Thursday, June 13, 2013

Japan: Day 8, 9 and 10 of the 10-Day Summer Immersion Program

Wazzup Pilipinas!

Let's continue with the last three days of our visit to Japan for our Summer Immersion Program sponsored by the Japan Foundation and the country of Japan as a whole.

Visiting Kitamoto High School on Day 8

Visiting Kitamoto High School was very enlightening for me. I learned that students had only one chance in pursuing their studies; so they had to give their very best in order to obtain a good high school education. Cooperative learning is highly emphasized, so they are very keen on partnering each student with someone whose grade or year level is higher. They call this the kouhai (lower year) and sempai (higher year).

In Japan, students are not publicly acknowledged in recognition programs unlike here in the Philippines where grades truly matter especially in scholarship programs at the university level. The students apply to the university of their choice, which they choose by its rank; unlike in our country where we try to determine which schools excel in the program or degree of our choice, then send our applications.

In Kitamoto High School, we were grouped together with some students who toured us around the campus, and to whom we presented the Philippines, its people and culture. We were also given a short time to interact with them. Before we knew it, it was already 5PM and it was time to be back at the Urawa Center.

Flying from Urawa to Osaka on Day 9

On our ninth day in Urawa, we devoted the morning to reflection time as basically all our tasks were already done with and completed. We shared about our happy as well as difficult experiences during our home visit, Kyoto field work, Tokyo field work and school visit. We copied each other’s picture and video files, and packed our bags for Osaka. After a quick lunch, we flew back to Osaka and returned to the Kansai Kokusai Center for our flight back to Manila the following day.

On the plane ride to Osaka, we did not expect to see Mt. Fuji. It evaded us during our ride to the shinkansen, so we were really happy that it finally showed itself through the clouds. It was everybody’s first time to see it, and we were very happy.

That day proved to be a day of firsts because Celine-san, Gen-san and Edward-san had their first time to use bicycles in Japan. We took a short bike trip to the supermarket to buy some things we could give as souvenirs for our loved ones back home. The three bikers were very happy with their experience.

Saying goodbye to Japan on our 10th and last day

We couldn’t believe that the ten days passed by that quickly. It was time to go home to the Philippines. We left for the airport at 7AM, and had our breakfast there. Our flight was scheduled at 9:40AM, so there was enough time to roam around.

I was pleasantly surprised when my host family came and sent us off at the airport. I was really very blessed to have known them, for they are truly one of a kind. They even brought a bag of goodies for me, Daniela-san and for the entire E3 family. What a blessing it truly was to have been in Japan, and to have known such kind people! I remembered the first time we met in their home. When we were about to leave, it was already past 5PM, and it was so cold. Even if I was wearing two layers of clothing already, the clothes were no match to the spring breeze. They gave Daniela-san and I a jacket each since they were so worried for our well-being. What a blessing to have been assigned to this truly amazing couple!

Contributed by: Isabele Sanchez

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