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High School: Geography meets Culture in Japan

Student write ups from each day of the recent Geography and Culture Enrichment Trip to Japan and news of the forthcoming Health and Wellbeing Parents' Workshop.

Geography and Culture Enrichment Trip: Japan

Geography and Culture Enrichment Trip: Japan Geography and Culture Enrichment Trip: Japan Geography and Culture Enrichment Trip: Japan Geography and Culture Enrichment Trip: Japan

As the eight students who have just come back from the Geography and Culture Enrichment Trip to Japan will tell you in their own words, it may have seemed like a holiday, but there is a lot of geographical and cultural value in travel! Each day, students took it in turns to write a blog, please see an edited version of this below:

Day 1

Smooth travel from Don Muang to Tokyo Narita on Air Asia, met by our lovely guide, Toshi-San. Private bus to our hostel and straight to dinner at a traditional bento style restaurant nearby. A very satisfying first Japanese meal!

Day 2

Breakfast at the hostel, which is a cosy, atmospheric place with the comfiest beds! Mr Paul showed off his frying skills as he prepared eggs (in true hostel fashion we make our own breakfast here, but our awesome guide provided us with extra fruit and juice to give us energy for the day ahead).

We then took the train to Ikebukuro Earthquake Hall. Fun and interactive experience as we took part in an earthquake simulation, extinguishing a fire simulation, and safe smoke evacuation.

After a lunch of traditional rice balls we headed to the Tokyo National Museum for our fix of Japanese history and culture.

Another ride on the metro to the Sensoji Temple in Asakusa, after we took in the glorious view from a nearby rooftop and explored the district’s charming shopping street.

Dinner at a delicious sushi restaurant where we all tried some weird and wonderful creations!

Congratulations to Sophia and Thunder; our guide Toshi-San has awarded them the ‘student of the day’ prize (a beautiful fan) for being helpful and asking great questions.

Ms Libby

Day 3

First we went to the Matsuzawa Junior High School to meet with Japanese students to see how their school is like. We took part in art and music classes, and made friends with the students.

Next we went to the Harajuku shopping district and bought some gifts to take back home. There was huge candy floss, multicoloured cheese toasties and anime.

After that we walked to the Shibuya Crossing to look at and walk on the busiest crossing.

Finally we took a Teriyaki chicken burger at Mos Burger a Japanese fast but delicious restaurant.

In my opinion, I really liked the Harajuku district because we bought gifts, also the exchange program with the Japanese school gave me an impression of how the Japanese learn at school.

Thunder (Year 7)

Day 4

We set out to ride the train to Odakyu. But today was a bit of a challenge because we weren’t with Mr. Toshi who guided us through Tokyo for the last two days. However, Ms. Libby and Mr. Paul navigated just fine.

After a long train ride, we arrived at Hakone and rode a local bus to our hotel, the Fuji Hakone Guest House.

We then rode another local bus to the Yunessun, an indoor- onsen and water park. When we got there, we ate pasta then went inside and spent about an hour and a half. There was a wine, coffee, green tea, Sake and soy protein onsen, which was a very interesting experience for all of us.

Around 7 we ate dinner at a traditional local place; we all chose what we wanted to eat, and were all extremely satisfied with our choices. Tonight we stay in the Ryokan where the staff are lovely.

Arisa (Year 10)

Day 5

Today after breakfast we rode a bus to Gora station, then a cute train. When we got off, we visited the Open Air Museum. In the museum, there were many abstract sculptures of people. One of the sculptures that stood out the most, was one of a man who was lying flat of the grass. There was a building inside the museum that had stained glass on the walls. We walked up many flights of stairs to see the beautiful view on the top of the building.

After visiting the museum, we went on a cable car. This is another type of train that moved up the hillside for 200m in elevation. At the top of the cable car we ate the black eggs which were tasty. Some of us bought other gifts in the shop. The eggs are black on the shell because they are cooked in the sulphur from the mountain which we could see all around spurting out.

We then walked around the Geopark museum and learnt about volcanoes. I particularly remember looking in the microscope at the ash. Then we rode the rope way which allowed us to witness a beautiful view of the mountains, trees and skies. We ate lunch at a restaurant that served curry rice and other delicious Japanese food. It was a self serving type of restaurant. We had to serve and clear our own food by ourselves, which was a new experience for most of us.

When we got off the rope way, the weather was very cold and windy. We rode a ferry two times. The ferry was a large ship that looked similar to a pirate ship. When we looked out the window, we could see an amazing view of the lake, and on the way back from the Hakone checkpoint we saw the Hakone shrine which is bright red.

