The day had finally come. Today was the day that no one was looking forward too. It was going to be the last time where I would walk up at 5 in the morning, get to school by car, train and walking and being greeted by the smiling faces of the students and the teachers.
The school day began normally. I waited for ISSA at the train station and we both walked to school. ISSA is one of my best friends that I made in Japan. He is someone that I am never going to forget. Sadly, he was unable to come to the farewell party due to his badminton match. We had a normal school today, However, today everyone was going around giving gifts and saying goodbye to our amazing friends that we had made in these two short weeks. I wish we were able to stay longer!
Before the photos even started, our faces were all drowned in tears. Saying goodbye is always the hardest part. Even though we were only here for two weeks, these two weeks were the best. As soon as we walked in to the cafeteria, we were welcomed with our suitcases on the side. That is when reality officially hit me that I was going to leaving soon. The farewell party was fun where I got the opportunity to talk to my friends and reminisce all the memories that we made together over these short two weeks. Doing a cultural performance and giving a speech in front of everyone is what I was dreading the most. But I am glad that in the end everything worked out well. Not long after that I was drowned in tears while hugging Rie and saying goodbye to everyone. By the time we were on the bus, my was were puffy from all the crying. Honestly these two weeks felt so short. I wasn't ready to go back home. I am honestly grateful to be given this opportunity to come here as I made a lifetime of friends, family and memories.
I am really grateful that I was part of this wonderful family. Everyone was really welcoming and loving as they treated me as their own daughter. They made me feel like a part of their family. The took me to a lot of places such as restaurants and lots of places to go sightseeing.
Throughout my time here at Jishukan, I had made many friends whom I will forever cherish and remember. The first group of friends whom I would always remember is SUZUMI, RENA, MAHIRO, MITSUKI, YUHI and ISSA. They were the ones who helped me the most throughout my stay here. They made me a part of their group and made sure that I never felt times. We had many times of laughs and humor as these are some of the memories that I would never forget.
All the friends that I made over these past two weeks, I will always cherish and remember them. Thank you to everyone who has made this experience memorable and fun.
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After the sweet making, we all headed home to get ready for HANABI. Wearing a yukata at Tanabata was difficult. I didn't know how I was going to handle it today . While getting ready, Mistuki, Issa, Mahiro and Yuhi came over to get ready with us. After everything was done, we got dropped off to the train station where we made our way to Hirastuka. One thing I can say is that there was a really big crowd. The streets were crowded as we were walking as there need to be guards on the road, patrolling for the safety of the citizens. Getting there we caught up with Suzumi, Rena, Reo and Shareek.
After the fireworks, we went to get some food. I bought this chicken dish (I forgot the name) but it was DELICOUS. The person serving us was sooo cute. He spoke really good English. He asked where we were from and it was cute how he kept complimenting me in the yukata.
We got home around 1 pm and honesty I was dead tired. After a HOT and RELAXING bath, I headed off to bed. Saying that I got enough sleep was an understatement. With only less than 3 hours of sleep, I had to wake up at the next day at 5 for a long and tiring day at school. Thankfully, my host mother was willing to drive us to school the next day so I got the opportunity to sleep in the car.
Overall today I really enjoyed watching the fireworks with my friends. I got to eat more yummy food aswell as getting to know some of my friends more. The memories that were made at Hanabi will never be forgotten.
Today was Monday 15th of July. The 15th of July in Japan is known as "Umi No Hi" (Marine day) . This is a Japanese national holiday. For us New Zealand students instead of considering it as a long weekend, we considered it as a normal weekend. Why? because this meant that we didn't have to got to school for two days. The purpose of this holiday is to give thanks to ocean because Japan is based as an Island nation. Making use of this public holiday and no school, we had a cultural experience of Japanese sweet making. Today we were going to make transitional and famous Japanese sweets.
Reo papa, put the sweets in the oven and told us to wait. While we were waiting for our sweets to be made, Reo mama took us to their store. WOW! was all I could say. As soon as I entered, I was embraced with the smell of delicious mouth watering sweets. We were also given permission to choose a sweet of our choice. I choose a sponge cake, it was good. Once our sweets were done, we went back and packed the sweets. It was now time to head home and get ready HANABI
THANK YOU TO REO FAMILY
for allowing us to come to their shop and making sweets. Thank you for teaching us how to make it and allowing us to taste test some.
When I talked to my buddy, I still remember that one of the first things she asked me was " Do you like Disney". I replied with a smiley emoji saying yes. I didn't know that she was planning to take me to Disney land in Japan. Some differences is that we don't have a Disney land in new Zealand and the second one is that they have 2 Disney attractions. One is Disney land and the other is Disney sea. My buddy took me to Disney sea.
