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Japan - Fukuoka

Day 1 | 27 May 2018 | Singapore - Fukuoka

Places Visited: 
Yame Traditional Craftwork Centre
Yame Tesuki Washi Shiroyokan
Yame Chuo Tea Garden

We landed in Fukuoka Airport in the morning. Although we were quite tired from the midnight flight, we looked forward to what the day had in store for us.

Firstly, we went to Yame. We watched a demonstration on how to make a large sheet of washi paper at Yame Tesuki Washi Shiryokan. Thereafter, we proceeded to make our very own Washi postcards, decorated with pressed flowers. Everyone enjoyed the new experience and were glad to be able to keep our own handmade postcards as a souvenir to remember by. Next, we went to Yame Traditional Craftwork Centre, which displayed the exquisite and traditional handicrafts of Yame City, such as Buddhist altars, paper lanterns, handmade Japanese paper and stone lanterns. We even had the opportunity to chat with the master behind the paper lanterns using Google Translate!

Subsequently, we went to Yame Chuo Tea Garden and saw the beautiful landscape of the plantation that covered a large area of land. We also tried Matcha ice-cream and locally produced Yame tea.

After check-in, we went to Hakata station for an authentic taste of one of Fukuoka's specialties - the Hakata Tonkotsu Ramen. Through today's activities, we had a glimpse of the Japanese culture and heritage in Fukuoka.
~ Zhu Rong and Eden Soh

After a safe 6-hour long flight, we touched down in Fukuoka at 8:45 am. We went to a convenience store (Family Mart) to get lunch. It was interesting to see the recycling system of the Japanese as everything was very specific. For example, even bottle caps had to be separated from the bottles and placed into different bins. After which we went to Yame Tesuki Washi Shiryokan to make handmade washi paper postcards. These postcards are made by tangling thin strands of fiber in a mixture. This is done by shaking a wooden board (keta) filled with the mixture horizontally and vertically multiple times. When it was our turn to try, it was way harder than how the teacher had made it look as she was very skillful and professional. We pressed dried leaves and flowers on the washi paper to finish them off. While we were there, we also saw a man shaving bamboo into strips which he weaves together to form a basket. In the afternoon, we went to the tea garden plantation where we saw many ladybugs and windmills. the vast green scenery was refreshing and calming. We then checked into Nest Hotel Hakata and purchased dinner from a different convenience store nearby. That concluded our first day in Fukuoka.

I feel grateful that the Japanese still preserve their culture such as tea planting and hand-made washi paper making despite the technology. It was also a great experience to take part in the Japanese culture. 
(Shannon He)

I made friends with Jamie, an Arts Alive student. She sat with me on the plane and she was really considerate because I had to go to the toilet many times and I was sitting on the inside and she had to give way to me. 
(Gwynne Ang)

Day 2 | 28 May 2018 | Fukuoka

Places Visited [Art]: 
Fukuoka Asian Art Museum 
Kushida Shrine
Learn & Play! Teamlab Future Park

We woke up from a good night's rest and had breakfast at the hotel. We then briskly walked to Hakata Subway Station to depart to the Nakasu-kawabata Station, where our first destination, Fukuoka Asian Art Museum was at. This was the first time taking the Japanese Subway for many of us. Within ten minutes, we arrived at Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, the only museum in the world that systematically collects and exhibits Asian Modern Contemporary art.

At the museum we participated in a bespoke Box Theatre workshop by the artist-in-residence, Ms Mo Jiaqing. We revisited concepts we have learnt, such as elements of art and principles of design, and reconsidered how we could apply them to this new activity.

Soon, after a quick but delicious lunch from a convenience store, we arrived at the Kushida Shrine where we checked our fortunes and sketched the surroundings before leaving for Canal City Hakata Mall, where Learn and Play! Teamlab Future Park was situated. At the Future Park, we enjoyed ourselves as we contributed to the collaborative art piece by colouring templates of vehicles for inclusion into the site-specific animation. Subsequently, we settled down to watch the rhythmic musical fountain showcase at the mall and then gathered at the supermarket to get bento sets for dinner. We had an enriching and fulfilling day of fun and excitement, and we hope that the rest of our trip goes smoothly.
~ Chng Nicolette and Liliana Hanawardani

