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Marsden's travel page

Follow the exploits of Ms Lamont, Brianna Dickinson, Katie Daly, Caitlin Bowden, Carly Wakeling, Christine Cho, Luisa Kristen and during our three week adventure to Japan with Mr Ferguson and the boys from Scots College.

Diary Entries

Thursday, 09 October 2014

Location: Yokohama, Japan

Heigh ho, heigh ho, it's off to Disney we go!

Wednesday, 08 October 2014

Location: Yokohama, Japan

This morning was the same as in previous days - the girls started off in their homerooms and then met in the TIES room for our morning meeting and Japanese classes. After the language component, they practised their song and started to block their skits which they will be performing next Thursday.

In the afternoon they broke into two groups - with the same students they are performing their skits with. "Cinderella" went with Mr Ferguson for glass blowing where they made a paperweight and a glass, and the "Juliet and Romeo" group came with me to pottery. We were highly entertained by the potter and he taught us how to make a tea cup, which was easier said than done! We all came out with something resembling a cup. Christine's decoration was unbelievably fantastic! It was lots of fun. Unfortunately we don't to bring our cups back with us yet. They need to be dried for a month before they are fired and glazed a couple of times. They will turn up in New Zealand when the next group from Toin comes and visits.

Tuesday, 07 October 2014

Location: Yokohama, Japan

Back at school today - Japanese classes this morning and are off to see the Folk House Museum and to see some Indigo Dyeing this afternoon.

The typhoon was a bit of an anti-climax. Lots of rain and very little wind. If we closed school in Wellington for the same, we could be out half of winter and spring!

Sunday, 05 October 2014

Location: Yokohama, Japan

There is no school tomorrow as the typhoon is expected to hit us by lunchtime. I will keep you all posted. The girls will be disappointed as it was our afternoon for cultural activities. They will spend tomorrow with their host families.

Saturday, 04 October 2014

Location: Yokohama, Japan

It was another half-day today. The girls went to their host sister's home room and had to introduce themselves in Japanese to the 40 students in the class. Everybody seems to have done a fabulous job! Then it was on with the Japanese lesson for 1 1/2 hours, and more planning for the play. Students have written the plays in English and they have been transcribed into Japanese by their senseis. They are also learning a song in Japanese to sing on their graduation.

After classes it was lunch before heading home for the next 1 1/2 days. Everyone's host families seem to have lots of activities planned!

Friday, 03 October 2014

Location: Yokohama, Japan

We had our first day of Japanese classes today. After cake to celebrate one of the Scots boys birthday, the students were separated into ability groups. The beginners had a brilliant time with Mrs Tanaka, our sensei. She taught us greetings, how to ask questions, numbers to 15 and how to read the time - on the hour and half-hour. She had us acting out our day, using the correct greetings. Everybody got involved and it was a huge laugh. The other class started off with similar tasks but moved through more quickly than us before progressing onto more difficult tasks. At 11 am they came back together to be told they have to write a script, in Japanese, and perform it on the graduation night. They were separated into two groups and were given three choices of storyline; "Romeo and Juliet", "Cinderella", or "Sleeping Beauty". Today they had to plan their storyline, set four scenes and begin writing the play with the help of the help of their senseis. Interestingly, "Romeo and Juliet" has to have a happy end. The sensei suggested that Romeo poison himself with wasabi and Juliet rescues him with an avocado! One has to wonder what Shakespeare would have thought! The other group is planning a very unusual version of "Cinderella". I look forward to seeing the finished plays.

After lunch the boys waited for their host brothers to pick them up as it was a half-day today whilst the girls host sisters planned a party for them. They were all looking forward to it immensely.

Thursday, 02 October 2014

Location: Kyoto, Japan


Our trip to Kyoto has been a fantastic way to start our Japanese adventure. It was an early start as we made our way to Azamino Station to meet before heading into Yokohama to catch the shinkansen (bullet train) to Kyoto and Nara. It takes less than two hours to travel nearly 500 km! We were met off the shinkansen by the bus and headed to our first temple at Nara called Horyuiji. It was established in 607. It has a five storied-pagoda and the main hall, inner gate and surrounding corridors are the oldest wooden buildings in the world. Horyuiji was the first place in Japan to be designated as a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1993. Here a number of girls bought books that each temple puts in a stamp and beautiful calligraphy to do with the temple they are all. They have filled these in each temple and they a special reminder of all these sacred places we have been lucky enough to visit.

