Program Name：Japanese-Language Training Programs in Japan (High School Students)
Participant Name: Ms. Kanchan Joshi
Organization Name: Amity International School, Sector-6, Vasundhara, Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh
Year of Participation: 2014-2015
The feeling that I’ve felt throughout this program is not one that can be portrayed through something as simplistic as words.
I learned so much more about Japan- there were so many beautiful things to see, so many exciting places to explore! I made thousands of beautiful memories, which I can now reminiscence upon with a smile. I met many people, made many friends. For the first time in my life, I felt as if the world was in my reach.
The grandeur of the Kansai institute was jaw dropping. It was very difficult to believe it was an institute- it was rather like a hotel! The beautiful landscape that I would see out of my window as I woke up at sunrise, and I would see deep into the night is something that shall be forever etched in my mind.
Everyone at the institute were very kind and helpful. It was an unspoken rule to greet everyone who you met in the institute, whether you knew them or not. And it certainly left a warm feeling inside me.
I went on many escapades around the area of the institute, on foot and cycle, with friends and without friends. I met and interacted with many people in Japanese, bought many things and enjoyed the sunset at the beach.
The amount of greenery that I saw on the way to Kyoto was certainly something new for me. Kyoto had lots of old houses and sights. After all, it is “The ancient capital of Japan”. The golden Kinkakuji shined as we watched it in the mid day sun, and we went to Kiyomizudera to get a sip of the water there and give a go at its wish granting powers.
Our first stop at Nara was at a Somen making factory. We had tons of fun at our attempts at making noodles (which strangely rather looks like we were weaving in the pictures). We went to Todaiji next. The temple was HUGE, the Buddha statue was HUGE and the deer were adorable, but not to be underestimated. We could see many deer on the way, ganging on people in groups and trying to steal their (food) possessions.
We went to Hiroshima through the sleek and fast bullet train. We stopped at a mall for lunch and went to Miyajima shrine by ferry afterwards. Miyajima shrine was a really beautiful place, being on an island surrounded by the mountains and sea. There were lots of deer over here too!! However, they turned out to be forbidding than the ones at Todaiji, seeing that they would eat literally eat ANYTHING. One of the students got their map and their shirt chewed on!!
We stayed in a traditional Japanese hotel for the night, where we had a traditional Japanese dinner and breakfast, and also hot springs! The Torii (Japanese gate) of Miyajima submerged in water looked spectacular at night.
The next day we tried our hands at making okonamiyaki- a Japanese Pizza pancake- which was quite enjoyable too. After that we finally went to the place I really wanted to see the most- The Hiroshima Peace Memorial. We saw the remains of the Genbaku dome, the memorial and the museum, while hearing about the story of Hiroshima from our guide. It was very, very sad. However, the restored Hiroshima of now is so beautiful that there are hardly any signs of a tragedy that ever happened, except for the memorials and museum. Yes, Hiroshima is like a phoenix that rose from the ashes.
Our Japanese teachers were very kind, and they taught us a lot about Japanese. We students talked amongst ourselves about our family, country and many more- all in Japanese. We were taught about the Kansai dialect, which we implemented in our daily conversations. We were also told many websites which help in Japanese learning.
For our high school visit we went to Sumiyoshi High School. We studied subjects in Japanese, and interacted with Japanese students of our age. We learned about their school life, which seemed to be very cool!
My home stay family was very kind. We exchanged experiences of our lives and countries, and I got to know about the daily life of a Japanese family. I got to eat Benita san’s tasty food, we made Takoyaki and went to Sumiyoshi Taisha.
The “Oosaka orienteering” was perhaps the most fun part of the trip. Me, Honoka, Yingying and Yamaguchi san went around Oosaka alone, seeking out different places. We went to Shinsekai, had kushikatsu, went to Dotonbori, did shopping, went to Oosaka castle and marvelled in its magnificence, and went to Oosaka’s largest ferris wheel- Tempozan. The flickering lights of the lively Oosaka, which I saw at night from Tempozan is one of my most precious memories.
We learned flower arrangement (ikebana) and martial arts (aikido) at the institute as well.
We had a presentation to give about our experience in Japan on the last day, for which we gave our best in the preparations. The bonding between us all increased as we discussed our ideas, practised, talked and laughed.
The presentation was a success, and our audience (the people of the institute, Sumiyoshi high school students and our home stay families) enthusiastically applauded for us. We had a party, at which in the end a short video about our experience which I made was showcased. It turned out to be too heavy for the heart, as everyone broke down on seeing it! We had made too many beautiful memories to bear separation from each other and Japan! Afterwards we went for karaoke and sang our hearts out.
The next day, as everyone left one by one, a very sad emotion could be felt in the air.
From my experience of Japan, I think Japan is a splendid place with splendid people. It is a place I certainly wish to go again when I grow up.
Thanks to this experience, my Japanese has seen a major improvement, along with my knowledge of Japan. I told my friends about my experience and the things I learned, and thus they learned a lot more about Japan too, and want to go to see Japan too. I also want to go to a Japanese university for further studies!
Thank you very much Japan Foundation, for sending me for this learning and memorable experience.