Places visited [Dance]:
Izumi Kanae Dance School
Kaho Theatre

This morning, our dance group had a dance workshop with Izumi Kanae, a well respected traditional dancer and teacher in Fukuoka,. At the workshop, she enlightened us on the appropriate attire when dancing. We wore Yukatas which are made of cotton and worn during the summer. We were given socks called “tabi” and they had to be worn while dancing as dancing barefoot on the wooden floor is deemed inappropriate. The yukata has to be worn left over right; if one wears it the other way round, it symbolises the passing of someone. We greeted the teachers by kneeling on the floor, with hands at our knees and bowing respectfully while saying yoroshiku onegaishimasu. The sensei (teacher) gave us a demonstration of ‘Nihon Buyo’ which means Japanese traditional dance to the popular traditional Japanese tune, ‘Sakura.’ She held a cherry blossom stalk as her prop for this dance. We also learnt a more upbeat dance which is traditionally performed to welcome the spirits of family members who have passed away. It also known a summer folk dance. We danced in a circle to the song, “Dancing Queen”. After the workshop, we said our goodbyes and had lunch on the go. 

Our next destination was the Kaho Theatre which is a traditional Kabuki theatre. This theatre started out as a place of entertainment for coal mine workers who used to live in the area and has been in existence for over 80 years. In the seating area, there were many wooden frames also known as masu seki with cushions in every one. Patrons sat on cushions on the floor to enjoy the show. It was an eye-opening experience to see how the backdrops, rotating stage, amongst others, function purely with people manning the mechanisms. Much manpower is needed behind the scenes which keep the traditions of the age-old theatre alive.

Traditional Japanese dance is extremely graceful and feminine. We learnt how to act like a lady, moving gently and taking small dainty steps. I especially loved the Dancing Queen item as it blended the old with the fairly new. It put a smile on my face and I could not stop smiling at all. It demonstrated to me the spirit the Japanese: their gentleness,  tenacity and how they strive for perfection in the smallest things. 
~ Judith Tan

I contributed to the group assignment that was assigned to us today which was to come up with 4 sets of 8, using steps we had learnt today. I suggested the order of the steps. We all contributed ideas, be it choreography or blocking. We were open to all suggestions and combined them to make the steps flow better. We also played around with levels where two people knelt and two people stood up. 
~ Hannah Chew

Day 3 | 29 May 2018 | Fukuoka

Places Visited [Art]: 
Fukuoka Asian Art Museum 
Hakata Traditional Craft Centre
Hakata Machiya Folk Museum
Tochoji Temple
Shofukuji Temple

Today, we went to the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum (FAAM) again for our second and final session of our box theatre workshop with the artist, Ms Mo.

At the workshop, we had to construct a mock-up of a stage set, by applying our knowledge of the elements of art and principles of design, based on the three criteria written on cards which we had picked the day before, namely mood, occasion and time. We were provided with many different materials to choose from, which allowed us to have more design choices and opportunities for experimentation. For example, the transparent property of the tiny acrylic box enabled us to think outside of the box and used it to create or enhance the lighting within the box. The acrylic box was able to create geometric shadows and create a "glowing" effect when we shone flashlights onto it. As we had to incorporate lights into our work and explore the nuances that lighting was able to create, it taught us that different hues and location of the light source have varying effects on the overall mood of our theatre sets.  This workshop provided us with a high learning curve where we were able to pick up valuable lessons, such as entrepreneurial dare and perseverance. We also learnt that instead of procrastinating, it would be more efficient if we built up on our small ideas and expanded on them as we created.

At the end of the workshop, we had a rich sharing when we pitched our works to the Ms Mo and the museum directors for a critique session. This allowed us to see what which aspects we did well in and the artist also gave us some tips on how to improve. This experience has indeed enlightened us and taught us many things we can apply in our future artmaking. 
~ Kirsten Gonzales and Clara Tan

Places visited [Dance]:
Dance workshop with Nakyu Hanayagi
Dance performance by Geigis at Hakata Performing Arts Centre
Hakata Traditional Craft Centre
Hakata Machiya Folk Museum