The second temple we visited was at Nara Park and is the Todaiji Temple which was built in 752. Here we were greeted by deer who run freely around the park that surrounds the temple. The Buddha in the Daibutsu-den is 15 metres high and the Daibutsu-den (the building that houses the Buddha) is the largest wooden structure in world.

We then had a quick stop at Kasuga Shrine before heading into Kyoto to the hotel. Once settled, the girls had free time to get dinner and visit the shops in Kyoto Station.

On Day 2 we visited more temples and shrines in the Kyoto area. We started the day at Kiymizo that overlooks Kyoto. It is one of the most well-known sites in the city. The temple dates from 798 but the present buildings were constructed in 1633. To get there you climbed up a street that could have come out of the set of a Japanese movie. It could only have been Japan!

After this we visited the Golden Pavilion or Kinkauji. This beautiful building was in 1397 as a shogun’s country villa and then later turned into a Zen temple. It is a stunning building! We then made a quick stop at the Temple of Ryoanji to see their rock garden which has 15 oddly shaped rocks on a bed of white sand that is raked every day.

Then it time for something completely different; Toei Studio Park. Here you can see how Japanese movies are made, see film sets, visit the Anime Museum, Haunted House, Maze … all sorts of interesting things.
After this, it time to go back for a quick change before heading into Downtown Kyoto for dinner and a spot of shopping in a shopping mall that was a kilometre long. Quite a lot of shopping bags headed out at the end of the night.

The highlight for many of us was the Samurai experience at Samurai Kembu. We saw a short film about who samurai were then got to learn how to use the swords and we dressed up and went through a number of moves. We all had a brilliant time here. It was an awesome place for lots of photos. Lunch and then we went to the last temple on this visit; Sanjusangendo. Then it was time to head back to the hotel before getting the shinkansen back to Yokohama.

Everyone has had a fantastic time. Each place offered us something special, whether we were in awe of the buildings, a time of quiet reflection or a fun time! We have taken lots of memories away from Kyoto.

Tomorrow we start our Japanese classes. It is a half-day at school for Friday and Saturday so there won't be any school based cultural activities until Monday.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Location: Yokohama, Japan

Today was our orientation day at Toin Gakuen. The day began with a meeting with Mr Ieki, Director of the TIES programme, Sam Rawstorn, the TIES Co-ordinator, and John and Tye who are Scots Old Boys and are doing their Gap year at Toin. After this we had a tour of the school. It was the second day of the school festival so there was a lot to see and do. After lunch, some students continued looking around the school whilst others hung out in the TIES room playing charades and pictionary.

Tomorrow is a home day and most of the girls are being taken into Toyko to go shopping. Tuesday we are meeting early and heading on the bullet train to Kyoto for three days. We will be back at Toin on Friday for the first Japanese class : )

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Location: Yokohama, Japan

We had fabulous flights - with very little sleep for some girls! We were the first flight into Narita Airport and had cleared customs in about 20 minutes. All very efficient! The two hour drive into Yokohama was great. Tokyo is certainly going to be a city we are going to enjoy exploring and we saw some of the sights we are going to - Sky Tree, Disney (which is supposed to be the smallest one in the world, but the busiest), Shibuya which boasts the busiest pedestrian crossing in the world. When we arrived at Toin, the girls introduced themselves in Japanese - with lots of clapping from their host families and were then whisked away.

It is going to be interesting in my dorm as it looks as though there is one person who speaks English! Off to freshen up and then to see if I can find coat hangers!

It is the first school day tomorrow so will let you know how it goes then.

Sayonara :-)

Friday, 26 September 2014

Location: Sydney, Australia

Made it to Sydney in one piece which was a miracle as we were surrounded by 46 under 12 rugby players, including Jack Field. Everyone loose in duty free. Fly to Japan in a couple of hours. Ms Lamont was very pleased to have passed the random bomb test : )

Thursday, 01 May 2014

Location: Airport update, Hong Kong

Hi all,
Just an update. At this stage we have been delayed for 1 hour out of Hong Kong. With the 3 hour allowance in our timetable we still have time to make our Wellington flight. But please keep an eye on this as I will post any changes to this here.

