On Friday morning, we boarded the bullet train out to Karuizawa in Nagano Prefecture.
The gang’s all here! We took the Shinkansen out of Tokyo.
The town is known for its beauty in the summer time, with lush greenery, a luxury resort, and a cute downtown area with boutique shops and restaurants. Some come during the winter to enjoy the slopes and winter sports!
We were lucky enough to spend the late morning and early afternoon touring the town and eating at a local cafe.
We also had an interview with a local news reporter! We talked about the history of our accommodations – Harmony House was founded by a female Christian missionary interested in promoting the development of musical and artistic talents in young people – and our experiences so far in Japan.
Our story will appear in this paper. Too bad our Japanese lessons won’t be much help reading it!
Our tour included St. Paul’s Cathedral and the main drag in town.
We did some shopping and then headed to ISAK, the International School of Asia, Karuizawa. Come back to hear more about it!
Our schedule at the Kichijo School includes many classes and opportunities to find out more about school life.
Luckily for us, those classes include Japanese lessons! The first couple of days were filled with vocabulary and simple phrases that we need (and have needed!) on a daily basis. Then, we moved on to looking at the Japanese characters – katakana and hiragana (too many kanji for 2 weeks of classes!) – and spelling out our names.
We’ve also been to a few English and English Conversation classes! The students are studying English at all levels and our activities with them have included talking about vacations and being a tourist to folding origami and playing games.
Our host sisters have been so kind and accommodating – helping us decipher the dining hall, playing games during down time, and staying after school so that we could check out the club activities offered in the afternoon.
We’re excited to add calligraphy, flower arranging, and other fun activities to our afternoons next week and look forward to more conversations with the English classes, too!