An online magazine of news and opinions from the Asia New Zealand Foundation

Japan trip a roller coaster of emotions for Kiwi students

Riccarton High School students Vanessa Ye and Catylin Roberts write about their experiences exploring Tokyo, attending a Japanese school and staying with a family on their class trip to Japan.

The class was assisted to travel to Japan with help from a Nakashimato Co Ltd grant, managed by the Asia New Zealand Foundation.

A group of New Zealand students in a Japanese market street festooned with neon and signs

On 14 April, 11 Year-12 and Year-13 students as well as two language teachers journeyed to a country very foreign to their own, Japan.

The adventure began in Japan’s most populated city, Tokyo. During the first few days in Tokyo, the city's characteristics shone as we experienced the dual identity of the city. Among the towering buildings with neon lights and bustling crowds, idyllic shrines could be found hiding.

Before arriving in Hiroshima on the bullet train, we got to have a glimpse of Japan’s iconic peak, Mt Fuji.

At the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park we were able to see first-hand the effects of the detonation of a nuclear bomb, as well as learn about the aftermath the city and country experienced.

Continuing our trip, we journeyed to Kyoto. Traditional buildings lined the street and lead to the incomparable Himeji Castle, which has remained basically untouched since it was built in 1609.

The eviscerated shell of a domed building at the heart of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, Hiroshima

The best part of the trip was left for the end where we were hosted by our sister school, Takefu Higashi High School.

Living in a Japanese home was a special and challenging experience for all of us.

Going to school in Japan and experiencing the long days of school was a real eye opener and enabled us to learn and practice our Japanese.

The kindness of the school staff who accepted us into their classes and host families who cared for us left everyone not wanting to leave.

A large group photo of Riccarton High School students and a class of Japanese students

Tears were shed as we boarded our bullet train, leaving our host families behind, but the strong friendships and memories we made will be remembered.

The trip was a real rollercoaster packed full of smiles, laughter, panic (from almost missing a train) and sadness.

This trip would not have been possible without the two teachers who guided us and we are all very grateful to have been able to share so many memories with them.

Find out more

12 June 2018