Location: Yokohama, Japan
Well here we are spending our final day at Toin Gakuen. The boys are currently writing thank you letters to their host families in Japanese. Later they will be practicing their skit for their performance at the graduation ceremony at 4pm this afternoon. All the host families and friends will be attending this ceremony. They will also be singing a Japanese song with their host families.
The boys have enjoyed a very exciting three weeks in Japan. They have visited many temples and shrines, learned about and personally experienced various cultural activities inside and outside of Toin, and enjoyed alot of shopping and fun theme parks.
They also did alot of things with their host families which added substantial enjoyment to their trip. I am sure they will be able to tell you all about it when they get home to NZ tomorrow.
I will be posting a few more pictures before the day is over. But this will be the last time I will be able to post anymore news. I hope you have enjoyed the blog. I will see you at the Wellington airport Saturday afternoon.
Location: Tokyo/Yokohama, Japan
In the past 4 days we have done a lot of things.
On Wednesday 5 Oct the boys got to experience two Japanese martial arts: Kendo and Judo. Kendo means literally "way of the sword" and Judo means, ironically, "the gentle way". Two of the boys, Jack and Amarind, already have experience in martial arts so they thoroughly enjoyed the experience of learning from a Japanese master of these arts. The others, although it took longer for them to get the hang of it, also really enjoyed getting to hit eachother with sticks and wrestle on the groud. Boys will always be boys they say.
On Thursday 6 Oct we all went to Tokyo Disneyland. We met up at Aobadai station at 7:20am and began our relatively long train journey. Once we got to Disneyland Mr. Ieki and Sam gave us our spending money for food and our Disneyland tickets. Then we put our big bags in some lockers. We were then free to enjoy all the rides till 8pm!
I was with Jack, Jamie, Amarind and Milan for the whole day. We went on the Space Mountain ride three times (as it was clearly our favourite ride), and Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, It's a Small World After All, Captain EO (with Michael Jackson), Buzz Light Year shooting ride, A Nightmare Before Christmas, Pirates of the Caribbean, as well as enjoying the interesting shops, restaurants and small little attractions all themed according to each town we visit. We had a great time. I was pretty exhausted by the end of it though, and I'm sure the boys were also. That night we stayed at a Hotel in a place called Asakusa.
On Friday 7 Oct we went to Ueno to see the national Museum and the famous zoo in the morning, and went to the Kaminari temple after lunch where we did some shopping. Amarind, Milan and I managed to find a shop specialising in traditional Japanese fans. We were very lucky as we were determined to find a shop that sold good ones so that we could take some home to NZ for our friends and family.
The zoo was a lot of fun. We spent two hours walking around looking at all the strange and interesting animals there. I managed to take some photos but my camera's batteries finally died after taking so many photos of a sloth that was putting on a rare performance for us. Jack told me that it was the first time he had ever seen an elephant (among other things), so this was a pretty special time for him.
We went back home to our homes in Yokohama at about 4:00pm.
Finally, yesterday (Saturday 8 Oct) we visited the Toin Taiko Drumming team. They put on a fantastic performance for us. The Scots boys also had the opportunity of playing the drums themselves. Check out the photos.
That evening we had our first dinner with all the host families. The Toin Gakuen chefs put on a great spread. I finally got to meet and talk to all the lovely families who all told me that they were enjoying having the Scots boys stay with them.
Jack played 'The Entertainer' on the piano, Milan playe a tango on the guitar and Amarind and Jack did a sword fighting routine they had prepared earlier. All the families applauded with great enthusiasm. They loved all the performances.
There was so much food left afterwards that we all got to take some home with us too. It was a truly successful evening.
This brings us up to date. It is now the weekend. The boys are doing things with their host families. I am going to go souvenir shopping.
Check out all the photos. More to come!
Location: Yokohama Ramen Museum, Japan
The boys and I enjoyed going to see the Ramen Museum yesterday. The photos can be seen by clicking on the link on the right side of the screen.
Today, after the boys have their Japanese classes, we will be going to experience glass blowing. Photos will be coming soon.
Location: Toin - Yokohama, Japan
Here we are again at Toin. The boys are currently having their first Japanese language class. They are behaving well and are making me proud. I sat in for the first part of the lesson today and they were listening very carefully to their new teacher. It is a bit of a novelty to have a beautiful Japanese female teacher teaching them Japanese.
I will post the photos of these classes when I get the chance to take photos without interupting the flow of the lesson.
I have uploaded the photos from the orientation day on Saturday. Click on the link in the box on the right of this page.
Location: Toin Gakuen - Yokohama, Japan
When I arrived at Toin at 8:40 today the boys were already quietly waiting in the TIES (Toin International Exchange Students) room. They had had their first Japanese homeroom experience earlier at 8:20 this morning where they learned the formal routine of standing, bowing and stting down at the start of class. They weren't yet very confident when they were asked to lead that routine themselves in the TIES room later. Milan told me that the students kept asking him questions in Japanese and English. The Scots boys will be the centre of the attention for a while until the Japanese students get used to them.
Some of the boys are still adjusting to the culture shock of being the only foreigners (apart from the teachers) in the whole school, and of course their difficulty in communicating with their homestay families. These things take a while to get used to.
We had our first lunch at the school cafeteria. Each boy gets two lunch tickets each day to use at the cafeteria. Of course all this is payed for by the school. Andy was quite relieved when he found out that he wouldn't have to use all his spending money on school lunches. They have a relatively good selection on the luch menu from Japanese curry, rice dishes and noodle dishes. They also serve crepes, but unfrotunately not today... all the boys found something they liked. Jamie thinks he is going to eat just rice each day. I hope not. He did have curry today and seemed to enjoy it.
So far the boys seem to be enjoying themselves in spite of some of them expressing their worries of how to interact with their host families without English. They are being careful and respectful as expected and as long as they keep this up they will have a wonderful experience here.
Hopefully the photos of the boys etc will be coming soon. I have taken some photos but I unfortunately I managed to bring the wrong charger and USB cord so I am going to have to buy a new one somewhere. Luckily it is a Japanese camera so I am thinking it shouldn't be too hard to find one. Fingers crossed!! If I cannot, I will have to send you some of the photos the boys took instead.
The boys have now gone to spend the weekend with their host families. I will post again on Monday (hopefully with photos).
Location: Narita - Yokohama, Asia - North East
Well we safely arrived at Narita airport at arount 4:20pm Japan time (8:20pm NZ time) and met up with Sam Rawstorn (Scots College old boy, now the International Programme Coordinator at Toin). He kindly escorted us to the bus that took us for a 3.5 hour ride to Toin Gakuen in Yokohama. We were all very tired when we got there... the bys then introduced themselves in Japanese to their host families and were taken away to their Japanese homes. I am sure the boys were a little nerves but the families all looked very kind and welcoming.
I myself am staying the the Toin dormatory. Once I got there I introduced myself briefly, had a bath and went straight to bed! I hope the biys did the same...
Anyway, the next update soon to come!