Himeji Castle visit during RYE Group Tour
School life, progress and activities: School life is good. I’m the most active member of our Homeroom class, as my teacher relies on me to speak in English each morning to improve my classmates’ English listening skills. I’ve decided to change up the boring ‘speech everyday’ and make each day a different activity. Monday and Tuesday, I do a regular speech. Wednesday, I introduce a new English word/phrase (like “raining cats and dogs”). Thursday we have an English conversation, where everyone talks to another member of the class in English about a certain topic. Then finally, as it’s Friday and we’ve gotten through the week, we do “Fun-day Friday” and play the game ‘hangman’ on the board as a class. I think my classmates are becoming fond of that game now.
Travel: I finally was able to go on a Rotary Trip (first one all year thanks to Corona) and it was epic! We went through many prefectures and stopped at Hiroshima, Himeji (Hyogo Prefecture) and Osaka. Gen (the New Zealand exchange student) and I are the only exchange students left in our district, so we went together with three Rotarians on the trip.
The is the host community:  Gero town
Highlights: I’ve had many highlights this month. I was fortunate enough to go on two holidays; one with Rotary to the south-west of Japan for three days and the other one exploring Gero with Naoko. From the 14th-16th October, Gen and I, along with three Rotarians, travelled down to the south-west of Japan all the way to Hiroshima. We arrived there midday and went to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Museum, where we learnt about the destruction caused by the 1945 Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings. It was very confronting, but an important part of Japanese history. The next day we went to Himeji, where we had a tour of Himeji Castle, one of most beautiful castles in Japan. We had an English tour guide who was exceptional at explaining about the castle and was very captivating. Both Gen and I learnt a lot of interesting information about the design of the castle and it’s history. That afternoon, we went to Osaka and stayed at the Universal Studios Japan Hotel. On our final day, we went to Universal Studios Japan, which was awesome! I’m a big Harry Potter fan, so I loved every minute of it! The day after that superb holiday, another holiday began. Naoko came to stay with me in Gero for a few days. We stayed at one of my previous host families homes for two nights with them. I toured her around my town and we also went out for the day in Nagoya, a large city in the next prefecture. On the last night, we went and stayed in a hotel in Gero, called the Suimeikan. It’s where we have our monthly Rotary meetings. It was amazing to relax in the three thermal springs at the hotel. On the weekend, my host sister and I made cupcakes and did art and crafty activities together. Miyuki (10 years old) is practically my little shadow; whatever I’m doing, she’s doing it.
Left: making cupcakes with Miyuki
Right: Just about to eat Hida beef sushi on senbei crackers with Naoko.