different cultures;

Finally back from Japan! In fact, I’m feeling poignant. I want to be back in Singapore, but on the other hand, I still want to be in Japan :-/

Whatever, let’s start with day 1.

27 05 (Day 1):

Our flight to Osaka was at 8PM, but we had to assemble at Changi Airport Terminal 1 at 5PM. My dad, grandma and sister brought me for dinner at Paradise Inn, at Changi Airport before 5PM. Everybody were quite punctual. Checked in at about 5:30/6PM. Cayla cried when we were taking a group photo before entering duty free area. Everybody were snapping pictures of us, including Miss Poh. Somehow, I wasn’t embarrassed of my sister crying for me. I felt kinda proud. ☺

Entered the duty free area, everybody were like finding their seat number, Crystal’s one was 65A,mine was 65C, and we were running around trying to find who’s that mysterious B then when we went on the plane, we found out that there was no B, cause the Bs are for business class. So we were laughing our way to our seat. Anyway, we got to shop around till about 7:30, when we were supposed to meet outside out gate number.

Transited at Hong Kong, reached Hong Kong at about 12:50+, and our hongkong to Japan flight was at 1:25AM, meaning we had to reach the boarding gate about 1, so all of us literally ran there.

28 05 (Day 2):

Japan timing is one hour faster than Singapore. All the timing stated here are in Japan timing!
Reached Japan at about 5:40AM. Grabbed a bite at the Osaka Kansai Airport.

Went to the Osaka Recycle Center, it was quite boring.

Checked in at Plaza Osaka Hotel at about 4:30PM.

Their hotel don’t use the auto lock system, meaning you have to manually lock the door and their key is like huge.

And we got to choose our own hotel mates. So Crystal and I went to the hotel, the first thing we did was check if there was wifi, there was, but it was locked :(

The room was quite nice. 2 twin beds, and like 2 chairs with a coffee table, and another long table with the cups, tv, water cooker thingy, fridge.

Oh, and the toilet was quite small, with a small bathtub. Gathered back downstairs at 6+ for dinner, but we went down early cause wifi is accesible only at the lobby.

Went for dinner at like a Japanese food street, money was provided.

Went back to the hotel at 8PM, briefing thingy with the teachers, till 8:30.

Teachers told us to do our reflections, bathe and could go down to the lobby to use the wifi if we wanted to.

But lights out at 9:30, sharp. Crystal and I obviously played, and slept about 1+

29 05 (Day 3):
Woke up at about 7, were supposed to assemble at 7:30, had breakfast at the same food street till about 8:30, went back to the hotel.

The people who were supposed to help us dress up in our Yukata aka Kimonos were there already. A

s Crystal and I were in the first room, 1401, they started with us. After they were done dressing everybody up, we made our way to Kyoto, where we were suppose to have our Amazing Race. Yes, in our Yukatas.

The amazing race was held in this temple place, which is super big, you can get lost in it.

                                 

That’s one of the pictures taken at one of the destinations.

My group didn’t manage to get to all the destinations, we only managed to reach the 7th/9th and  there was about half an hour left, so we made our way to the final destination (no pun intended), and we took the long way back, cause we took the main road route :(

The shortcut was from the 9th destination, just a hill down, but we walked about 2km :(

And what made everything worse was that it was raining and we were wearing our yukatas. Met with the other groups, took the coach and went back to Osaka, for our dinner.

 30 05 (Day 4):

Went to World Heritage, Shirakawa-go.

The scenery and weather there was (Y). We were all supposed to make our way up to the viewpoint individually as groups, and yes!

My group managed to find our way there.

Picture from the viewpoint as a group. ☺

Met up with the poster group at the viewpoint, made our way down together, and back to the meeting point.

The teachers were half an hour late, despite their endless lecture on our tardiness.

Anyway, made our way to Toyama, where we were going to go to the World Heritage Cottage, Hayahoshi High School, and our homestay.

