Japan Study Tour, By Tristan Bongolan

Japanese Classroom

During the first two weeks of July, the students of St Andrews College travelled to Japan to experience homestay with the students of Isahaya Commercial High School and to also experience the Japanese culture. For two weeks, the students had an amazing experience in which memories were made that will never be forgotten.

For the first half of our stay in Japan, we experienced homestay with other Japanese students that attended our sister school in Isahaya. It was an event that will mark on our memories for eternity and was a very enjoyable time for us. During homestay, we learned numerous things about the Japanese culture in comparison to our daily Australian life. For example, packing lunch in the morning in a box and bringing it to school. It is mostly different in comparison to Australian life however we share a few cultural aspects such as eating together as a family. Also, we went to school for two days where we experienced Japanese school life. It was a remarkable experience as their school culture is very unique in comparison to schools in Australia. For instance, the teachers only move from class to class, instead of both the students and teachers moving between classrooms. In Isahaya Commercial High School, (Sister School), we participated in a traditional tea ceremony, Japanese Calligraphy lessons, Cooking Classes and many more enjoyable activities. For us, it was very enjoyable spending time with the students and our peers and we were able to create and make new relationships amongst the students.

Japanese Tea Ceremony

For the second half of our stay in Japan, we travelled from Isahaya, Nagasaki to Kyoto. We took the bullet train and the trip took three hours to travel to Osaka from Nagasaki. The distance between these two areas are approximately 780 kilometres. We travelled to historical sites in Osaka such as Osaka Castle. Afterwards, we visited the downtown area of Osaka which was crowded with people. Then we headed for Kyoto to settle into our hotel where we stayed for three nights. The following day, we toured around to various temples located in Kyoto where we learned a variety of things about the essentials of temples. After that, we had dinner at the mall near the hotel in which we stayed and then took the night off. The day after that, we had a trip to Universal Studios Japan and were amazed at the people and the attractions that were available. It was interesting and enjoyable as the rides were exhilarating. As the long day passed, we ate at Osaka, Konohaku, shopped as well as played games. We headed back to Kyoto via the train; after time had passed we nodded off to sleep.  As the last day of our Japanese tour approached, we were in low spirits until the teachers turned that around and made it interesting. We packed our bags, ready to leave and headed for Nara. We travelled to Nara by catching a few trains and once we got there, we walked around 500 metres up a slope and visited the Todaiji Temple. On the way, we encountered multiple deer and were amazed at how tame and passive they were. After visiting Nara, we headed back to the hotel in order to arrive at Kansai airport. Then it was time to say goodbye to Japan.