Five very fortunate students and two equally fortunate staff members participated in the 2017 Blackwood High School – Himeji, Japan exchange. During the October school holidays, our students stayed with the Japanese students they had hosted here in June. This wonderful exchange mirrors our sister city relationship between Adelaide and Himeji. Amazing programming and organizing by Karyn Jones from Blackwood High School and Takako Kiyose and her team at the Himeji Cultural Centre meant that students had awesome experiences in both Adelaide and Himeji.
Some of our recent Japanese experiences included learning Sports Chanbara, touring Himeji Castle, visiting Mt Shosha and the Engyo-ji Temple, attending a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, catching a bullet train to Hiroshima to visit the Peace Park and Miyajima Island and dressing up in traditional Kimono/Samurai clothes for a photo shoot.
Our students experienced three days of school with their host students and were immersed in Japanese culture through living with Japanese families, eating traditional food and attending local festivals. All agreed that the experience was invaluable, opening our eyes to a different culture and making us value relationships on a global level. Here are some comments from the team!
‘Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow’ were the wise words of Anita Desai, an Indian novelist. I have always believed in these words but they have never been so meaningful as they are now that I have been involved in this exchange program. It has been such a wonderful experience that has allowed me to learn so much about Japanese culture and make new friends along the way.
(Dominic Contreras – Gonzalez, Year 12 Student)
My time in Himeji has been one of the most fun and rewarding experiences in my life so far. Being able to live in another country and immerse myself in its culture is like a dream come true for me and I have been inspired to live in Japan.
(Ben Curry, Year 10 Student)
The weekend was really enjoyable as we got to experience the Autumn Festival celebrations as well as visit Himeji central park and having an Oden party.
(Anna Tulloch, Year 10 Student)
The cultural differences between Japan and Australia are reflected in Adelaide and Himeji in a magnified way and opposites are apparent everywhere. Cultural differences include sleeping schedules, eating customs and punctuality.
(Joel Keen, Year 10 Student)
Even in the short two weeks, talking and interacting with so many different people in Japanese has given me the confidence and motivation to keep learning.
(Emily Fischer, Year 9 Student)
The most value I take from this experience concerns the realization that Adelaide and Himeji have a strong sister city relationship. I am proud to be a part of the continuation of this relationship. I have realised that globally, friendship among nations is ultimately precious to mankind.
(Janet Bradley, Teacher)
Without doubt a real highlight of this Himeji exchange has been the time spent with my host family. I have been so welcomed into their home and family. Participating in their daily lives and having the opportunity to share each other’s culture has led to a wonderful sense of connectedness. I very much appreciate their generosity and wholehearted commitment.
(Wesley Dennis, Teacher)
Applicants for the 2018 Himeji Cultural Exchange trip will be called for in Term 1. See Ms Jones for more details.