We stayed in Ikoi No Mura (Hot Spring Hotel), the hotel rooms are quite big, so 5 people shared one room.

Everything was good except the bathing part. We had public bathing, it was like the most awkward thing ever. The toilet was seperated into two rooms, one room where you have to take off your clothes (no cubicles at all), and another room where there’s shower and the hot spring.

Similarly, there’s no cubicles for showers. This is the hot spring part, and shower part, found online.

 

Oh and we are not allowed to bring towels/clothings into this showering room.

So everybody were quite reluctant to take off their clothes, but everybody was suppose to bathe.

Natasha Foo I were like, ok by the count of 3, we put out towels into the basket, and run to the door, press the button, and go into the shower.

It was so awkward.

Then halfway through, the teachers came in with their clothes on, look around, and went  out, and all of us were screaming. HAHA.

Soon after that, Crystal and some others came in, and they told us that Ms Kaur held their towels for them at the door, and they spun and ran in (Y) After bathing, we went for dinner, and dinner servings was huge, like really huge. Serving for goliath.

After dinner, we rehearsed for our perfomance, and went back to the room.

The room was set for us already, like the beds were laid out on the tatami mats for us, which was not prepared when we checked in earlier on. Their blankets were so puffy and fluffy, and so fun to fall flat on.

Bunked with Ting En, Natasha Foo, Fiona, Crystal ☺

Played speed, stress, uno and monopoly deal till about 2+. Ting En is like the champion of speed.

31 05 (Day 5):

Went to Mount Hakkoda aka Japan Snow Mountain. Made several stops before reaching the mountain top.

Reached the mountain top at about 2+.

At the mountain top, we got to do sled riding, and like do our own things, for two hours. Made snowmans, threw snowballs ☺

Left at 4+. Took the coach back to the hotel, and had our dinner.

01/06 (Day 6):

Went to Hayahoshi High in our blazers.

Even before we entered the school, students were like waving frantically from their classroom windows at us already.

I felt quite bad, cause when they came over, we were like “you’re here. Ok can.”

While on the other hand, they are so excited. Greeted the vice principal of the school, because the principal was overseas, oh and they had two VPs.

They brought us to a room, and we had a briefing and like some welcome speech thing from the VPs. Ruth and I were allocated to the same class 27E aka 2/7, and our first lesson was PE, which was a dance lesson taught by Ms Kaur and Mrs Lee.

They randomly came up with a dance, and named it the Singapore Dance.

At the end of the period, Ms Kaur asked us to give out souvenirs bought by the teachers to the students. It was just a simple keychain, and the teachers bought different ones, so Ruth, Sara, Michelle and I gave the keychains out randomly to the students.

They were like so happy, thankful and fascinated by the keychains. 4 of us were quite shocked by how grateful they were for the keychains. Some of them even like wrapped their hands around ours, and thanked us, and some even hugged us for it. We were like….

After PE was Integrated Study, we didn’t do much, only introduction, and it was lunch already, their school don’t own a canteen, the school will provide food for every class, and everybody will have the same food. So we gathered back, and we had lunch amongst ourselves.

After lunch was assembly, where we performed. Their Brass Band performed for us, when we arrived at the hall.There was a Question and Answer session about Japan, and it was quite easy.

There was also a time where the students asked us about how school life, and Singapore,and where so any of us can just go up to the mike and answer.  When it was our turn to ask questions about the students, one of us asked about exam conditions in Japan, and they said that only in Hayahoshi High School, there won’t be any teachers in the room, because the teachers trust the students. All of us were like “Are you serious”.

After assembly was cleaning time, some classes had to clean the floors of some parts of the school, while some classes needed to clean their own classrooms.

After cleaning time was club activities aka CCA.

I was in Basketball, together with Michelle, Crystal, Natasha, Amaris. It was super fun, and they were really good.

