Update from the Land of the Rising Sun

The focus of both student blogs is on the power of a warm welcome, demonstrations of great kindness, and building the bonds of lasting friendship. Kichijo students and their families have included us in every aspect of home and family life. Kichijo School has provided us with rich and extensive opportunities to weave ourselves into the fabric of the community. We are so very grateful for this time in Tokyo: the brilliance of city lights at night, the unusual quiet in one of the most populated cities on earth, the sounds of laughter in homeroom, blooming flowers in window boxes and orange trees bearing fruit… How can we be so lucky?

Domo arigato gozaimasu!
Jackie Beaule:

So obviously I am so grateful to be in Japan it still seems unbelievable everytime I look out the window it amazes me. To have an opportunity to be somewhere so far, beautiful, and unique is truly a blessing. For me I have been out of the country before but this is different. I am not here on vacation, as a tourist, but I am living amongst a family who is Japanese. This makes my stay that much more educational and is truly the best way to learn about a new culture. I am so thankful for the family that has welcomed me into their home, giving me my own room, and making me feel welcome. They cook me homemade meals and always have a bath ready for me, it is so kind and so caring. The same goes for the Kichijo school; all of the girls are so happy and very excited to see us. The kindness and welcome that I have received is unimaginable and I truly hope that these girls understand how much I appreciate them and that I am thankful for them. That goes for everyone in Japan so far people are holding the door for me, they smile, and I hear “sorry” and “hello” each day more than I normally would. This opportunity is truly a once- in-a-lifetime experience, and I know I will grow so much from it. I appreciate it more every minute I’m here!

Helena Lessne:

Today was another beautiful day in Tokyo! We had a full day of classes at Kichijo and spent more time with our host sisters and junior buddies. The girls are all so welcoming and friendly! Some of the classes our students attended are English, ethics, PE, and Japanese language. The Porter’s girls learned some simple greetings and ways to describe themselves, as well as how to write their names with Japanese characters. To finish off their days at school, the students attended sports such as badminton, soccer, and traditional Japanese dance. During the latter, the MPS girls wore beautiful kimonos and practiced a section of a dance about the four seasons. The girls had a wonderful time and enjoyed experiencing this beautiful cultural tradition. Ultimately, all of the Porter’s students had a fantastic second day at Kichijo and eagerly await the third from their respective Japanese homes!

Today at Kichijo

Each day two students will be writing for our blog. Today’s blog posts are from Marley Chang and Darlie Kerns; photos provided, and we are grateful for their impressions and observations. The weather has been beautiful, with temperatures warmer than in other years and sunny skies with stunningly clear views of iconic Mt. Fuji. The students are beginning to know their host sisters and host families, and they’re experiencing so many of the wonderful–and challenging–aspects of international travel. This is a day to be Porter’s Proud. Our students are kind to each other, demonstrating resilience, engaging deeply in Japanese classes, and immersing themselves in a culture that, like our home school, blends tradition with innovation.

Marley Chang

Today (Monday 1/7) was our first full day in Tokyo. After waking up at 5:30 AM and having breakfast with my host family, my host sister and I spent about half an hour traveling by foot and bus to get to Kichijo. We stayed at school for half a day, and I met so many amazing and friendly girls in my homeroom class. Since today was a half day at Kichijo, my host student Aoba and I were able to leave school and eat lunch, and do a little bit of exploring. Even though we have been in Japan for less than two full days, I’ve already made so many amazing memories with my host family, the students at Kichijo, and of course, everyone on the trip from Porter’s. I am excited to experience everything Japan has to offer in the next two weeks and fully immerse myself into Japanese culture.

Bamboo forest

Kansen-Ji Temple

View from the bus stop this morning

From Darlie Kerns:

Today was my first real day in Japan. I must be honest, after landing in Tokyo, I was very nervous about enjoying myself.

So today: I woke up and got and ate breakfast with her family, which was adorable. Then we walked to the train station. Every street in her neighborhood looks like an animated movie. We walked along the river as the early sun shone pink and orange across the skyline. We got to school and already I was greeted with warm arms. I went to class with Nok Noi and although there was a chaos of Japanese all around, I felt apart of something. I’m not totally sure what that is- I think I’ll find out later this week. We then went to the assembly hall where I was about to give a speech introducing our group to Kichijo. I stood in a line with other Japanese students, quickly asking about pronunciation and formalities. I still don’t know if my pronunciation was even close to being correct, but the students seem to get the idea. After we all left, I got a tour of the school, a highlight being the rooftop garden with a gorgeous view of Mt. Fuji. (See the image below.) After I went to Nakano with my host-sister (see picture),I ate the best ramen I have ever had in my life. Look at the picture below and I dare you to not let your mouth water! We then went to karaoke where I tried to sing some Japanese songs, but as you must have guessed, failed horribly. (See picture.) My nerves were calmed so easily by Momo’s kindness–Momo is my host sister– and went to have fun with me. I hope I will have more days like today in the future.

-Darlie Kerns

Snowy peak of Mt. Fuji rising, taken from the rooftop of Kichijo School.

My host sister Momo at a shopping arcade

Wheels are up and the Japan group is on their way to Tokyo!

After a 5am departure from Farmington, the group arrived at JFK with plenty of time to change their USD to Japanese YEN and eat some breakfast before boarding their Japan Air flight #003 for Tokyo Narita International Airport. Kate reported that everyone is in great spirits, a little tired but very excited to set off on their adventure.

In class yesterday, dressed in their uniforms that they will wear at Kichijo.

Their flight is due to arrive in Tokyo tomorrow, January 6th at 3:25pm local time, which will be 1:25am EST tomorrow morning. I will update this blog once the group has arrived in Tokyo.

Welcome to the Kichijo Girls’ School – Porter’s in Japan Blog!

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

You can expect to receive updates one time per day 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 your contact with your daughter to a minimum during her experience at Kichijo, which will allow her to fully immerse herself in the life and community of the school. Emailing periodically is a great way to touch base with her without disrupting her engagement 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.

And Team Tokyo has landed!!!

Japan Air Flight #004 has landed at JFK and the group is working their way through the airport to collect their luggage and pass through customs. They should arrive in Farmington around 1-1:30pm.

It was a smooth flight and all are tired but excited to share their adventures with you!

The group will overnight at the Tokyo Inn and fly out tomorrow (1/21)

Japan Airlines has given the group meal vouchers and is putting them up at the Tokyo Inn for the night, which is near the airport. They are scheduled to depart between 9:00am – 11:00 am local Japan time tomorrow morning. They will land at JFK tomorrow (1/21) between 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm and should be back in Farmington by 11pm – 1:00 am.

Students will not be required to attend IM classes on Monday, but they will need to attend their IM class on Tuesday morning at 8:55am for the last day of the term.

I will update you tomorrow on their flight status and more specific arrival times.