We set off early in the morning for a traditional Japanese dance workshop at Teacher Nakyu Hanayagi’s house. We learnt new choreography to the traditional song, Sakura. All of us got to wear kimonos during the lesson. The kimono we wore today was made of silk with a sash wrapped tightly around our waist that ended in a bow at the back. As such, we were forced to keep our backs straight and maintain good posture all the time. Also, we could not sit cross-legged but had to kneel. We were given the opportunity to work in groups of 4 to play around with the steps that were taught to us and to think of different ways to present the dance. This was a great opportunity for us to venture into new territory while making use of our prior knowledge of dance and movement. We presented our work to the teachers and the rest of the company. Teacher Nakyu even performed a dance that is usually performed at rituals praying for a good harvest. She used props like a fan and a bell. The fan had a picture of a pine tree as pine trees represent longevity and prosperity. The bell consisted of 3 layers, and in each layer were 3, 5 and 7 bells respectively as 3, 5 and 7 are numbers that are special to the Japanese. Her mother also performed a routine for us. However, she portrayed a male character so the position of her legs and posture were different from that of a female character. We went for lunch at a well-known yet affordable ramen restaurant. It was a delicious lunch indeed. 
Next, we went to the Hakata Traditional Craft and Design Museum. While we were there, we were introduced to many craft created using techniques from ancient times. An example was a pair of Japanese scissors (Hakata Basami). It was made by sword smiths after the Edo period using the same technique that was used to make Japanese Samurai swords-  Tsuke-hagane.
Immediately after that, we went to the Hakata Traditional Performing Arts Centre where we watched a performance by Geigi - a traditional Japanese performer. We were invited on stage to learn from the professionals. The dance with the fans was much harder than it seems as we struggled with the basics like opening the fan smoothly. We also learned simple movements to symbolise certain things such as a mountain, sunrise amongst many others. We also learned what the colours of the kimonos meant. The professional performer was clad in a black based kimono with shorter sleeves while the trainees were clad in pastel coloured kimono with long sleeves. 
Following that, we visited the Hakata Machiya Folk Museum where we saw a lady weaving Hakata silk which would be used as a sash belt for a kimono. The process was very tedious and follows a steady rhythm.
This day was a rich cultural experience. We realised that the old still has a place in a city that is modern and advanced in so many ways. We learnt that it is important to appreciate what has been passed down from generation to generation. The greatest takeaway for us is how a culture penetrates every aspect of their lives - in the way they are a gracious people. 

Students’ reflection:

Today’s dance session with Nakyu Hanayagi San was more in-depth as compared to yesterday's introduction to Japanese traditional dance. I learnt that stories can be told through this unique art form. I was impressed, seeing how different things (a mountain, an umbrella, sunrise, the wind, drinking sake, amongst others) can be represented by different poses using the same prop -  a fan. Furthermore, this art form is versatile as it can be performed at rituals, festivals and even plays. I also learnt to come out of my comfort zone as I explored different levels, different blocking and sequences of steps using the same Sakura song and movements that were taught to us. 

At the Hakata Performing Arts Centre, we had the privilege of watching three Geigis perform. As  far as I noticed, the dancers hardly relied on facial expression. Instead, they tilted their heads very slightly at different angles which portrayed different emotions and intentions. Be it thinking of something or admiring a beautiful falling Sakura. The performers looked at their hands at times and their gaze followed the movement of their hands so gracefully. In addition, they can also stomp their feet, sing to the music or shout so as to narrate a story through their performance.
~  Nurul Hana

I learnt that the dance form today was gentle, feminine and needed much more control than yesterday. The dance was easy to understand as the movements were very clear. I Iearned that this is also a good way to  tell a story. For example, to portray a drunk man, the performer opens his/her legs and lifts up their hands in the shape of a cup. I also feel that this is very creative and versatile as body parts or certain objects are used to express many things. 
~ Lindsey Tay

Day 4 | 30 May 2018 | Hiroshima (Art) Fukuoka (IJDE)

Places Visited [Art]: 
Shukkeien Garden
Atomic Bomb Dome and Hypocentre
Peace Memorial Park and Museum 
Miyajima Island - Itsukushima Shrine, Daisho-In Temple 

We went to Hiroshima via Shinkansen (a bullet train). During the one-hour journey, we sketched the surroundings to observe the everyday more intently and make good use of our time. 

Our first stop was the Shukkeien Garden, which translates literally to shrunken Japanese Garden. We were awed by the quaint and beautiful landscaping. Next, we went to the Atomic Bomb Dome and Hypocentre, where we learnt about the history and devastation caused by the destructive atomic-bomb explosion and the aftermath of the radiation. We understood the importance of respect and sympathy in this solemn environment, by behaving in a considerate, sensitive manner. We also realised how fortunate we are to be able to live in the good times and that we must not take things for granted. 