Then we took the bus back to our hotel. We had time to rest in our rooms before going out for dinner. We ate dinner at a Japanese restaurant. We ate crab, mussels, sashimi, miso soup and chicken. The dinner was delicious. After dinner, we went back to the hotel and relaxed in the traditional Japanese robes. We are off to Kyoto on the Shinkansen tomorrow!

Paikea (Year 9)

Day 6

As usual, we ate breakfast around 7:45 a.m. and headed on the bus to Odawara station for the Shinkansen bullet train. Most of us quickly bought snacks just before the departure as the train ride would surely last quite long. On the train, most of us just relaxed and did our own things.

We finally got off the train at 12:11pm at the Kintetsu Kyoto station and hurried for lunch as most of of us were hungry after travelling. We ate at a restaurant which served a small variety of Japanese food for example, curry rice, udon noodles and salad noodles.

Finally after settling down and dropping our bags at the hotel, we headed off to the Fushimi-Inari shrine by using the local train. There, we were presented with tall Torii Gates and a beautiful temple. We did the normal etiquettes before entering, also praying there. After that, we walked through an abundance of Torii Gates leading up on the mountainside, which was surrounded by a lot of greenery.

We then took a quick stroll through the Gion district, which is famous for geishas, although we did pass a bunch of small shops selling foods and souvenirs along the way. Being exhausted already, most of us voted to head back to rest before dinner. We ordered Pizza Hut for dinner as going out was too tiring. There were many types of pizzas for us to choose from, but all of them were good! We then settled down to sleep in our bunk beds to prepare ourselves for the next exciting day.

Nina (Year 9)

Day 7

Today we rode a subway in Kyoto and went to the Daisen-In temple. It was approximately 490 years old. We did meditation and got hit by the monk with a stick, but not for a punishment, it was to help us focus with meditation. After that, we learned about the history about the temple and rock garden. We also ate cinnamon candy with original matcha. At the bus stop, we ate a ‘gold roll’ cake and rode a bus to eat ramen. Then we went to a Manga Museum and made badges.

In the evening we did the Friday tutor quiz, with bonus questions about all things we learnt on the trip. We decided to eat dinner at Gyu Kaku, and walked around a pretty area. This was Ms Libby’s first time cooking Japanese bbq like this and she enjoyed it a lot!

Sophia (Year 9)

Day 8

We started off the last full day in Japan with a later breakfast than normal, then walked down to the bus stop. A bus took us to a street with a theatre called Gion Corner, which was meant to be a tourist site due to the goods being sold in the street. But we were quickly let down when we found out that the street had nothing on sale at all.

After a world class meal at 12pm,  our tour guide for Kyoto, Myuki-San, came to pick us up with a bus for our journey to Nara, her home city. It was a one hour drive but it was a pretty cool bus. After an hour of sleeping in the bus, we finally arrived at the Nara Deer Park. We were first of all introduced to the large temple-like building, where we were just in time for a free opera show. We stayed and watched for about 35 minutes we then went to the deer park.

We had 20 minutes of interaction with the animals, then we had a quick snack break. Then we got onto our bus and, after 15 minutes of twisting and turning, we arrived at a car park with a stunning view of Nara and Osaka.

We then drove to a shopping street. We had a meat dinner with great dessert, the perfect way to end off our last day in Japan. We then took the bus again to the airport where it came time to finally go home. Miyuki-San awarded Thunder and Sophia the Students of the Trip Prizes - notepads and stickers.

The Geography and Culture Enrichment Trip to Japan was an amazing adventure, and we all hope that we can do it again someday.

Matis and Guy  (Year 9)

Health and Wellbeing Parents' Workshop

The PTG Committee in collaboration with school, are happy to invite parents (both Primary and High School) to attend an exciting workshop on Health and Wellbeing on Friday, 31 May 2019 at 08.30 a.m in the Jo Adamson Theatre at High School.

Speakers from Paleo Robbie will lead this interactive workshop that last about 60 minutes, with a 30 minute Q & A session to follow. The main topic of the workshop will be 'living a healthy lifestyle' using a Primal diet as the main reference point, during the workshop our guest speakers will debunk health myths and share what Science actually has to say about food. It will also address your concerns about food/health that you might have heard of or read about and that that you would like to learn more about.

In order to ensure adequate space, as well as to tailor the presentation around the concerns of our community, could you please complete this very short questionnaire.

Roo Stenning (roo.st@standrews.ac.th)
Head of High School