The trip started off with a welcome reception where we met our host families who would all truly become our new families away from home. The next 11 days saw the group immersed in a jam-packed schedule which gave many the feeling that they were away for well over a month. Amongst the activities were visits to three schools, watching sumo, making plastic food, a full day at Disneyland and a plateful of other activities.
The importance of this exchange and the overwhelming support from the Shinagawa International Friendship Association (SIFA) should not be understated. Simply put, without their support this exchange would not exist. This isn’t said lightly. However, it is not only the generosity of SIFA that we will be forever grateful for. The overriding focus of this exchange was to maintain and build new friendship ties with our warm and caring host families and the students and staff we met on school visits. We will cherish these new friendships both as individuals and collectively as a group.
The second leg of the trip included the cultural capital of Kyoto with its temples and shrines and the bustling city of Osaka where the bright lights of Nanba and the evening trip to the romantic Umeda Sky Building were both favourites for many members. The group also managed to fit in a Japanese cooking lesson making takoyaki and okonomiyaki and a swift day trip away to Hiroshima.
Whether it was Zac’s obsession with breaking the record number of ice creams consumed in a day, or Taea’s outstanding performance leading the Haka that impressed all including Mr Bovaird, there will undoubtedly be many fond memories that the group will take away from the trip and keep with them for many more years to come.
Participants: Jacinta Chia, Scarlett Chen, Amy Cui, Shaun Davy, Nikhil Dhanda, Zac Eastabrook, Elizabeth Fa'amamafa, Tuliloa Fa’amamafa, Eve Gabor, Miyuki Gale, Kirsty Gong, Nicole Johnson, Upasna Kumar, Taea Lambert, James Larsen, Kristofa Manu, Jan Yiew, Lucy Zhang
Chaperones: Kat Wells, Adam Burden
Rahul Chandra, the youngest member of the group (Year10) gives his account of the 18-day trip of Japan through our Friendship City, Shinagawa (Tokyo) and Hiroshima, Kyoto and Osaka.
It’s 10:42am New Zealand time and we are on our way back home to New Zealand. It’s dark on the plane because everyone has the window shade closed. My friend Niki is sleeping, but I don't feel tired, actually, I'm quite awake. The Japan trip has been one of the best experiences in my life. I would have never known how different life in another country feels like, and I will likely never know again. It was an experience that you had to be there to understand, the politeness, the order, the beauty.
Time with our host family made us become the closest of friends. It turned from a host family to being a part of the family. People that I will never forget. The things that we did, and how nice they were to me. It was like I was being treated like a king (or a queen!) I miss them dearly and when I go home, the first thing I'll do, is unpack, because unlike packing, I'll do this first, right Ms Knell?
|One day I went with my host family camping and the BBQ we had was one of the best things I’ve had in my life. All Japanese food is so much better than in New Zealand.
After the farewell of 12 days in Shinagawa, things only got better. We went on a shinkansen, or bullet train for all you non - Japanese speaking chaps. We sped through Japan and before I knew it, I could see on the map, from Tokyo to Hiroshima, how far we had actually gone. It was amazing! Going to school in Japan was such an awesome experience, it is so much more organised and the buildings are so much more modern than back home.
Hiroshima was probably my favourite activity on the trip. We went to the Hiroshima Peace Park, and went into the War Museum and saw things that really made the realism sink in. The remains of buildings, school uniforms and even skin and deformed nails really showed what the effects of an atomic bomb were and how they are filled with cruelty. I sat in the park for a while after the others left, for around two hours just taking in the quiet and the understanding. My friend Mark felt the same way, as we sat in silence for a long time.
At Osaka we went to Rinku town and the Institute for Japanese Language, more simply known as the Kansai Center to us. Osaka was nice and we did some really cool activities like taiko drumming, yukata wearing and also packing... oh wait…and some shopping. Oh you get the idea. We went on the big ferris wheel and it was pretty cool. Also one of my most favourite parts was the Floating Garden, which is a building that looks awesome and has a really good view. It was just after a typhoon so the skies were clear and nice. I took some awesome pics there. We also did some cool stuff like making udon, wind chimes and ice-cream parfaits.
The trip in general was awesome, and maybe one day I'll go back to Japan. Waking up at four to five in the morning is a bad idea though. Sometimes, on the trip, if I was missing my Dad, I would listen to “Right here, right now” followed by “Rockafeller skank” by Fatboy Slim, while if I was missing my Mum or little bro, or Scott, I would listen to “Hey brother” by Avicii.
I really am going to miss Japan, the sound of the crows in the morning, the smell of an awesome breakfast, the taste of the best bread ever, the feel of the futon, the light streaming into my room and spraying itself on the floor. All of these were awesome experiences and the best time of my life, but I have gone on enough now, and because they are serving breakfast on the plane, good bye guys. This is Rahul, signing off for the last time.
Don't you think I would forget this part! DFTBA! (Don’t Forget To Be Awesome!)
During the summer holidays when many students were enjoying the balmy weather in New Zealand, three current Year 12 students were taking part in a once in a lifetime experience in Japan.
Sumin Kim, Serene Lee and Penny Liu, all students of Japanese, took part in a 5-week exchange program in Japan. They were selected as members of the first group to visit Japan in our recently established exchange programme with Tamadai Meguro High School, in Tokyo.
After a week exploring the sights of Tokyo, they all attended school on a daily basis for four weeks. Outside the classroom they had further chances to immerse themselves into everyday life in Japan and as a result returned with significantly improved Japanese language skills together with many interesting stories to share in their Japanese classes.
The exchange programme continues during 2014, with students from Tamadai arriving in July, while the next group of Lynfield students will depart in December this year.
Further information regarding the programme together with a powerpoint slide show of their exchange can be found at