As the close of the academic day, students are heading home with their host-sisters, energized by afternoon clubs or after-school activities. Tomorrow we have two reflection periods at the start of the day. The first reflection period is a discussion/response to this essential question: “What habits of mind, purpose, spirit, or action have you developed as a global citizen that you will apply when we return to the states?” The second period will continue the discussion in a lovely bakery about 15 minute walk from Kichijo School.
Tokyo + Conversation + Porter’s + Great Food = Awesomeness. (I’m with a math teacher, and our students have proven the algorithm.)
Tomorrow we have classes in Geography, English Conversation, Physics, and English Expression (a more advanced English-speaking class). More club activities tomorrow: Voiceless Theatre–we’ll find out about that!–Choir, Softball, Volleyball, Soccer, and Musical Theater. There’s something for everyone.
Wednesday continues with classes and a “long homeroom”–a discussion group in which Porter’s and Kichijo students engage in conversation about shared contemporary topics. Thursday brings the “blue” group to a tea ceremony–the “yellow” group has the tea ceremony on Saturday morning–and Friday is a big day: CALLIGRAPHY! Additionally, Friday is our Farewell Party, most certainly a bittersweet moment as we realize our time in Japan and at Kichijo comes nigh to its close.
Enough of the end. One of the most wonderful things about this IIM experience is that to be fully present is to be in the moment: awake, alive, and ready for the next wonderful moment and adventure to appear. We’re ready for all that will unfold in the coming days. Our students are open, willing, and eager for everything that comes their way. How can we replicate this when we return? How can we embrace this immersion experience as a cornerstone of our lives at home?
After classes, we walked over to Kichijoji, a major shopping area located about a mile from Kichijo School. We returned for the close of homeroom and classroom clean-up, and now it’s club activity time! Today we had students staving-off the competition in table tennis and turning the beat around in dance club.
We’re back at Kichijo today, and at morning reflection students offered updates on their awesome weekend activities:
Liv: My host family took me to the Tokyo Tower… after that we wore kimonos for the day and went to the temple before taking a ride in a rickshaw-like vehicle commonly found in Japan. We also went to the Tokyo Skytree to see the view of Tokyo by twilight and had sushi before returning home!
Anya: We went to Tokyo Disneyland! My host-sister, Yuka, and I immediately bought Chip and Dale hats! We ate flavored popcorn (curry, milktea, honey, and soy sauce), and It was a fun day at Disneyland; there were elements you can’t experience in the states. After our trip to Kobe and Kyoto, We arrived back in Tokyo on Saturday night, and before we went to Disneyland yesterday, we went to Akusuka temple and the Tokyo Skytree. The view was amazing!
Eliza N: Drove out to Mt. Fuji with her host family! They took a roller coaster at Fuji which felt like she rode to the top of the iconic peak! Interestingly, Kichijo School has a summer house at Mt. Fuji for hiking, experiental learning, and outdoor education.
Off to classes! We have free time in Kichijoji this afternoon before we return to school for club activities (archery, table tennis, and dancing).
After spending only a week in Japan, I can already confidently say that it’s one of my favorite cities in the world. From the beautiful temples in Asakusa to the breathtaking view of Tokyo Skytree, the city continues to amaze me every new step I take. Yesterday, I finally saw the vibrant Harajuku. With every store containing a new, exciting fashion gem, I skipped through the Takeshita strip holding an abundance of shopping bags. Delicious restaurants and cafes were on every corner, serving mouth-watering food of all sorts. As we walked by what seemed like a normal cotton candy stand, my host sister excitedly ran to grab one. She grinned as she walked towards me with a rainbow colored cotton candy stick twice the size of her head! Everything in Harajuku was graphic and larger than life, even the ATM was bedazzled. It was a incredibly special experience and I cannot wait to go back to Japan.