At the young age of 13, I got to experience a trip that very few can relate to. In 2009, 12 other middle school students and I were selected as representatives of the Temecula Sister City Association and took the 13 hour voyage to Daisen-Nakayama, Japan. On the first week of our trip we stayed with designated host family who I’ve exchanged emails months prior. During my stay with the very generous Ogura family, I experience what daily life was like for a suburban Japanese family. From the ceremonial tea (Chado) and the flower arrangement (Ikebana) to the mall with 5 floors, Daisen and its citizens have opened my eyes to Japanese culture that only a home stay can offer and I built friendships that will last a lifetime. I strongly recommend that everyone live with a host stay in any country at least once in their lifetime to fully understand another culture.
For the remaining week, we left Daisen and travelled south to the bustling city of Osaka. We stayed in the Osaka Dai-ichi Hotel that offered many American amenities as a Starbucks and western toilets which I was happy to see by this point in the trip. From each day after we took daily excursions by subway or train to other cities such as Nara, Kyoto or Kobe and each were special but the city that lefted me the biggest impression was Hiroshima.
On August 6, 1945, the United States dropped the first atomic bomb and leveled the entire city. I witnessed the A-Bomb Dome, Children’s Peace Memorial, and museum located in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. Seeing the remnants of the blast was eye-opening to the horrors of World War 2. The influential day continues with a boat trip to the beautiful Miyajima Island. The island offers many, what my tour guide would say, “Kodak moments” ranging from the Pagodas on the hill to the Itsukushima shrine in the sea. The long and educational day ends with us riding on the famous Super Bullet Train.
Though this exact is only offered in my city and for middle school students, I recommend a similar trip to any and all. Anywhere you travel in Japan you can except nice people, clean and lively cities and a sense of tradition. Now as I heaad into my senior year of high school, I yearn for the time when I can travel back to Japan and see my friends.
Though this exact trip is only offered in my city and for middle school students, I recommend a similar trip to any and all. Anywhere you travel in Japan you can expect nice people, clean and lively cities and a sense of tradition. Now as I head into my senior year of high school, I yearn for the time when I can travel back to Japan and see my friends.
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