National Coming of Age Day; Porter’s in Tokyo

Alizeh and her host sister experience a moment of shared experience in Japanese culture. Below are images of Amanda, Lydia, and Marjorie in their elegant kimonos.

“Seijin-no-hi” (Coming of Age Day) occurs annually on the second Monday of January to mark and honor the transition from childhood to adulthood. At 20 years of age, young people throughout the country engage in ceremonies that celebrate their new role and responsibilities as adults. Women wear traditional, elegant, kimonos; men, too, wear kimonos (far less ornamental) or a suit and tie. The day is filled with visits to local shrines for prayers, blessings, and well-wishes for health, happiness, success, and longevity. Families host special (sometimes elaborate) dinners to mark this important rite of passage. 

Amanda, Lydia, and Mojo at an owl cafe!

Here’s a glimpse of what our students experienced today. Many were invited by their host families to participate in this tradition and ceremony.

Lydia, Amanda, and Mojo with host sisters wearing colorful and elegant kimonos.
Lydia, Amanda, and hosts sisters with some wonderful-looking snacks!

Blythe and her host sister dressed in traditional clothing.
Beautiful Asakusa Temple, an icon for the Coming of Age ceremony.

Other students experienced a variety of activities throughout this expansive city:

Bonnie and her host sister at Tokyo Stadium!
Potential Alma Mater? (Tokyo University)
Georgina and the Tokyo 2020 Tennis Team !
Georgina and her host sister in the Tokyo twilight.
Who doesn’t love some Disney? Thank you, Miki!
Seo’s omikuji predicts a successful 2020. Best intentions for the New year!
Samar spent the day with her host family at Asakusa Temple.

After a busy weekend with host students and families, we look forward to reconnecting at The Kichijo School tomorrow for our first day of classes. We are eager to share our adventures with one another and begin the next phase of our InterMission immersion together!

Sunday spent exploring Tokyo and settling into homestays

With great anticipation and certainly a bit of anxiety, Porter’s students met their host sisters and families to begin their cultural immersion experience. Breakfast conversation was filled with excitement and enthusiasm, mild trepidation, and a willing spirit. To become “informed, bold, resourceful and ethical global citizens,” we must choose to grow and embrace the challenges required to “shape a changing world.” Let’s see how we’re living our Intermission experience from the students’ perspective:

Bonnie and her host sister are already finding friendship.
Louise and Aimee enjoying their host sister and the Tokyo experience!
Miki preparing for a visit to the temple with her host family.
Maya and her host family exploring shrines, temples, and a hedgehog cafe in and around Tokyo!
Maya, her host sister and host mother at a Hedgehog Cafe.
Lydia, her host sister, and new friends enjoying snacks and cards Sunday afternoon. 
Blythe’s host family took her to a cafe with baby pigs to pet!

Tomorrow, Monday, is a national holiday called Coming of Age Day, which is when those who turned 21 years old in the last year are celebrated as they are enter adulthood in family-led ceremonies. Kichijo Girls School is closed so our students will have another day to explore Tokyo with their new friends and host families before starting school on Tuesday.

We will post more pictures of the rest of the group tomorrow!

And our travelers are off with their host families!

After a good night’s sleep and eating a delicious breakfast, our students spent some time with Kate and Elena discussing the next two days and reflecting on their day yesterday before being picked up by their host families at the hotel. Elena reported that everyone was nervous yet excited to embark on this next phase of their trip!

Waiting for their host families to arrive with Kat Hashiguchi, Director of International Relations at Kichijo Girls School, in the front row far left.
Blythe and her host family at the hotel before departing for their home.
Amanda with her host father and sister at the hotel before departing for their home .

Kate reported that once they met their families, our students felt ready to go! All of the Kichijo families have welcomed our students into their homes and they are heading off to explore their favorite areas of Tokyo today (Sunday in Japan).

Today in Tokyo! Saturday, January 11, 2020

Tokyo 2020 had a busy and wonderful day exploring Shinjuku, Odaiba, and Harajuku.