With less than 5 hours of sleep, I woke up at 4 the next morning. The night before my buddy told me, "Don't worry, you can sleep on the train and bus". So waking up early in the morning we caught the train to Ebina where my other friend, Mitsuki was waiting for us. Following the train ride, we got off and headed towards the bus that was going to take us to TOKYO DISNEY SEA. We also caught up with Yuhi and all 4 of us made our way to DISNEY SEA.
It was my first time being at Disney land. I loved it. We stayed there the whole day where in the end I also got the opportunity to watch an amazing parade. I went on a lot of rides and personally one of my favourite ones was the TOWER OF TERROR. Even though I was really scared, it still really enjoyed. In the end of the ride, I honestly felt sorry for Mitsuki that he had to deal with me. Me being scared, held his hand very tightly turning it pink. Again I am really sorry about that Mistuki 😂
Overall, today was a really really fun day. I went on lots of different rides, even some scary ones but it was worth it. Next time I come back to Japan, I want to go check Disney land out.
Another cultural activity that was planned for us a tea ceremony known as Sado. Not only was it our first time but it was also our buddies first time attending a tea ceremony.
Since today was a Saturday, school finished early. To make use of this early finish, we headed over to the tea ceremony teachers house. It was quite a long walk from school but we made it there eventually. Especially in this humid weather, by the time we had gotten there, we were all hot and sweaty. Once we got there, we got introduced to all the teachers and helpers. After introductions, it was time to change into our Yukata's. Wearing our Yukata's was something that we were all not looking forward to. Maybe because it was really hot and we were all crowed in a small room with a hot water boiler right next to us.
SITTING ON THE GROUND, ON OUR KNEES FOR 30 MINS was a really big struggle. I know that not only New Zealand students but also the Japanese students were struggling. Especially Satoshi, it was cute to see him turn red. Thankfully it was not that long so once we drank the tea and ate the cake and the ceremony was complete, we were given the chance to stand up. Everyone sighed with relief with the English interpreter told us that we can stand.
Once the ceremony was complete, we were given to opportunity to make green tea ourselves and serve it to our buddies. It was a wonderful experience as I learned how to make green tea the traditional way. One thing about green tea is that it is really bitter. So drinking it twice was not helping. 😂
THANK YOU FOR THE MEAL
Cooking is another activity that we had during our time here at Jishukan. Even though I am not a good cook, luckily the food that I made turned out..... OK! (The only thing that I know how to cook is probably eggs and 2 minute noodles.) 😂 It was fun to cook with younger students as shockingly they were all better than me at cooking. This just made me realise how bad I am at cooking. I am sure that not only me but also the other New Zealand students felt the same way.
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Takoyaki and Okonomiyaki PARTY
Cooking with 4C
Overall, Today, I learned that I can actually cook (with the help of some friends ). I had a party with the student council and learned how to cook some Japanese food.
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Through out the week, we would be given the opportunity to visit different English classes from grade 1 to grade 5. At least everyday we would attend one English class that was taught by either Jerome or Bruce. Having English classes with grade 1 and 2 were honestly the best because they were so cute and was always bubbly and happy. Some were shy so it took a while for them to open up and approach us. Some were extremely happy to see us as they kept on coming up to us and talking.
One thing that amazes me about Japanese high schools is the amount of respect students have toward their teachers. Every lesson we went to began with "Kiristu (stand up), Kiostuke (stand up straight), Rei (bow to the teacher)" When the student bows they say "Onegaishimasu" which means please teach me. The lesson also ends the say way. However, in the end we say "Arigatou gosaimashita" which indicates thank you for teaching me.
During these classes, the teachers would set out activities and lessons where we got the opportunity to interact with everyone. Some of the activities that we had were quizzes where Jisukan students only had to speak English. It was really cute when we did quizzes with 1st and 2nd grade students because they were not allowed to speak Japanese so they tried their hardest to translate it to me in English. 😍. The students tried their best to get to know us by asking questions. LOTS AND LOTS OF QUESTIONS, such as " Where do you live in New Zealand" , "what is your favourite Japanese food" " what are your hobbies" etc. Not only did we answer their questions, we also got to share things about New Zealand. Many students did not know about New Zealand. They were really interested and intrigued on the things that we were telling them. We shared the Maori culture. Me and Memory did a hongi as a demonstration. It was funny how the students were shocked and amazed at the same time.
I was really grateful for the students in all of these classes who were always helping me out and just talking to me. Getting out of my comfort zone, I had met lots of new people from the ages of 12 to 17, making lots of memories with them.
Today, Jishukan students were having exams. Being a very loud group, we decided to get out of their way by going on a school trip that planned out for us. However, instead of just Aorere students going, our buddies came along as well. Along with Ono sensei, Yuki sensei and Mr Ali, Mr Pierce also joined us.
Kamakura was honestly a beautiful place. There was a Buddha in the middle where my buddy told me to say "Daibustu". Daibutsu is referred to as a giant Buddha in Japanese terms. We had this amazing opportunity to walk inside the giant Buddha.