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Trip to Japan (April 2013)

posted 30 Jun 2014, 15:57 by OC Web   [ updated 1 Jul 2014, 17:18 ]
Karly Richardson, William Howell, Deb Howell, Mrs Hadlum, Mr Manins, and 3 students from nearby colleges were treated to a wonderful three week trip to Japan, organised and led by the very competent and well organised guide and teacher of Japanese, Mrs Gordon.  The group were privileged to be able to stay for some of the time in Japanese homes in Tomioka, a town similar in size to Otaki and located in a country area called Gunma, two hours from the hectic hustle and bustle of Tokyo. The hospitality shown to each individual was amazing and Otaki College was able to return the hospitality when 18 of their students came to Otaki College in August of 2013. 

On arrival in the town of Kanra in Gunma a grand welcome was extended by the Mayor, council members and the International Friendship Society. Quite a few of these people have visited New Zealand and been welcomed to Otaki College. It was wonderful being able to meet up with old acquaintances and make new friends. We were all very excited to then take part in the annual Sumurai parade and festival, all dressed up and wielding swords.

Over the course of the three weeks we traveled through part of Honshu, the main Island of Japan, visiting places of historic and modern interest. A particular highlight for the students were visits to two theme parks (Disney World and Universal Studios). We were also lucky to be able to meet up with Japanese students who have lived in Otaki and attended Otaki College. They were very excited to see us and all said how much they had enjoyed their time in New Zealand.

Japan is a country with a very different history and culture from New Zealand, yet we are able to get
on well with each other and appreciate and accept many of the differences. With a population of 128 million comes small houses, narrow roads, highly processed and packaged food, rice and more rice, overcrowded cities, efficient trains and highways built on posts above the cities and up the rivers. Nevertheless, the people are very polite, hard-working, friendly, clean and very tidy.

But driving through the countryside on a bullet train going 200 kph you could be mistaken for thinking you were in New Zealand, except for the paddy fields of rice. There were mountain ranges, Mt Fuji (which looks just like Mt Taranaki), thermal areas, bush (but often bamboo), coastline and a climate very similar to New Zealand.

In 2015 Mrs Gordon plans to take another group to Japan. Don’t miss out on this fabulous opportunity by taking up Japanese as a subject – it’s worth it and fun learning it. 

Sayonara, Mr Manins