After breakfast we walked in the area of our Shinjuku Hotel before we departed for the Mori Digital TeamLab Borderless Museum. It was an overwhelming experience at the intersection of art, design, music, and movement.

Mori Digital Art Museum

Students enjoyed free time on their own in the Odaiba area, after which we returned to the hotel for some much-needed rest. True to the commitment of this international experience, students navigated the subway system to expedite our trip to the hotel in one of the most bustling transportation hubs in Tokyo.

Staying healthy in Tokyo during flu season!

This evening finds us exploring Harajuku, a popular and colorful cultural hotspot on the edge of the Meji Shrine.

We are adjusting well to the time difference and immersing ourselves in this incredible cultural experience. Tomorrow morning we’ll meet our host sisters and families to being our exchange program with Kichijo friends. It’s hard to describe the breadth of this experience already; 24 hours ago we were sleepless with excitement, and this evening we are feeling comfortable learning from one another, sharing and supporting group goals and expectations, and building relationships with each other and our host country.

Day 1: A good night’s rest and a delicious breakfast!

Kate and Elena reported that everyone slept well and that the group was extremely excited about the breakfast spread at the hotel in Shinjuku! So much so that they sent a few pictures to share with you.

The group is off to explore Tokyo for the day, including visiting the amazing Mori Digital Art Museum. Tomorrow (8pm EST and Sunday at 10am their time) they will meet their host families at the hotel mid-morning and head home with them.

The group landed and are at the hotel in Tokyo!

Our travelers landed safely in Tokyo and traveled by bus to their hotel. Though tired from the long flight, they are all very excited to explore Tokyo tomorrow and looking forward to their adventure in Japan.

On the flight and ready to go!
At the Tokyo Narita airport, ready to board the bus to their hotel

All are getting ready for bed and a good night’s sleep! Tomorrow they will explore the Shinkjuku neighborhood and visit the Mori Digital Art Museum, including several shrines.

Wheels are up and the Japan group is en route to Tokyo!

The Japan group is en route! After a 7:00 amdeparture from Farmington, they arrived at Boston Logan Airport with time for some food and rest before boarding their Japan Air Flight #007 for Tokyo Narita International Airport. Kate Doemland reported that everyone is happy and very excited to start their journey. 

On the bus departing Porter’s this morning!

The group is due to arrive in Tokyo tomorrow, January 10th at 3:54pm local time. I will update this blog once the group has arrived in Japan.

Stay tuned!

Welcome to the 19-20 Porter’s in Japan Blog!

We are excited for this 11th grade InterMission class to begin their incredible journey to Kichijo Girls School in Tokyo, Japan!

You can expect to receive updates once daily on this blog. Please keep in mind that the time in Japan will be 14 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time so the postings may not happen on a schedule that makes sense in your time zone. This blog is the place to find pictures, videos and reflections from students and faculty on the trip, as well as to receive daily updates about the group’s activities and experiences. We are asking our faculty trip leaders to post all materials so that students can be present for every moment and so that they will not worry about posting to the blog in a timely manner.

We also strongly encourage you to keep contact with your children to a minimum during the immersion, which will allow them to fully experience the life and community of the school. Emailing periodically is a great way to touch base with without disrupting their experiences in school and other activities. We strongly discourage texting and phone calls for the duration of this cultural immersion.

It is going to be a FANTASTIC experience for all and we look forward to sharing it with you on this blog.

The Japan group is en route to New York!

After a half day of school at Kichijo, including a reflection presentation to the community and some lunch, our group boarded the bus for Narita International Airport. They arrived with plenty of time to spare and their Japan Air flight #004 took off on time. They are currently en route to JFK and due to arrive at 6:25pm EST this evening (Saturday). I will update this blog once they land!

Saying goodbyes to new friends at Kichijo.

On the bus to Narita International Airport.

Hanging out in the airport while waiting to board their flight.

Getting comfortable for the long flight home.