Porter’s students love a photo-op, and the Yellow Group (below) is hamming-it-up for the camera. This was taken moments before students ran off to 6th period English class following our afternoon reflection.
Veronica, Anya, Victoria, Sofia, and now Annika (having tossed her backpack out of the photo!) in the Kichijo Courtyard.
After classes each day, students clean the buildings:
Keeping Kichijo clean!
Finally, a few parting reflections from members of the Yellow Team today:
From Veronica: One of the many things I’ve learned during my stay in Japan is how important it is to be flexible and open-minded while travelling. I am the type of person who finds something she likes at a restaurant and then will never order anything else on the menu… the experience of trying a traditional Japanese meal makes it worthwhile. Besides being open to trying new foods, you need to be open to a new form of communication. My host family speaks relatively good English, but sometimes they have to translate through their daughter or a translation app. The communication has gotten easier as time went by. Though it was challenging at first, I’ve built a close relationship with my host family.
From Sofia: We only have two days left in Japan, which is really sad…We’ve gotten really close with our host families. I’ve tried many kinds of food which has been a little hard for me, but I’ve been open-minded and I’ve liked a lot of them. I am really happy that our school gave us this opportunity of experiencing a new culture. It has been a great trip and I’m going to miss Japan a lot.
From Bella: The best and probably most valuable part of this experience has been staying with my homestay family. They are some incredible people and the connection we have made is very special. I invited them to New York, and because of them I think I will keep returning to Japan.
Good Thursday morning to you all: Ohayou Gozaimasu! We’ve got mild temps and sunny skies this morning in Tokyo. Porter’s students are in classes all day today until the tea ceremony/afternoon activities following the close of the academic day. We’ll send photos back later today; in the meantime, here are snippets from the last few days of our Kichijo adventure.
Hello from the “Blue Group” at 9:15 this morning! Students are divided into two groups to accommodate space in the Kichijo classrooms. The Blue Group stands in the Kichijo Courtyard one hour ago.
From Eliza N about her host family and travel so far: Japan is amazing! I have never felt so welcomed by a group of people in my life! My host family has been so kind and are always excited to show me new things and new places! The other day we went to Mt. Fuji; it was one of my favorite experiences not he trip so far, and I’m very happy I got to experience it with them!
From Victoria L following our visit to Kobe College: The warm environment created by the faculty and and students was very much appreciated, even though the visit was short. Visiting an all women’s college founded by a Porter’s Ancient was inspiring to me and helped me see firsthand what a Porter’s education. motivation, and dedication can achieve.
Cooking Club yesterday: Students made almond cookies and looked quite satisfied with the results:
Clare, Eliza N, Sofia, and Julie BG: Watch out Chef Eric!
We’ll spend time with the “Yellow Group” this afternoon. Be sure to check back later this afternoon for more of “Tokyo Today!”
Students are in classes until lunchtime today, then we have reflection and “long homeroom,” an opportunity for Porter’s students to lead discussion in their homeroom class. We have several students attending Cooking Club this afternoon, so I’ll get photos and post those later today. Looks like we’re in for some rain today–the first we’ve had here since we arrived. We’ve had mild weather and plenty of sunshine–perfect for after-school activities in and around Tokyo.
We had another great day at Kichijo, and after morning reflection and a walk to a wonderful local bakery, Porter’s students headed to classes, afternoon activities with host-sisters and friends, or clubs. Here are a few recent photos:
Julie BG, Veronica, Gabe, and Maddy warming up at kyudo yesterday.
Eliza N with her foot on the ball just moments ago.
Annika preparing to catch a fast-ball. Eliza and Annika are on the field known as the “Green Court,” located just behind the School. Kichijo students on the field just to the right (not in photo) are playing tennis.
Additionally, Gabe shared this reflection (posted below) earlier today about her experience with her host family. To a person, our students have commented on how meaningful an impact their host families have had on their stay in Tokyo and the lasting relationships they’ve built in such a short period of time.
From Gabe: Thus far, my experience in Japan has been amazing. Being with a host family has definitely played an important role in my trip. By staying with a host family in Tokyo, I have been able to embrace the culture and customs in Japan. My host family has done so much for me. They have taken me to so many places in Tokyo, and they have helped me adjust to the culture. Living with a host family has made this trip significantly better, and I absolutely love going to a welcoming home each night. The people I have met in Japan have impacted my trip so much more than I ever thought they would. I feel so connected to the Japanese culture thanks to my homestay.
“In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.” ~ Khalil Gibran
We started our day with a great conversation about habits of mind and behavior we want to take with us when we return to the states, Additionally, we honored the life and legacy of Dr. King with a discussion framed by his quote: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is ‘What are you doing for others?'” It is, perhaps, the question of our students’ lifetime, and they were thoughtful about their privilege and this International InterMission experience in particular. More later today; students are off to Geography, Physics, and English. Club activities again this afternoon–check-back later for photos!
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.
Photos courtesy of Eliza K
Kate D and her host family: Kimono Day!
Today was a host-family day, and students were all over Tokyo enjoying food, fashion, and festivities throughout the city. Some went to Kabuki (Sara P), some went to Harajuku (Bella C), some went to Asakusa (Julie BG), and some wore kimonos (Gabe, Victoria L, and Kate D)! Anya L was treated to Disney, and some are still at dinner and enjoying the delightful and eclectic Tokyo cuisine.
Tomorrow is back-to-school: classes, clubs, and camaraderie in our beloved school and city.