After the first round, they won us, and after that, they kept letting us win, and we tried telling them to play fair, but they didn’t really understand :/

We had to go after CCA, and the entire school sent us off, they were like running after the bus when it started driving out of the school.

None of us thought that we would feel sad to leave, but all of us did.

Went back to the Hot Spring Hotel, and first thing Amaris, Fiona, Natasha, Crystal and I did was rush to the shower, cause we wanted to be the first few ones to bathe, so it’d be less awkward. Indeed it was less awkward, and we spent more time at the hot spring too ☺

02 06 (Day 7):

Went to Fuchu Town, a community centre, had to leave our luggages there, and went for our Sports and Cultural Exchange.

We went to play Kin Ball, which was a new game to all of us, and was super fun. Picture of kin ball from online.

 

My group was the losing team at first, but thanks to our last game, it pulled us to champion.

Just somehow on our last game, we had magical powers to control the kinball :P

They gave the school a flat and deflated kinball, and everybody in our group a cute notebook ☺

After kinball was lunch, we had sushi buffet, but all the sushi were the same, and pokemon bread, with stickers in it!

After lunch, we had our cultural exchange, where we learnt Japan traditional flower arrangement – Ikebana, which was quite boring and tea ceremony, which required us to kneel on tatami mats for 1 hour.

After that painful one hour of kneeling, we couldn’t walk properly. After all these exchanges, we had the host family matching, and performed. After that was home stay.

Reached the host family house at about 5+, the father is a badminton coach, and at 6+, we went to play badminton, with him, and his 2 daughters. His serve was super powerful, and the shuttlecock was like so high up in the air.

Went back to the house at 7+ for dinner which was prepared by the mother, her cooking was delicious.

She prepared rice with wagyu beef, meso soup, and some other stuffs. After dinner, we bathed, and played card games at their cosy corner. Japanese have their own way of playing Uno with Poker Cards which is super cool. Having “A” as skip, “2” as plus 2, “8” has wild card, and “J” as reverse.

Had some snacks and went to sleep.

03 06 (Day 8):

Woke up at 8AM, had breakfast, went for bowling in the afternoon, and shopping in the evening.

Bowling was embarrassing because Natasha Foo and I didn’t had our bowling balls with us, which made bowling so much more difficult.

But at least I could reach 130+, and higher than all of them.

Went to the shopping centre – Favore, to shop. Outside Favore, we saw Miyano and Mr Vincent! Haha, what a coincidence.

Took neoprints with Yui, and Hirumi ☺

After shopping, went back to their house for dinner.

04 06 (Day 9):

Woke up at 5:45, because we had to be at Fuchu Town, the community centre at 7. The host family sent us there and we reached there about 6:40, we weren’t the earliest though. Some were there already. Natasha Foo and I went to take our luggages, and saw Crystal. Not long after, everybody were present, and we took a group photo with the host family, and the teachers. Had to say goodbye, and many started crying. I was on the brink of crying too. Haha, but I did not, just not infront of everyone.

Made our way to Tokyo!

Went to Tokyo, National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, aka, Science Museum. We were supposed to explore the 3rd and 5th floor, we started at 5th  floor, and stayed there all the time because we were talking to this 4 year old boy and his 9 year old brother who outsmarted us, and owned us in many ways. The 4 year old boy was so playful and cute. His name is pronounced as, “Yi-Zo” but it’s an English name. He’s a Singaporean :D Stella, Winnie, Crystal and I were so relieved to hear that they are Singaporeans because we can finally speak English to the “outside” world excluding the people from Japan Exchange.

Here’s the cute boy.

After this young boy started running around and was nowhere to be found, we started talking to his brother.

His brother who is 9 year old is super smart or maybe he’s just a quick thinker. Crystal was like “How old are you?” “9” “Are you in primary 3 or 4?” “Of course primary 3 la! I’m 9 what” “How I know, sometimes people primary 3 and their birthday come already, then they’ll be 9, and some p4, birthday haven’t come so still 9 what.” “Then they will be 8 and a half, not 8, and 9 and a half not 9.” And we were like.. “what..?”

