun activities such as a thirty-one leg race! We travelled to Hiroshima to visit the Peace Memorial Park and Museum, which was very moving. That afternoon we cheered on the Hiroshima Carp Baseball team to a 3-2 win over the Yomiuri Giants.
It was an emotional farewell at the Okayama train station on our final morning, as we had become very close with our host families. We headed to Kyoto on the bullet train and began three days of amazing sights and activities. The shrines, temples, statues and castles were stunning. We enjoyed our visit with a Geiko and Maiko (apprentice Geisha) and our day in Canberra’s sister city Nara, where we went to a deer park and walked through the Tori gates to the top of Mount Inari.
Our next three-day adventure began as we arrived in Takayama, a beautiful area in the mountainous Hida region of Gifu Prefecture. Here we stayed at a traditional style bed and breakfast hosted by a lovely elderly couple. We enjoyed activities such as an Onsen spa bath, making soba noodles, picking wild mushrooms and catching fish for dinner by hand. We were also able to spend some time relaxing together.
For our final part of the tour we spent an exciting three days in Tokyo - shopping in Harajuku, exploring the neon-lit strip, visiting the Ghibli Museum which showcases the work of the Japanese animation studio and taking the lift to the 45th observation floor of the Metropolitan Government Building with a view over Tokyo to Mount Fuji. A highlight for many of us was our day at Disneyland where we stayed into the evening for the parade and fireworks.
We would like to thank Ms Sharp for organising such incredible home stays, school visit and itinerary for the Japan Tour 2017. We experienced so many different cultural activities in such diverse locations, and the food was amazing too! Thank you to Ms Jackson for accompanying the tour as it was her first trip to Japan.
The memories of our tour of Japan will last a lifetime as will the connection we made with our school friends and host families at Konko Gakuen, Okayama.
More details on this tour will be included in the Semester II edition of Radford Report, published in December.To Home