To Our Kichijo Family: You are part of all our yesterdays!
You are forever in our spirit.
We began our Farewell Party with a well-prepared schedule of fun, and the afternoon passed far too quickly. Porter’s students were not to be intimidated by a quiz, even at a party, and the contest went to a tie-breaker in the final round. The room turned boisterous with animated card games, hundreds of charming photo-ops, tabletops scattered with delicious snacks and treats, and many, many rounds of hugs and tears.
As we drew to the close of our lovely and memorable gathering, each school sang a song important to its community and tradition. The meeting room filled with joyous teenagers fell silent save the dulcet tones of Porter’s and Kichijo students in song. It was a special, even profound, moment in time.
Finally, we took a group photo of the host-sisters, buddies, faculty and staff of both programs:
We are surely building our tomorrows from the lasting spirit of this exceptional opportunity and adventure. Thank you to our host- families and host-sisters and buddies; thank you to everyone at Kichijo School who worked tirelessly to make our International InterMission visit such a stunning success, and thank you to Miss Porter’s School for insisting that global citizens need to be… well, in immersion experiences around the globe. Tomorrow is our final “sayonara.” Bring tissues.
KIchijo held a farewell party this evening for the Porter’s students. It was a lovely way to end our last full day in Tokyo. There were many, many tears, much laughter, and promises to keep in touch. Our students shared a rendition of “Farmington’s Calling,” a song which is normally performed in certain circumstances, but we felt it was appropriate to share with new family. The Kichijo students in turn sang an impromptu version of their school song, which was an unexpected and wonderful gift.
Some of our students are heading out for one more night in Shibuya before packing and preparing for travel tomorrow.
Today is our last full day in Japan and that fact is bringing with it conflicted feelings. There’s sadness that we’ll be leaving, and several of our students have shared lovely messages from their host sisters expressing deep connections. There is also homesickness and a desire to return to the “real world”. The students are looking forward to their last few chances to have fun with their new families, to see the amazing sights of Tokyo, and, of course, to eat amazing foods.
This morning our students had an opportunity to practice shuji, the art of Japanese calligraphy. This ancient art requires many years of study and practice to achieve proficiency; in the hour they had, I think our girls did remarkably well! Like many ancient arts in Japan (such as the Chado they experienced yesterday), the purpose is not just to create something beautiful, but to focus the mind and body. It is simultaneously writing and meditation.
Gabe and Julianne hard at work.
Later today, Team Tokyo will enjoy a farewell party with Kichijo students (and are planning to sing for them to show their gratitude), and then many will have a Friday night on the town.
Our current plan is to leave Tokyo at approximately 7:30 Saturday night local time, to land in NYC at 6:30 Saturday night. It looks very strange because we will be traveling backwards in time. We are all very hopeful that we don’t encounter the same kind of delays as we did at the beginning of the trip…but if that happens, it’s just another chance to practice resilience and flexibility!