Oh and Crystal was like “You speak rubbish” to me, and I replied, “Rubbish can’t speak” then this boy was like “Rubbish can’t speak but you can speak rubbish.” Oh and this boy started self introducing by saying that he topped the level for Science, and he said that this Science Museum is boring and the most interesting thing is in his rectum.

Right infront of his mother, and we were like, “Your rectum..?” and burst out laughing. And then… he asked us who’s our teacher, then we were like Ms Cow (Kaur), then he was like, “Cow? So does she eat grass?” All of us were like “Yes!” without even hesitating. HAHA.

We had to leave already, so on our way out, there was this cafe, and we saw Ms kaur, Ms soroma and Mrs Lee colouring.

Yup, after that, we made our way to Palm and Fountain Terrace Hotel, and checked in. Bunked with Sara, Michelle, and Ruth, while Crystal, bunked with Reea and Fiona. Poor Crystal (soon you will know that I’m right in pitying her). So we got about half an hour to relax in the room, and Sara and I took the sofa bed, while Michelle and Ruth took the beds, and Michelle held on to one key, while I took the other.

Soon it was time, and we had to assemble at the lobby, and we bumped into Crystal and Fiona downstairs and they start complaining about Reea. Here’s the story, when they entered the room, they asked Reea where she want to sleep, sofa or bed, she didn’t answer, and went to the toilet, so they took the sofa bed. Then when this Reea came out of the toilet, she said that she wanted the sofa bed, and they were like, “no, just now we asked you already, but you didn’t even reply us.” So Reea got kind of angry, and went out of the room, without the key, hence locking herself out of the room, (for the first time), then when she knocked, Fiona and Crystal opened the door for her.

Then Reea said that she wanted a key, then they were like, no, cause they need a key to put in the hotel so the aircon will be running, then Reea was like “Are you all trying to imply that irresponsible?” So they were like, “no.?” Then they put a random card into the card hole, and let Reea take the key, and went down to assemble, and at the lobby, Reea said that she left the key upstairs, and Fiona and Crystal was like, “you see! Point proven” and thank God Crystal took the other key otherwise they’d be all locked outside the room.

Then went out for dinner at a nearby shopping centre, and there was an arcade there with neoprint machines which was super cheap, so many of us spent most of our time there. Then on our way back to the hotel, the weather was super windy, and nice ☺

Went back up to the hotel, bathed, and Crystal and Fiona came over to eat cup noodles and we wanted to buy drinks. So Reea, Crystal, Michelle and I stealthily made our way out of the room, and cause Crystal wasn’t done wearing her shoe, we were waiting for her, but Reea ran out alone and bumped into Ms Soroma. HAHA. Then she ran back, PANTING saying that she bumped into the teachers, and we blamed her for running out so quickly.

Went down to Lawson, got the drinks and went back up and continued playing. After like half an hour, there was a knock on the door, we were all so scared that it was the teachers, so Crystal and Fiona went to hide. But when we opened the door, guess who was it? Reea. She was like, “Is Crystal here? Can you ask her to help me open the door, i left the key in the room.” then I was like, “Huh no, she went to Lawson ( the convenience store) to get something” “HUH.” “yeah ok bye” Then she was like walking back and forth at the hallway, and we gave up. So Crystal went out to open the door.

This is the second time she lock herself out of the room, in less than half an hour.

Then all of us were eating cup noodles half way, and played then the phone rang. There was like pin drop silence in the room for a second. Michelle picked up the phone, and Reea was on the other line. Reea:”Hi, can you ask Crystal and Fiona to come back now?” Michelle:”Why?” “The room sounds like a graveyard” “Huh? The room sounds like a graveyard??” Then we all burst out laughing. Then Reea was like, “It’s not funny okay.” Michelle:” Reea says that it’s not funny” Then we laugh even louder. Then Reea hung up. Five seconds later, we heard a knock on our door, and we opened it, and saw Reea crying to our next door, Natasha Foo and Ting En.

