On a bright sunny Saturday morning, 10 students and 2 teachers gathered at Christchurch Airport for what would prove to be an exciting, action-packed and thoroughly enjoyable 2 week Cultural Exchange trip to our sister school Tokiwagi Gakuen in Sendai City, Northern Japan.

After a brief stopover amid the howling winds and endless rain typical of typhoon season in Singapore, we finally stepped off the plane into the simmering heat of Japanese summer.

Despite some initial setbacks, we were able to get on all the right trains at the right times and arrived at Sendai via high speed bullet train where all our host families were already waiting expectantly for us.

We all soon came to appreciate the very high standards of hospitality offered by our homestay families. We were treated to the most delicious food and were able to take advantage of so many varied and interesting experiences, so many in fact that it would be next to impossible to summarise them all here. Luckily, you can read all about them in the fantastic Japan trip blogs some of the trip participants produced for us.

Crystal Edminstin – Japan Trip Blog

Cinnamon Hubbard – Japan Trip Blog

It was not just our host families who were fantastic, the staff of Tokiwagi Gakuen also spared no effort and worked incredibly hard to ensure that our trip became the success that it was.

We would like to pay a special tribute to Ms Miyuki Kudo, an English teacher who was our main point of contact at the school, and who planned and helped to run all our activities. She was absolutely brilliant, very kind and seemingly permanently cheerful.

We all return to New Zealand having benefited greatly from our experiences. We look forward to returning the favour when the next group of Tokiwagi students come to Hornby next March (2019) for which we will be on the lookout for potential host families. Be sure to keep an eye out in the notices later this year if you might be interested.

We will also begin planning our next trip to Tokiwagi (2020) from around April/May next year.

I would like to express my deep appreciation for a job well done to Whaea Chris, and to all 10 of this year’s participating students, who were an absolutely fantastic group and whom I am glad to have had the opportunity to take to Japan.

Japan Trip 2018 – Photo Album

Nick Williams

HoD Japanese