July 31, 2009

Japan Experience! 2009 - Have a Great Weekend!

At the time of this posting it is early Friday night and we have just finished another full day. The students had Japanese language lessons for beginners and intermediates in the morning, then a Japanese tea ceremony explanation by the tea ceremony club, and this was followed by an afternoon spent exploring the youth fashion district of Shibuya as well as Akiharaba’s Electronic Town, the otaku manga, anime, computer and game center of Tokyo.

The students are now with their home stay families for the weekend.

Pictures from today will be posted Monday morning (Japan time) along with some of the student’s stories about what they did over Saturday and Sunday.

July 31, 2009

Japan Experience! 2009 - Day 5 – Origami, Shodo, and Judo


The fun continued on day 5 of the 2009 Japan Experience program with introductions to Origami, Shodo, and Judo.

Origami is an ancient Japanese art form dating back to the Edo era. It involves using square, often highly decorated, pieces of paper and difficult folding techniques to create a beautiful figure. Our group tried their hands at boxes, cranes, boats, throwing stars, and a few other unique shapes. Under the careful eye of Seiritsu’s Art teacher, Yogo Sensei, the lesson was a huge success!


Sophia, Jessica, and Deanna working hard on their origami-in-progress.


The whole group with their completed origami. We made quite an array of different animals and shapes!

Shodo is a highly artistic form of writing the Japanese language using ink, brushes, and beautiful sweeping strokes. Shodo is referred to as Japanese Calligraphy. Seiritsu’s very own Shodo instructor, Maruo Sensei, led the students through the basics of Shodo with the support of the Shodo club. Having produced some excellent Kanji of their own, the JE participants each received an artistic rendition of their favorite kanji from Maruo Sensei himself!


Vivian and Sara powering through the delicate strokes of Shodo.


Everyone both holding, and standing underneath, their finished Kanji. Pictured with Maruo Sensei and the Shodo club.

After a short break and a Japanese history lesson led by Richard Sensei, the JE team was off to their Judo lesson. Judo, much like Karate, is a type of martial art. Judo revolves around flipping and throwing your opponent while, conversely, learning how to take a throw suffering the least amount of damage possible. Our group got the chance to learn both the hard way!


Richard Sensei's Japanese History lesson.


The JE team hearing about the philosophy behind Judo to prepare them for what they are about to learn.


Sophia, Jessica, and Eliza practicing rolls to simulate being thrown or knocked over. This exercise was to help learn how to minimize damage to the head during a fall.

July 30, 2009

Japan Experience! 2009 - Day 4 - Studio Ghibli & Karate


Day 4 of the 2009 Japan Experience program was a full day, packed with exciting cultural activities. A morning Japanese lesson, a trip to Studio Ghibli, and a Karate lesson were all on the agenda. An impromptu visit to one of Shinjuku’s largest bookstores was also added in.

Studio Ghibli is a world renowned animation studio famous for films such as My Neighbour Totoro, Spirited Away, and Princess Mononoke. It is very much the Japanese equivalent of Disney movies in terms of popularity and appeal to kids. The Studio Ghibli museum sits on a small plot of land in Mitaka, and is loaded with amazing detail about the films. Unfortunately photography isn’t allowed inside the museum, it’s just something you’ll have to see for yourself!

After spending a few hours at Studo Ghibli, we made a brief stop at Kinokuniya books in Shinjuku to look at their English books. It has a huge selection of every type of book imaginable; including travel books, foreign volumes, comics, magazines etc.

The day was rounded off with an introduction to the martial art, Karate. Led by Kakiya Sensei and none other than Richard Sensei, the lesson proceeded with a fun warm up, basic kicking and punching techniques, and some sparring and self defense. Of course there was plenty of time for punching and kicking!


Our transportation from the train station to the Ghibli museum. Affectionately known as the 'neko' bus.


The Japan Experience team getting ready to enter the Ghibli museum.


Eliza and Chelsea, showing off their newly purchased books to Vincent.


Everyone performing the 'goaisatsu', a short ceremony before the start of a Karate session.


Jessica improving her punching speed with the Jump-Punch exercise.