Thursday, 01 May 2014

Location: Airport, Hong Kong

Hi to anyone who is still reading. We have been to ocean park, showered and now ready to board our plane to nz.
Looking forward to seeing you soon.
Over and out

Monday, 28 April 2014

Location: Roma, Italy

Hi all,
Sorry for the days silence, we arrived in Roma late last night, went straight to dinner at 9pm and out top of that found out the wifi is very expensive at this hotel, so doesn't look like the girls will be getting wifi over the next two days.
So, just a quick update. We left Napoli and headed to Herculaneum for a wonderful tour. This was a definite highlight. It is a small contained site, which had very few tourists there. It has a huge range or original mosaics and frescoes still there, and a great range of houses and stores etc to see. A wonderful gem!
At the moment I can't get my phone to connect to the wifi, but if I can I will put up some photos :)

Next we left for paestum, which is a also a less frequented site and a great experience to see the Greek influence in Southern Italy and the oldest and best preserved temple we have seen. It was amazing!

We then ventured on a long drive to Roma, and on the way, and the get ourselves ready for 'tomorrow' we watched gladiator on huge way. The girls really enjoyed it.

After waking this morning we left for the tour of huge colosseum, which was just amazing. We explored the two levels and learnt a lot about the social life of the ancient Romans and the influence of the emperors over time. Next on the list was palatino hill where the emperors traditionally lived and again it was amazing to see the influence of the different emperors and the amazing marble floors that are still there. Off down the road Augustus Caesar built, that took us to the imperial forum. What an amazing place to learn about the ancient roman social life. So many grand buildings and triumphant arches, and important historical events that took place there. After a walk to campo de fiori for lunch, we then made our way to via del Corso for some of the girls to finally visit the shops they have been hanging out for the whole trip...
Tonight we are heading out for an extra night tour to get a gelato from piazza navona and take a night time driving tour of the city to see it under lights. Very exciting.

as this will be my last blog for the trip (but I will try to notify you all as we make our journey back) just wanted to let you know what we are doing tomorrow.
We are leaving early for a tour of the Vatican museums and St. Peter's basilica. With the canonisation of the two popes yesterday, this is a very exciting time to be in Rome. We then leave for a walking tour of some key sites such as the Spanish steps, trevi fountain, pantheon, piazza navona, just to name a few. After a trip to the supermarket to stock up on Italian treats to bring home, we will then ready ourselves for the 41 hour journey home... With some fun at the park on the way.

Thanks everyone for reading, and looking forward to seeing some of you at the airport on Friday and 4pm.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Location: Napoli, Italy

Pompeii was amazing today. All the girls loved it. The year 13s were especially impressed after studying it at length last year. The year 12s also took full opportunity to record the primary sources as we went for their future internal assessment. Some of the highlights were:
The Casa del Menandro, as it still housed so many frescoes and it was so easy to see how they lived.
How easy it was to put ourselves in to the shoes of the people from Pompeii, see would see where their chariots wheels went, where their hands would have been on the fountain and we could see how they lived.
It was just an amazing opportunity to learning in such an authentic place. Fantastic!
After a panoramic city tour in the bus in a heavy downpour, we then headed to the Naples archeological museum. We viewed a huge number of statues, mosaics, frescoes and a large number of house hold items. The frescoes and mosaics were clear highlights, such amazing skills. We ended the day at galleria Napoli nobilissima, a gorgeous building and some of huge girls were happy to find a Zara...

Friday, 25 April 2014

Location: Sorrento, Italy

Everyone enjoyed our rest day today, with some rest, shopping and a gelato class made it a great day. The highlights were: making the gelato, two girls made a lemon sorbet and another two made the hazelnut gelato. They were both amazing! The eating of the gelato was also a highlight from the day! There were a few girls thinking a career move towards gelato shop ownership could be in their future. :) We couldn't believe it when we we're offered desert after dinner tonight, it was impossible!
The girls managed a wee splash of shopping at the local shops and in particular the old town in the market. Everyone loved walking around and seeing the culture and the buildings. The fact that it was so different to what they experience in Wellington was a great experience. Sitting eating lunch in the sun relaxing was also a highlight for many. There was also a group of girls who came back for a swim at the hotel, and this, along with sitting beside the pool, was also a highlight of the day.
There were a few girls who went in to the Catholic Church Catherdral of Sorrento (Duomo) which the front steps became our meeting point throughout the day, it was just stunning and the quiet time spent in there was also a highlight.

