The CHAC Tour group returned home weary but excited on Sunday morning after spending two very busy weeks eating our way around Japan.
We visited Tokyo for 4 days, including a visit to the Miraikan (Futures Museum) on the island of Odaiba where we saw some of Japan’s amazing robotics in action, a day at Tokyo Disneyland and a visit to the Ghibli animation studios. Unfortunately, rain saw the cancellation of our scheduled trip to the baseball, but we more than made up for it with a night of karaoke fun near our youth hostel instead. After Tokyo, we moved to the town of Fujinomiya, near Mt Fuji, where the students experienced life with a Japanese family for 5 nights on homestay.
The major typhoon which passed overhead was certainly loud and brought a lot of rain, but we stayed safe in homestay and enjoyed the benefits of a beautiful clear day afterwards with unparalleled views of Mt Fuji. There were many tears on both sides as we left our sister school and homestay families and travelled down south on our first bullet train to the city of Hiroshima and the island of Miyajima. The native deer on Miyajima and our flash Japanese ryokan (inn) made the one-night stay on the island a highlight for many students.
Our last stop was Kyoto, with a brief visit to the Himeji castle along the way to witness first-hand some of the inventive ways the castle was designed to repel enemies. The gardens in Kyoto more than lived up to their reputation as places of tranquil beauty.
Some of the food highlights included: green tea soft serve ice-creams, Mr Donuts, ramen, onigiri rice balls from the 7-11, vanilla soft serve ice-creams, tonkatsu (crumbed pork cutlets), more Mr Donuts, excellent sashimi, tempura and chocolate soft serve ice-creams. Yes, a lot of ice-cream was consumed!! We compensated for the food by walking an average of 18,000 steps a day, so we all came back significantly fitter than before. The students behaved themselves beautifully on Tour and have made some lifelong friends. It is hoped that the experience spurs them on to be inquisitive and respectful travellers, keen to learn more about other cultures and ways of living.
Coordinator of Japanese