A few months ago, Kamilia & I initiated a school trip to Japan for a culture exchange. It took a lot of time & effort to put the whole plan together, not to mention a psycho head teacher in charge...but we made it!
With the help of our teachers in charge, we managed to plan a 6 days 5 nights trip to Japan. It included a school visit, home stay program, site seeing & some shopping.
Touched down at Kansai Airport, Osaka early in the morning. We took a shinkansen (bullet train) from Osaka to Hiroshima and reached in an hour and a half. The Japanese are literally always punctual, always early or on time & never late.
Upon reaching Hiroshima, we took a bus to the Hiroshima International Plaza (H.I.P.) where we spent the night. H.I.P. is basically a language & culture learning centre with its own hostel. After we had our lunch, we proceeded with Japanese language classes. We had the chance to learn the basics of communicating in Japan and I definitely enjoyed it.
FOUND THE BEST MILK TEA EVER IN JAPAN!!! (fyi)
After our classes, we had the privilege to learn how to put on on the ever-so complicated yet beautiful yukata (summer "kimono"). It took forever for me to put it on because there were a ton of wrapping to do. I can't imagine having to put on a kimono if a yukata is already considered a tone downed version :p
After all the fun, we had dinner and walked to the supermarkets & mini marts 20 minutes away from H.I.P. I stocked up on a ton of Japanese instant bowl noodles, snacks & chocolates. Literally no chill :p I had a hard time stuffing them in my luggage after, sigh.
The next morning we were scheduled to visit Kinki University Higashi-Hiroshima High School. I was pretty excited because this means actually communicating with students my age and exchanging interests & culture.
Upon reaching, we were asked to take off our shoes and wear slippers that they provided. In Japan, you don't enter houses, schools & sometimes even changing rooms with shoes you walk outdoors with. They were freaking out when some of us accidentally stepped indoors with our outdoor shoes :p
Sri KDU Secondary School decided to do a presentation on Malaysia, a mini costume parade and we even taught them how to play traditional Malay games such as Congkak & Batu Seremban. I was in charge of the costume parade and I was dressed in a sari (traditional Indian costume) for it.
We had English & Maths classes after. It was really funny when we tried to converse with them and explain questions to them but nevertheless, it turned out well!
Can you believe this is what their canteen serves for lunch? WHAT IS MY SCHOOL AND THE REST OF THE SCHOOLS IN MALAYSIA DOING?!!!! I mean seriously...their meal purchasing system is so organised and for once, lunch in a school is actually appetising & not half-assed cooked.
The after lunch bunch :p
We had the privilege to see what their extra curricular activities were like. Kendo was real intense and their dance group were really good as well! I love seeing how each one of them put in so much effort into what they do. We got to see students play baseball and also make music in their school's brass band.
I really enjoyed making new friends and I was really glad that we got to exchange numbers & addresses as well. I really hope to see them in Malaysia soon.
After our school visit, we headed to a plaza in the city centre to meet up with each of our host families. We had a potluck party with them as well! The kids were adorable ♥
Yuuta on the left & Takuto on the right. Takuto is my host family's youngest son whereas Yuuta is his friend.
Parka : Tobi / Top : Ally / Jeans : Monki / Shoes : Vivi Bunnie / Bag : Colette
Kazune & Takuto :) my home stay "siblings".
Spent the day with my housemate Jelyna & my host family. We woke up early to catch a ferry to Itsukushima Island, typically known as Miyajima Island (shrine island) and had lunch there. Miyajima Island is home to the UNESCO World Heritage Site - Itsukushima Shinto Shrine and cheeky wild deers. It is filled with souvenir shops and unique street food. I particularly enjoyed the grilled oysters I had along the way. I had my eyes pinned down on some beautiful Japanese craft works but I was on a low budget, sigh. It took us half a day to shop, eat & explore but I must say I enjoyed every bit of it. I feel like Japan is one of the best place to explore hidden traditional arts & crafts + street food.
After we headed back form Miyajima Island, our host family brought us to an onsen (public bath/hot spring). I was really weirded out at first because the hot spring I first experienced was in Korea and it was pretty much in a resort with less than 10 naked women. The public bath in Japan was filled with little girls, teens, middle aged women & old ladies...you name it. Basically, everyone was butt naked and you try not to look while covering your butt naked self with a hand towel. It took a while but eventually you realise no one cares so you just mind your own naked business, NO BIGGIE.
The hot spring was really relaxing but I have to say I still prefer the one I experienced in Korea. It was summer in Japan so the hot weather + super hot water didn't quite do me the justice it was supposed to.
Refreshing bowl of soba to end our day.
TO BE CONTINUED