Next, we took a streetcar (tram) and went on a ferry to Miyajima Island. We admired the gigantic Torri gate at low tide and the well-preserved Itsukushima shrine, which is a UNESCO world heritage site known for being built above water. Subsequently, we had a ten-minute hike up Mount Misen to the Daisho-In Temple where we learnt to appreciate the religion of Shingon Buddhism. Seeing both a shrine and a temple in a day also enabled us to see some important differences between the two, such as a purification fountain and guardian dogs in a shrine, as compared to an incense burner and Buddha image in the latter. 

Today, we learnt many aspects of Japanese culture and history, and experienced many emotions, from joy to wonderment to sadness. We will bring back this invaluable experience, as well as the new found knowledge and values that will help us in perspective-taking and appreciation of our surroundings.
~ Colette Chai and Jamie Ang

Places visited [Dance]:
Dot Color Studio
Tea Ceremony at Rakusuien


Today, we took the subway for the first time. We bought tickets from a machine at Hakata Station and took the Kuto line to Tenjin station. From there, we changed to the Nanakuma line and got off at Ropponmatsu station. From there, we headed for Dot Color Dance. 

We started the dance workshop with hip hop taught by Kanako Sensei. She taught some simple warm up sets, practicing our rhythm and isolation skills. This was followed by the learning of the choreography which was very energetic. All of us let our hair down and just had fun dancing to the music. We danced like we did not have a care in the world. 
After a quick photo session with her, we had our jazz class with Nagi Sensei. She taught us some simple ballet movements at the start of the lesson to help us in the execution of the steps in her choreography. The piece was a beautiful lyrical piece that was of a very different style from Hip Hop. In the jazz piece, we had to contrast our fluid movements with strong accents at different points of the dance. There was also a mix of quick & slow movements that kept us literally on our feet. 

Today’s workshop was so different from the traditional dance workshops from the past two days. We had to be adaptable and learnt the importance of keeping an open mind and being versatile which are skills that can be applied in every aspect of our lives. 

After lunch, we headed back to Hakata for a tea ceremony. The tea ceremony started with a demonstration of how the tea master prepares the green tea followed by the actual ritual of drinking the green tea. As green tea is bitter, we were given traditional Japanese sweets to start so as to offset the bitter taste of the tea. We were told how to pick the tea cup up and how we had to turn the bowl clockwise twice to make sure the front of it faces us while drinking from it. Once we had finished drinking the tea, we had to wipe the rim with our thumb and forefinger and then turn it anti-clockwise twice before putting the tea cup back on the tatami mat. This was followed by a bow to symbolise the appreciation of the tea and another bow to the tea masters. This marked the end of the tea ceremony. After that, we went round the tea garden. The space was not very big but had a pond, artificial waterfall, a variety of trees, making it a cool and tranquil place to visit.

Students’ reflection:

Usually, we don't focus on hip-hop classes back at IJ. Therefore, I am really grateful to have experienced the class. Since we mostly do contemporary dance, it was nice to step out of our comfort zones and engage in different genres of dance. The instructors could not speak English so we relied heavily on our senses such as sight and had to be very alert in order to learn the choreography.
~ Emelda Alisya

The tea ceremony had many different steps before we could actually drink the tea. Each action had its significance. For example, we had to bow before and after the ceremony as well as when we receive the tea. This is to show respect to the other guests, and, most importantly, the tea master. This shows how appreciative and thankful the Japanese are as compared to Singaporeans. I hope to bring this show of respect back to Singapore and demonstrate this to my teachers and parents. 

One thing that struck me the most was that a simple tea ceremony did away with the discrimination of the different social classes. These classes included the samurai, farmer, craftsman and merchant. No matter how high or low their social status was, they were all treated equally at a tea ceremony. The special traditional Japanese sweet we ate before we had the tea was very delicious too! 
 ~ Gwynne Ang & Stephanie Lim

Day 5 | 31 May 2018 | Fukuoka

Places Visited: 
Fukuoka Futaba High School 

Today, we participated in the Sports Day rehearsal at Fukuoka Futaba High School, our sister school in Japan. The Japanese were very particular about keeping the gymnasium dirt-free and took several measures to maintain the cleanliness, such as having everyone change into indoor shoes before entering and consistently mopping the floor.

Through this, we experienced first hand, the Japanese culture of impeccable cleanliness, and we feel that we should strive to achieve this same level of hygiene in Singapore, in both our homes and school compound. 