Today was a great day to recharge our batteries for a very early morning tomorrow and everyone is so looking forward to Pompeii and our last few days on tour!

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Location: Sorrento, Italy

We arrived safely in Italy, with great excitement!
Bussed to Sorrento with a great new driver Danilo who is with us got the next week. The girls were very impressed with the hotel!
After a dinner of some yummy pasta and pork with fries, some of us headed over to a local laundrette and leant how to self service machines. Some great hilarity ensued as it resembled an amazing race event. Some singing and laughter kept us entertained while we waited.
Looking forward to a relaxing rest day tomorrow to start off our Italian leg of the tour.

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Recent Messages

From Jenny Williams
Hi girls - sounds like your trip is amazing. Keep dry and safe over the next few days - we are having gale force winds here too just to make you feel better!!

Ms Williams
Response: The typhoon was a bit of an anti climax. There was a lot of rain and very little wind. Umbrellas even managed to stay in tact. The sun was out by lunchtime and then it reached 28 degrees!
From Chris n Dawn Bowden
Sounds like you are all having a great time. Good luck with the plays ..... Wish we were there to watch!
From Chris and Dawn Bowde
Have fun girls......We are very jealous. Looking forward to hearing more about your stay.
There were lots of hugs when we got to school and she went off very happy :)
From Anne Winnall
Wishing you all the most fabulous and exciting trip! I look forward to reading your continuing adventures via this blog and seeing photos as and when you can post them. 行ってらっし&#
From Ms W
safe travel back everyone - looking forward to hearing all your stories.

From Freya
Snapchat is not effective enough to say a hi, missing you here and Celine just sent me the link to this site. Just a friendly reminder that you promised me you would get a gift for me xx :)
Have a 10/10 time for the rest of the trip and just remember that you missed a Tumblr crisis the other day so you are doing pretty well.
See ya soon

From Jing Ying
Hi Fiona, Wendy, Dan and Maddy Young

I have been following your blog and you are all clearly having a wonderful time in Europe. I was in Rome about a year ago and your descriptions remind me of what an interesting and historic place it is.

Hope you enjoy the rest of your time in Europe and see you soon.
Response: Thank Jing Ying, it has also made us think a lot about being in China this time last year :) hope you are having a great holiday and resting up! Fiona
From sue Gower
Thought you might all wish to know that the Hurricanes won against the Reds putting them on the top of the NZ just 1point ahead of the Chiefs who lost to the Brumbies in Canberra on. Anzac Day. Both games were rather poignant as the teams stood linked together for Anzac tribute of the reading of the Ode to the Fallen and Reveille played on trumpet.
From Brent and Michele
Hello Kate. Gelato making in Sorento and the visit to Pompeii sounded incredible. Plenty of pizza too ... Enjoy your day around Naples and then your time in Rome. Lots of love. Mum and Dad.
From John, Sarah + Olivia
Hi Anna
We are back to civilisation after our 10 days in a numpty-van.
What an amazing time you are having: enjoy, enjoy
From Mary's dad
Hi all, I'm pleased you got to Italy and hope you're all enjoying the contrast from Greece. You sure are having a wonderful time and we are enjoying getting all the news. Wishing you continued joy and learning in the final week.
From Granny Singleton
Hi Sweetheart, To you, your friends and Staff, it was so good last evening to catch up with your travels. We had just returned from ours! Hiking, cycling and fishing in the High Country at Glenmore Station which is near Lake Tekapo. It was magnificent, the grandeur of it all!!!
I remember how much you loved Italy on your last visit there and to think of you there again how fortunate is that! Carpe Diem. Love and hugs to you all from us both Granny Singleton/Frances
From Ann-Louise Gower
Hi Laura,
You will be loving the Amalfi Coast and I know you will be looking forward to Pompeii! Dellys and I have enjoyed the last few days in Granada - the Alhambra 14th century palace and fortress and gardens are stunning - a world heritage site. We are going to Malaga tomorrow and Dad meets us there on Sunday. Enjoy your time in that fabulous part of the world. Thinking of you all. Love Mum xx
From Rory Latchem
Hi Julia
It's been great to hear of all the exciting times you have all had in Greece and we hope Italy will be really great too.
We're in the South Island at the moment. We saw dolphins during the crossing and seals on the coast. Enjoyed the hot springs at Hanmer and had Souvlaki at the container mall in Christchurch.
Love Dad
Georgie what a wonderful time you are all having Have loved seeing all the photos as you travel I love the hotel you have arrived at bet its lovely inside too.still very envious!! Love Nan
From Fiona Jordan (it)
Dear Samantha and buddies
I would like to start off this message by stating that me and dad, whom had difference flights from Becky and mum, had a wonderful business class flight, and we were sure to rub it in their faces when they finally arrived in Vietnam. We have had a great trip so far, and have had many mango smoothies to get us to this point. We have watched a water puppet show, where the unicorn puppets didn't have any horns, we have gone to see temples, where there was a bird being crushed (accidentally) under a food trough, and we have taken long and tedious bus trips across the country, where luckily we have yet to face someone throwing up. Overall it has been a great trip, even though we missed out on seeing the dead body of Ho Chi Minh.
I hope you are having a great trip as well. Ciao!
From Nana Sue
Hi Laura,
So loved hearing of your Monastries tour- that's been my highlight. However can Italy contribute anything to match your experiences so far?