So we accompanied her back into the room, and she forgot to take the key (third time) and Crystal had to open the door for her. When we entered the room, we totally understand why the room sounded like a “graveyard”. Firstly, the hallway lights were all switched off, the curtains were not pulled. Then when we were all there playing cards, Reea started watching horror movies -.- SO WE WERE LIKE RAGING.

Then whatever, it was time for me to go back to sleep already.

05 06 (Day 10):

DISNEYLAND DAY! We woke up at 7:30, if I remember correctly. Went down to the lobby and met the rest of the people, and Reea said to Crystal that she left her glasses upstairs, and her card too, so Crystal had to go up to open the door for her. Had our breakfast, then waited for the shuttle bus which came at 9:40, because we missed the one that came at 9:30.

Reach Disneyland at about 10, and played till 9+PM. Had an insanely fun time with Ruth, Fiona, Michelle, Crystal, and the others. We had to assemble with everybody at the afternoon Parade, and the night Parade, went on Thunder Mountain twice, Splash Mountain once, and didn’t get to go on Space Mountain because it was down for renovation ;(  Went on Astro Blasters, spinning cups, Carousel and many other rides. Soon, it was time to go back to the hotel. We skipped our dinner to go on more rides, so we went to Lawson to get cup noodles, and gathered at my room, to play and eat.

At about 11+, all of us were done bathing except Crystal and Fiona because they were over at my room, and haven’t gone back to their room. Since it was our last night, I decided to sleep in their room, since they had one extra bed.

Went over to their room, and when we open the door, the door wasn’t lock, but ledged and Reea was blasting music in the room. Then I started knocking and banging on the door, and Reea finally came to open the door. Then we were all like, “you ledge the door for what?” Then Reea was like, “I didn’t know that you all would be back so early.” Me:”Wow, so you’re trying to say that if we came back later, the door will automatically unledged itself?” Then she kept quiet. So Crystal, Fiona and I were just talking, and we asked Reea if she could hear us and she said no, except Fiona and me. So we continued talking and Crystal was like, “Reea, are you sure you can’t hear us?” Then she was like, “Yes don’t worry, I cannot hear you all.” We all glared at her, and Crystal gave her the i-thought-you-couldnt-hear-us look. So obviously she was eavesdropping, and she kind of gave up. She came down form her bed, and went, “let me join in” -.- then we were like argh whatever. Then halfway through the conversation, I said to Reea that nothing in this room shall be revealed. Everything will stay in the room. SHE AGREED.

We continued talking about 1+, and we were deciding on where I was going to sleep, so then we decided that 3 of us will sleep on the 2 sofas, so we started joining the sofa together. THEN this Reea, “Can i join you all too?” “Huh no, does the sofa look like there’s space for one more person?” So she got angry and stomped out of the room, and all of us didn’t really bother until Crystal was like, “did she just went out of the room without the key again?”

Then we all burst out laughing. So she knocked, and we opened the door for her. It was about 2+ when Fiona and Crystal went to bathe, and then we slept.

06 06 (Day 11):

Last day! Woke up at 5:30, Japan time, packed the stuffs, went down for breakfast at 6:30, and breakfast ended at 7:30. Went up the bus to the airport at 7:45, reached the airport at about 8:30.

Checked in at 9, and our flight was at 11.

Got to walk around for awhile, took the flight to Hong Kong, and got a half an hour lecture from Ms Kaur because, 1. Tricia left her phone in Tokyo, 2. Eeswary left her passport in the hotel and another girl lost her wallet thrice in a day.

Had free and easy for like 4 hours +, flight back to Singapore was at 8:10.

Slept through the entire flight from Hong Kong to Singapore, was too tired.

Touched down ☺

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