Furthermore, the students were extremely hospitable and friendly, despite the language barrier. Apart from our buddies, other students also reached out to us, and we found out that we had many things in common in terms of interests and culture. Overall, the students’ welcoming attitude and awareness of cleanliness are key aspects that we can definitely learn from.

After our visit, we took a bus to Ohori Park to do urban sketching. We experimented with different styles and techniques in order to capture the surroundings faithfully within the time constraints. The en-plein air experience was wonderful, especially with the mild weather and cool breeze. 

We look forward to our second day of school exchange tomorrow. 
~ Elsa Tan and Jeanne Mah

Today, we spent the day with students of Fukuoka Futaba High School, joining in the rehearsal for their Sports Festival which will be held tomorrow. We were warmly welcomed when we got to Kyunden Taikukan (gym). 

We observed their morning assembly and were later led to our seats by our buddies. We watched the games and cheered along with our buddies. They had many interesting and inclusive activities which the girls took part in wholeheartedly. We joined the students for lunch; we ate at our seats and had some time to make new friends too. Despite the language barrier, we managed to communicate and had meaningful interaction with our Japanese counterparts. 

After all the games were done, we got to rehearse our piece that we will be presenting tomorrow. 

After saying our goodbyes, we made our way to Ohori Park where we admired the picturesque view of a beautiful lake and enjoyed the cool breeze brushing against our skin. We then walked to the Fukuoka Castle ruins. It was very interesting to read about its history. 
After that, we took the subway to Tenjin station where we had dinner.

Students’ reflections:
I liked that Fukuoka Futaba's sports day focused more on teamwork rather than competitiveness and individuality. The school organised the events such that when a teammate falls, everyone falls. This also enforces the idea that you cannot carry on without the support of your teammates and vice versa. Even when not participating in the events, students cheered their teammates or classmates on loudly. This highlights the teamwork and unity that Fukuoka Futaba focuses on. 
~ Lindsey Tay and Stephanie Lim

1. I learnt to be disciplined as I saw the students abiding by the complicated school rules. They had to bring a pair of indoor shoes in addition to their outdoor shoes. They reported to school in their school uniform but brought a set of PE uniform to change into. This made me realise that I took my own set of school rules for granted because our school has compromised the rules to meet the students' needs.

2. The IJ spirit was very evident despite the cultural dissonance. Our sports day competition is carried out according to levels instead of being one as a whole school. Furthermore, our events are centered around track and field so not everyone is comfortable participating. However, in Fukuoka Futaba, the events were more of games than these races. As a result, students who are better in other sports aside from track could participate. Teachers also joined in these games with the students. 

3. I also learnt how obedient and respectful the students were amongst themselves and to the school staff. When the student emcee called for attention, everyone stood up straight and no noise was made. The students also bowed numerous times during Morning Assembly to different taff members to show respect. In addition, during the sports' day, the students politely responded to the cheerleaders and obeyed their instructions to fill up any available space and to cheer a little louder. 
~ Nurul Hana and Ashley Toh

Day 6 | 1 June 2018 | Fukuoka

Places Visited: 
Fukuoka Futaba High School 

Today, we headed back to the Kyunden Taikukan Gymnasium to participate in the official sports festival. Once again, we met up with our buddies and proceeded to the start of the festival with the opening ceremony, which included an invigorating morning exercise, as well as bowing to each teacher one by one to show respect. 

After the opening ceremony, the festival continued on as rehearsed the day before. Through the many races and multiple cheers led by the students, it was not difficult to feel the immense enthusiasm shown by each and every student there, and it was comforting to know that the IJ spirit continues to burn brightly in other countries as well. During the break, the students displayed the same spirit by continually practising for their upcoming events after their meals.
After lunch, CHIJ Dance Ensemble performed a contemporary dance piece which received much applause. It was interesting to see the difference between their version of sports day as compared to ours back in Singapore. Instead of the emphasis on individual sports, there were many creative activities such as Leapfrog and Hurricane, which required much teamwork and coordination. In particular, Cheerleading required much preparation, as the students choreographed and made their own costumes.

Before we knew it, the time had come to bid farewell to our buddies. All of us took time to express our thanks through a local gift from Singapore, and exchanged contacts with one another. This unforgettable experience helped us forge relations with our Japanese sisters, which we will continue to have in the long run.