I'm looking forward to being surprised
Have fun love Nana Sue xx
From Michele and Brent
Hello Kate, girls, teachers, Dan. What amazing photos of those monasteries. How spiritual to live there! Life in Wellington is far more secular, but we will have a time of reflection tomorrow on Anzac Day. Kate we will have your spirit with us at dawn service. Lots of love and thank goodness we live in a time of peace. Mum and Dad.
From Terence
Hi Georgie and girls. Its clear you have had a great time in Greece and now off to Italy. Beware Rome and particularly Via Corso, a shoppers paradise!! I'm sure you will love Italy, look forward to seeing you all next week. Miss you Georgie. Love T
From Grace Kerr
Hi Emma
Having a fantastic time in Hawea. Unfortunately it has been too sunny for Monopoly and Ashleigh and Ryan have started to beat me at Ps and As!
Going to Mt Cook today. Missing you lots!!!!!!
Love Grace xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From Kathrine

I hope you’re having a fantastic time! Wish I could have gone again, I enjoyed it so much!! I hope you are taking everything in and not just wasting your time sea horsing around ;) Can’t wait for you to get back and we can catch up.

Ps. Mrs Crawford don’t buy anymore vases, you brought back enough last time, haha
Response: Ha ha Kathrine that's funny. I have picked up one, but just a wee lekythos with Achilleus on it. I got it from the factory we went to last time in Mycenae, who made me the Euthymides, so I couldn't resist. With give Anna the message tomorrow :) Mrs Crawford
From Felicity and Olivia
Hello Mary
Good to get your snapchats looks like your having a great time. Had a lovely time in Christchurch playing tennis, weather was fantastic. It's awesome having Olivia here and cat misses you. Enjoy Italy! love mum
From Jane Latchem
Hi Julia
We're off to the South Island today, heading to Hanmer Springs. Looking forward to soaking in the hot pools! Hope you're having a great time and learning heaps.
Love, Mum
From Becky jordan
Hello Samantha we have had an absolutely fabulous holiday so far besides the plane delays because of the horrible weather and the plane me and you won't believe what happen on our trip(me and mum had to be separate). When we were stuck in Auckland airport because of the delays we all got to have cheap business flights to Vietnam *yay* on our last flight just me and mum it was delayed for four hours and they didn't tell us why the only thing that they said was that "we will be leaving in thirty minutes. After about an hour people were coming up to the front were me and mummy were and yelling and screaming it was really scary we thought that there might be some fists coming in but I saw some of the air hostessssss ( sorry I couldn't tell weather the spell thing was right or wrong) about to cry. Some people getting of with out there bags but by the time we left they dissent come back so all there belongings were still on the plane *tut tut tut! silly people*.
Well that's all for now I am being told to go to bed.
Bye keep in touch
Love beckly boo or as you say freckly poo <3 c:
Response: Thank you Rebecca got the long and wonderful message. I hope that your next travel experience isn't nearly as dramatic and that you have fun in Vietnam. Love Sam
From Michael Antoniadis
Hi Bella. Hronia Polla, Happy Name Day for tomorrow. April 24th is your Name Day, Saint Elizabeth. As you now it's a bigger day in Greece then your birthday. Hope you've enjoyed those amazing monasteries today. All's well here. Lots of love, Mama, Baba,Tim, Lexi and your Yiayia.