On my junior year, I was given the opportunity to go to Japan. East Anchorage High School and Chugiak High School organizes a trip, every two years, to take students who are taking Japanese class to go to Japan during the spring break. I have been taking Japanese for three years and my goal was always to go to Japan. Our agenda was very tight for a week in Japan. On this trip, we were going to go to Tokyo, Kyoto, visit temples and as well as spend a night in one, and so many other places. All in all, we had around twenty students, two teachers, and one adult who went on the trip to Japan.
Mrs. Grove also set up a meeting at the school where we learned professionals on how to wear a kimono. The professional needed a few students to help, and to my surprise, I was one of them. Kimonos have a lot of details that goes unnoticed. I thought a person would simply puts on a robe and then ties a sort of slash kind of material around his/herself. However, every little detail in the kimono has its own significance. There is a bow, or knot, on the back of the kimono to demonstrate if a girl is a virgin, single, or married. If a woman is getting married she would wear at least two or more layers of cloth, in order to complete a proper kimono. This was the most fun I have ever had and I love every minute of it.
During our trip, the teachers, Mr. Smoldon and Mrs. Grove set up with the Japanese high school, Chihaya. Sadly, we were not able to talk to any of the students, because they were studying for their midterms then. The school was so amazing. English is a top priority at this school. There is a library set up for kids to practice their English. There is also technology to help students speak English and improve their pronunciation. The way this school is dedicated to learn English, is the way I wish America school can have the same dedication to study other languages.
There were also paintings of people after the bomb hit. There was one painting, where it showed people walking with their skin melting from their bodies and walking in a field of fire. There is no way that any person who looks at these painting cannot feel the emotion and sadness the Japanese people had to suffer through once the atomic bomb hit them. This museum include an outdoor park of memorable statues for Korean people who were taken as slaves, and children who were force to work, once the Japanese men were sent to the war, and a few others to show their respect and remembrance. When looking back upon this, it is really heartbreaking how war can have so much affect on people’s lives and change everything that a person knows.
The most powerful emotional experience, I have ever had was when we went to Hiroshima. We went to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. This museum was dedicated to teach people about how Japan was after it was bombed by America. It was the most interesting, but depressing place I have ever visited.
This journey was worthwhile and I am glad that I chosen to go on this trip. I will always look upon this as one of greatest experiences of my life. Still, all in all it was incredible adventure and I am motivated more than ever to continue to study Japanese.
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