This being our last day in Japan, we were all slightly sad as the day progressed. There were several ups and downs during the trip that we took the time to reflect upon, and we cherished this rare opportunity to understand our friends better and bond with them, as well as to forge new friendships.
~ Dora Ang and Su Myat

On the 6th day, we headed for Kyunden Taikukan gym once again for the actual Sports Festival. It was heartening to see the students cheer for one another regardless of whether they were from the same house. This really showed the true IJ spirit. We too, had a chance to participate in two games - the ball toss and tennis racquet game. 

The ball toss required us to pick up beanbags from the floor and shoot them into the hoop rapidly. As for the tennis racquet game, we had to partner with a teacher where we would hold a ball between the two racquets and had to run around cones. We carried on watching the Sports Festival until lunchtime where we quickly gobbled our food down before preparing for our performance. 

During our performance, we gave it our all and enjoyed every second of it. After which, we continued to watch the Sports Festival till the end. Some highlights of the event were the Dancing Of Flowers, Group Action and Cheerleading by the different houses. As it was our last day with our buddies, we exchanged gifts and bid our farewells. After a whole day of fun, we returned to the hotel to pack and ended the day with dinner at Hakata Station one last time.

Students’ Reflections:
I enjoyed playing "ball toss" as it was something I had never seen nor done before. We had to get as many bean bags as possible into the hoop which was placed high up. I also enjoyed seeing the teamwork between the students. For example, every team cheered on the student in last place even if she was not in their team. The centipede race further highlighted the teamwork between each student as they had to coordinate their legs together so that they would not fall. I also enjoyed interacting with my buddy. Even though there was a language barrier, we still managed to communicate and find common topics to discuss. During dance, I can show better teamwork. For example, when someone does a step wrongly, we can encourage them to not give up and help them to correct the step. 
~ Amber Teo

I think that IJDE had an amazing performance today although I do think that some amendments could be made. For example, we could have put more effort into the costumes and we could have put in more energy into the dance so that the piece would be more lively. 
~ Amelia Soong

It was very insightful and eye-opening as I have never tried these things before. I'm sure it would make me a better person with all the qualities such as respect, teamwork and open-mindedness and experiences I've been through. It was a really good trip spent with everyone and I learnt more about Fukuoka. 
~ Gayle Teo

Day 7 | 2 June 2018 | Fukuoka - Singapore

The Japan trip to Fukuoka and Hiroshima was a new and eye-opening experience for all of us as there were many learning opportunities available during the entire length of the trip.

At Yame, washi paper making was something that was very new to all of us. This experience is memorable because it is very different from the paper we usually see and use, and also how we were able to decorate it using flowers. At Yame Chuo Tea Garden, it exposed us to the agricultural side of Japan. This was also new to us because it is a sight that is not commonly seen in Singapore.

The workshop with Mo Jiaqing, an artist from China, was also something that we took a lot of learning points from. This included having to negotiate with a three-dimensional space, having a time limit of a day to think of an idea based on three random words as well as to complete the construction of the box theatre with lighting. This time limit allowed us to experience what things may be like in the working world as we have to create something to our best ability within the given amount of time.

Visits to temples and shrines allowed us to experience cultural and religious practices, including the washing of hands to cleanse oneself before entire the temple to pray, getting oracles and seeing the specific steps people take when they pray to their Gods. The architecture was also very nice and we also realised how the architecture could differ between a Buddhist temple and a Zen temple.

We went to Hiroshima by Shinkansen, which was very different from the trains we usually ride because of its speed and how smooth the ride was. We first went to Shukkeien Garden, where our friends had fun taking a quick stroll around in the garden looking at beautiful flowers and feeding koi fish. We then headed for Hiroshima Castle, the Atomic Bomb Dome and the Peace Memorial Park. The devastating effects of the atomic bomb including the names of those who were killed were displayed at these places. The mood was grave and it served to remind us that peace should not be taken for granted. After which, we went to Miyajima Island by ferry where we saw the Itsukushima Shrine and its Torii gate, more temples, and many deers around the island.

The school exchange with Fukuoka Futaba High School was an eye-opening experience. We took part in their annual sports day and the spirit of each house reflected the spirit of our own houses back in our school. Despite having language barrier, we joined in their some of their games and cheers. It was very memorable to be able to be with our sister school in Japan and forge new friendships.

To sum up, this trip was extremely meaningful and memorable. Each and every one of the students enjoyed this wonderful experience and all of us are grateful to have this opportunity to have come along to this trip to Japan.
~ Zhu Rong and Eden Soh