August 8, 2010
Japan Experience! 2010 Day 10 'Sayonara!'
This year's Japan Experience has finally wrapped up successfully with all the students on their way home or onto their next traveling location.
Here's Jordan with the Nakamura family about to see him off at Terminal 2.
Here's Lizzie (Sarah J.) attempting to check-in. Even though the check-in computers decided to 'check-out' the moment it was her turn to step up to the counter, after a bit of a wait she handed in her luggage and was ready to leave with boarding pass in hand!
Here's Bruce and Binita with the Hanai family, Mrs. Hanai and her son Hide. Bruce said he feels like he has a 'Japan Mama' now, which made Mrs. Hanai quite happy to hear. And Binita's Japanese sounded like a native when she thanked her hosts for being so kind to take her in.
As mentioned before, the Hanai's have hosted for us every year! And when we started, Hide spoke no English, but now he's almost fluent, as he said he's studying hard so that he can communicate as much as possible with the JE students each summer and help them have a better experience here.
Here's Sarah E. and Adele just about to go through security. It took them all of 10 seconds to check-in which was quite impressive!
Sorry, no picture of Kalani because she hasn't left Japan yet! She's now traveling to Kyoto to visit relatives there, and her hosts, The Ono's, are traveling with her to make sure she arrives safely. The Ono's will then be traveling onward to Osaka while Kalani stays in Kyoto. Mrs. Ono called me from Tokyo train station just as they were about to board the bullet train (shinkansen) simply to let me know all is well and for me to speak to Kalani one last time. I could tell she wants to stay in Tokyo, but she's going to have such a great experience in Kyoto that I hope we don't fade too fast into her memories...
The big departure board at Terminal 1. Every time I come here to see students off at the end of their visit, I always think where to would I like to travel... hmm...
The new Skyliner rapid express train just started running between Narita Airport and Tokyo in an amazing 39 minutes! Well, with everyone gone, it's back to Tokyo for me.
The students all gave us great feedback, and asked if in future a trip somewhere in Japan riding on the bullet train can be added in. To make the program run smoothly, the Seiritsu International staff actually start preparing for next year's Japan Experience program from September! We're thinking of the following improvements; beginning with the original 3 days in Narita learning about 'ancient Japan', then a bullet train ride to Hiroshima for a 3 day visit to see the famous Peace Memorial and the surrounding islands, followed by riding the bullet train back to Tokyo to spend 9 days with host families, to participate in cultural activities and to have a little more free time for students to explore extra places of personal interest.
No decisions yet, but this is what we'll start working on so please pass the word around!
At this time, I also want to send out a big 'thank you!' to all the student's parents and guardians for entrusting us with your precious children, or really I should be saying young adults, even though we are so far away in Japan.
And lastly, Bruce, Adele, Binita, Jordan, Sarah E, Sarah J./Lizzie and Kalani, you were all wonderful by being a great, cohesive, polite and positive group of people, so thanks! Each of you really made the program enjoyable for the staff, the Japanese students, and the host families! Don't be strangers, keep in touch. Japan is always here waiting for you!
Richard & Nick
ps The DVD with pictures and video should be ready for mail-out by the end of September.
pss The International Office will be closed for summer holidays from August 10-29 so if you need to contact us, the office will be open from August 30.