In the recent holidays a group of 8 Trident High School students from years 11 and 12 and two teachers spent two weeks in Japan.
Mrs Harison - Trident’s Japanese Language teacher describes the tour below and is followed by a few students who write of different parts of the tour.
“To begin with we were hosted by families from Kamagaya city, Whakatane’s Sister City, for a week. This part of the programme is important to Trident in terms of the relationships we continue to build with the people of Kamagaya and the learning gains students make. Students not only build their language skills and cultural knowledge but also grow as people. They often establish relationships with Japanese families that can last their whole lives and this group were no exception.
From Kamagaya we travelled down Honshu to the old capital Kyoto. We not only explored many Cultural World Heritage sites such as Kinkakuji (the Golden Pavillion), but we also went to Universal Studios Japan for a modern Halloween amusement park blast. From there we travelled further down the island to Hiroshima to a more sobering experience viewing the Peace Park and museum, learning about the devastating effects of the nuclear bomb dropped there in 1945 Throughout the tour both in the homestay and on our travel around the country students certainly showed the Trident ‘kia manawanui’ spirit of courage, giving everything a try. They also worked well as a group showing Manaakitanga in all situations, encouraging each other to new challenges. I am very proud of the students and what they achieved both personally and as a group. I would like to thank all those in our community who helped and supported us in our preparation and fundraising.” Hilary Harison
Homestay in Kamagaya
While in Kamagaya for 6 days we each stayed with host families. My host family was amazing! My host mum and her father took me to me to ‘boso no mura’ which is an open air museum that focuses on traditional things from the Edo period (1603-1867). I got to see old traditional buildings and luckily got to try on real samurai armour. My host family also made a fun dinner where I saw how okonomiyaki (savoury pancakes) and takoyaki (octopus balls) were made and tried them. They were delicious! When I left my host family made me a photo album with pictures of all the things we did together with personal comments under each in English and Japanese. Jayvin Neupane
The Bombing of Hiroshima
On the 6th of August 1945 an american B-29 bomber jet, the “Enola Gay” dropped the first ever nuclear bomb that resulted in the deaths of over 100,000 innocent people including young children. Even after the bombing the death toll would continue to climb as radiation poisoning resulted in the deaths of thousands more.
During our visit we went to Hiroshima Peace Park which commemorates those who have died and were impacted heavily by the bombing of Hiroshima. We came away with the realisation of how dark this world can be, and what we ought to do to make things better for our own future.
The people of Hiroshima have told the world that we need to rid this planet of all nuclear weapons so that we may all feel safe again and that the atrocities done in the past may never happen again. Our visit to Japan’s city of peace has embedded us with a message that rings through the hearts of all those left behind. Never again, “No more Hiroshimas” Phoenix Tohaia-Vercoe
Miyajima island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that visited on the last day of our Japan trip. To get there we took a tram from our the Japanese inn, (said as ryokan in Japanese) we were staying at and then took a train to get to Miyajima-guchi station. However to get to the island we had to take a ferry. From the ferry we were able to enjoy the full view of Hiroshima city in the distance. We were lucky enough to have the tide in and saw the Itsukushima jinja and its torii gate ‘floating’ in the water. This is one of the top 7 sights in Japan. As we moved through the shrine we were also able to get a stamp and calligraphy signing as a record of our visit. As we exited the shrine there were many shops selling street food such as creamy coffee ice cream and other delicacies of Miyajima like oysters.
Wild deer roam freely around Miyajima similar to Nara, a town we visited near Kyoto. Many gift shops had little deer and Itsukushima shrine keychains.
An aquarium on the western side of the island showcased many unique marine animals and included doctor fish that we were able to stick our hands into the open tank of.
Miyajima also had a scenic ropeway to the top of Mt Misen. You can do a return trip or walk one way and ride the ropeway for the other. My group decided to take the two short gondola rides up and we got to see a fantastic view of the surrounding mountains of Hiroshima and the inland sea surrounding Miyajima. Jade Broughton
In Kyoto we stayed at the Ryokan Kyoka which is a Japanese style inn where you sleep on futons (mattresses) on the floor. While we were in Kyoto we visited Nijo castle which was made by the first shogun, Tokugawa with squeaky floorboards as a defense against ninja who sought to assassinate him. We also visited Todaiji temple in Nara which is the largest wooden building in the world and is next to the Nara national park where deer live and roam freely around the town. The next day we visited Kinkaku-ji which is a 3 story buddhist temple covered in gold leaf and the Nishiki markets which is known for having many of Kyoto’s famous foods and goods, like octopus and quail egg on a stick like a lollipop and sparrow on a stick! Nikora Ruawai