M'Lissa unleashing a furious knee to the stomach on one of the Karate club members.


Richard Sensei, showing Deanna how its done.


Sophia practicing her self defense with one of the Karate club members.

July 29, 2009

Japan Experience! 2009 - Day 3 - Cooking & Asakusa


The schedule for Day 3, Tuesday July 28, included a Japanese lesson in the morning, cooking class, and an excursion to the historical district of Asakusa.

Tuesday’s Japanese lesson, led by Nakao Sensei was the first of the program. Greetings and a thorough self introduction were the topics of the day. Everyone did great during their trial run at the end.

The cooking lesson was held by Kadowaki Sensei, Masuda Sensei, and Kohara Sensei. They had prepared a delicious menu for the students including sushi pockets, egg wrapped rice balls, miso soup, marinated yellowtail, and dango for dessert. Everyone had a lot of fun trying their hand at Japanese cooking and the food turned out great!

After lunch and a short break, it was off to the famous Asakusa district. Asakusa is known for its huge Buddhist temple, Sens醇v-ji. An enormous cauldron of incense burns at the base of the temple leading up to the entrance. Visitors can waft the smoke towards their heads to wish for wisdom, before heading inside the temple for a short prayer coupled with a small donation. There is also a long row of small specialty shops leading up to the temple. It is the perfect place to find interesting presents and souvenirs to bring home.


The whole group in Asakusa, underneath the famous Hozomon Lantern.


The Asakusa English Tourist Map


Chelsea, Eliza, M'Lissa, Jessica, and Sara enjoying the fruits of their Japanese cooking class.


The JE group together with Seiritsu's three amazing cooking teachers.


Nakao Sensei with the students after our first Japanese lesson. Nakao Sensei taught a typical Japanese greeting.


Sophia, Vivian, Deanna, and Vincent with their marinaded yellowtail, ready to dive into the cooking class.

July 28, 2009

Japan Experience! 2009 - Day 2 - Baseball, Yakyu Style

For Day 2 on Monday, July 27, all the students arrived on time at 8:45am having been brought all the way to school by their respective home stay families who each taught the students how to use the trains or buses. We started with a brief welcome ceremony, which included short speeches from Principal Mr. Kohei Fukuda, the Vice-Principal Mr. Kurahara and from the school director, Mr. Yohei Fukuda. This was followed by a short orientation about the program, a tour of the school and then the students had some time to send emails off to family and friends from the computer lab.

While today’s original plan was to have separate Japanese language lessons for the beginners and intermediate level students, the Principal invited us all to the high school club’s baseball game at Jingu Stadium instead!


The 91st All-Japan National High School Baseball Tournament is on right now, with the qualifying tournament in Tokyo being broken up in to 2 blocks, an East Tokyo block of 145 school teams, and a West Tokyo block with about the same number. This is due to simply so many teams being in the largest city in the world. The two winning teams go on to Koshien in August, the famous stadium hosting all the winning teams from across the county. Monday’s game was special because it was the semi-finals for the East Tokyo block of which Seiritsu qualified, which is the first time for our team in the club’s history!


Everyone ready to watch the game!

Unfortunately the team lost 7-1, but the boys put up a great fight, with 133km/hr pitches, and about half the school’s 1100 students came out to cheer on the team. This was a great opportunity for the Japanese Experience participants to talk to and be around the Japanese students, even while they braved the warm weather and tried to pick up all the different team songs everyone was singing.


Deanna, Jessica, Sara stocking up on drinks at a ‘Konbini’ to survive the heat.


Sophia and Vincent, meeting up with a few Seiritsu students before the game


Eliza and Chelsea enjoying some 'Yakyu'

After the game, we came back to the school and with only 45 minutes left until our 5pm ‘kaisan’ time (break-up for the day) the students were again able to use the internet via the computer lab’s computers.

July 27, 2009

Japan Experience Day 1 - Welcome to Japan!

They traveled long distances from Europe, the Americas and Oceania. This year's Japan Experience participants finally arrived at Tokyo’s International Narita Airport yesterday, Sunday, July 26 and all seemed to have been in good spirits. Our nine students filtered into Narita Airport throughout the day, starting as early as 8am and wrapping up close to 7pm.

Seiritsu staff and home stay families met everyone at the airport, after which the students headed into the city with their respective hosts. Starting today, Monday, there were lots of great Japan Experience activities lined up which we will write about tomorrow morning since it is the end of the school day here in Tokyo.


A good view of the Narita tarmac and gates.


Eliza, Chelsea, Vivian, and M'Lissa all having just arrived.


Deanna, Jessica, and Sara staying in touch with the Western World in Seiritsu's computer lab.


Sophia and Vincent, just before our orientation!

July 7, 2009

Foreign students finish their time in Japan!

Wessel with his home stay near Mt. Fuji.

Wessel from the Netherlands, and Dave from Canada, both finished their 10-month term at Seiritsu last month. Here are some pictures from their time in Japan. Recently we received from pictures from Wessel to share here on our blog.

Dave and Wessel receiving Farewell cards from the karate club.

Messages from each karate club member in the circles on their cards.

Wessel with his home room classmates.

Enjoying some time with Japanese and foreign friends.

July 7, 2009

Japan Experience 2009 starts soon!

This year's Japan Experience home stay begins on July 26, and we have students registered from Germany, Canada, America and Australia.

In addition to the many cultural lessons and activities the students will participate in this year, we have also included Taiko Drumming! The local taiko group, who performs every year at the school fair, will bring their big & small drums and show us all about this ancient Japanese drumming art.

Daily reports will be posted each day during the program so please check back with us.

July 7, 2009

New student: Liam Graham!


Hey my name is Liam Graham. I moved to Tokyo just a few days ago on June 28th. I came from Auckland, New Zealand with the sole aspiration of becoming a professional soccer player. I first became interested in Seiritsu through a soccer player I knew that had come here and also because my dad works in Tokyo.

The opportunity to come and play here was one that could not be turned down. I’ve come to school for two days and already I am enjoying the friendly and welcoming environment that Seiritsu offers. The food is great as well which I am very happy about!


July 7, 2009

A student post: the fan (wo)man


Since Japan’s summer is so hot you need to have either an air conditioner or a fan in nearly every room. Everyday after school I turn my fan on and feel saved when I hear that familiar “zoom zoom” sound. The thing I hate about it is that my hair goes into my eyes and all my papers on the table go flying around the room like crazy!

It sounds weird to say I’ve never actually used an air conditioner or a fan before. In Finland it’s so cold you only need to have a heater and in summer you just turn everything off. But luckily they’re really easy to use – except I can’t read Kanji so I just remember each button by color.

Maybe I’m becoming a fan fan nowadays?

- Ella

July 7, 2009

A student post: My favourite drink★


Hello everyone! It's starting to get really hot in Japan right now. I wonder what it will be like in the middle of summer. Today I want to tell you about my favorite drink. I have never even seen one like this back in New Zealand. It is called MELON SODA★. It is a green coloured liquid that tastes like melon (I think) but with soda! ㅇㅁㅇ I don't drink it a lot because I can't find it everywhere T^T. Even if I could find it, I wouldn't drink it a lot because it would cost me lots of money... >_<.

It is really weird because they have it at the fast food shops and restaurants but they don't sell it at big supermarkets. I have been wondering why and I still don't know. Regardless, it's still my favorite drink. What's your favorite drink???


July 7, 2009

A student post: University and You

I am now three months into my last year at Seiritsu and the big thing for my year group is university. Everywhere I go now people are talking about what university they want to go to. Everybody wants to go to the top universities so they’re all working really hard. On top of this end of term exams are coming up next week so people are really starting to get serious with their work.

These next exams are important because these are the results we have to show the university when we apply to get in. Some people are getting so serious that they’re losing their humor too. They get angry at the smallest little jokes so I have to watch what I say to people. Anyway I better get studying too now so that I can get into a good university. See ya!!




about Seiritsu

Seiritsu Gakuen is a private co-educational high school created in 1925 and it is located in Tokyo, Japan.

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