The weekend with our host families … some bits!

At school on Friday we split into two groups, I was in 1B. I met a girl called Mizuka. She was very cute and for lunch I went back to her class and stayed with her. She is so cute and we are ‘cleaning buddies’. (Hannah)

On Friday night we went to a games centre, we did rock climbing and obstacle courses like Kidsspace. It was lots of fun. Some went to Studio Alice and dressed up in kimono and had photos taken, we also wore dresses. Some went to a park and played death frisbee! No one died! Some went to a shopping mall, ate massive creeps and spent their money at a huge games centre. Some watched tv.
Some of us ate Italian, some ate at home, some Japanese, some had really tasty steak at a Korean type BBQ, some even cooked (deep fried) there own food at the restaurant table!

On Saturday we all went to Universal Studios Japan, it is in Osaka and we were there almost all day long. There were lots of rides, some of us went on Hollywood Dream – a high speed roller-coaster, Space Fantasy – a roller coaster in the dark – it was mesmerising, there were rainbow asteroids and crystals, little stars and flashing lights and mirrors. It was stunning.
On Jurassic Park you go in a boat and you see all of the dinosaurs (just like in the movie) and then you go into a factory area. Towards the end a tyrannosaurus tries to grab you and just then you go down a 90 degree drop. A photo gets taken of you, you look paralysed.
Jaws is based on the movie, you go on a boat, sometimes there is water squirting up, and you see things. At the end a shark crashes into the boat and water splashes you, the pier catches fire and you can feel the heat.
Back to the Future is about a time travel machine that gets stolen and you have to go after it, there were dinosaurs, there was smoke!
The Snoopy Ride is like a Chairoplane except you ride on Snoopeys! It was the best! It had Snoopy and Snoopy is so good!
At Universal Sutiods there was a parade – we took photos!
Hannah, Azu, Eleanor, Karin, Tia and Karuko went on the Spider-Man six times. It felt like you were moving really fast, our car moved around like there was an electric bolt. The super villains were very realistic. It seems like we were actually a part of what was happening.

On Sunday Neel and Ronald spent the last day with the host family heading to Nara. Nara is very famous for temples, wild deer and it’s beautiful landscapes. They saw the giant Buddha in the temple. Mrs Daws said that the curls in its hair are the size of … something big, like a person’s hand. The deer were cute, they weren’t very hungry when we went but some were really really hungry. These ones just trot along behind you. We fed the deer deer biscuits. You could even pat the female deer without getting hurt. The male deer were aggressive. When we were about to leave Nara we took a rickshaw – a traditional limousine – we were pulled by a very strong man who told us that each rickshaw nowadays costs over ¥2,000,000 ($200,000). It took about an hour to get out of Nara, it was interesting everything seems to take an hour! Some went to a taza pool and Ms Lowe is too frightened to ask what that was about.
Tom and Ethan went to the Hot Springs at a hotel in Kobe. It was very fancy, they watched Sumo wrestling on TV. They had a massive buffet dinner on Saturday night with huge crabs, all sorts of crab, it was delicious!

* Photos to follow in another post!

Our day at school continued …

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Shreya said we went to a Japanes lesson, there was a song for the first five hiragana and we sang it with the hiragana. It helped us learn the hiragana, we did it in many different voices such as angry, sad, happy, big and small. I thought it was really fun.

Ethan said, we went to art, we had to make pictures. We drew bits of an animal or person and then stuck them together. Then we painted them black and put them on a cream sheet of paper. Next we flattened them out and rubbed them. It made a print on the cream paper, it was enjoyable.

Tom said, we started with a welcome speech from the students, then we played death ball. We tried to knock over the three boxes, there were two teams, one defending and one attacking. You got one point for each box you knocked over. Overall the green team won. It was tiring but fun.

Mrs Daws said, after school we saw a mindblowing performance by the champion Golden Bears team. They have recently won the Japanese National Cheerleading Championship. Next week they are off to Bangkok for the World Championships. Their feats were truly amazing, we will show you video when we get home.

Our time at school so far.

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William says after getting into a taxi we went to Kyoto station and went on a train to Osaka station. We then changed lines and took a train to the district where the school is.

Yuko says we arrived at. Mino Jiyu and visited a few classes, then we went home with our home stay students. We had dinner, gave the gifts and played some games with them.

Ronald says today we came to Mino Jiyu and will be here all day to experience the classes and what the students here do at the school.

Tia says we took three trains to get to Mino Jiyu Gakuen. There are a lot of different storeys. They have very strict rules about uniform and shoes.

Neel says Mino Jiyu Gakuen is really organised. They have bigger rooms. They have lunch at school. Some of the students speak English. It’s very disciplined.

Hannah says in the morning the children go straight into the classroom, that is different to us. The teachers help them all the time. Most children walk to school.

Eleanor says the English lessons today was the most enjoyable because the teacher spoke fluent English and Japanese. We played Simon Says and sadly no Australian kid survived – bit of a disappointment! We also played a memory guessing game and once more no Australian survived. It was an enjoyable lesson all round and we made lots of friends.

Rob says he loves the food! The kids are fantastic!

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The kids are loving the baths! They can’t get enough of them, one at night after our long days exploring Kyoto and then after eating breakfast trying to figure out whether there is enough time for another bath before we take off for the day! Breakfast at the hotel has been a buffet each day so they can eat as much as they want, it has been great to see some of them trying all sorts of things. Last night in Kyoto we broke into groups and headed off for dinner, some ate at Subway, some at a Ramen place and others at a Tonkatsu place. All reported dinner was oishi!

Ninjas, Samurai and Bamboo

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Today’s adventure started with a visit to Kyoto Studio Pak. Inside the walls the buildings were replicas of buildings in the Edo period. In this park we watched a Ninja show and a dual between three Samurai. At the end of the show Hannah got to dual one of them. It was a very ‘interesting’ experience because they all spoke Japanese and it was like “Yaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrr!”. This park is use for filming television shows set in the Edo period, there are four being filmed there at the moment.

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After coming back from the awesome Kyoto Studio Park we went to Arashiyama station. As we scaled the vast mountain, we saw endless amounts of pure, lush green bamboo. After the scenic walk we finally reached the point where we could see the beautiful view. We defended ourselves from the ever changing weather. It was an amazing journey!

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An adventure to some temples

Today we went on a bus trip with Midori our tour guide, it was a busy day, here are a few things that we did.

Golden Pavilion
One of the highlights was going to the Golden Pavilion – Kinkaku-ji
There are three levels in the Pavilion, the first one is for aristocrats, with sliding doors. The second floor is for the Shoguns, it has a Buddhist statue and four guardian statues. The third floor is the Zen temple. This pavilion is covered in black lacquer and then gold leaf. In 1952 the original was burnt to the ground by a trainee monk. The original Pavilion was built in the 1397.

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Ryoanji and the Rock garden
Along the way today we went to the traditional rock gardens. There are fifteen big rocks with little pebbles around. The pebbles represent the sea and the big rocks represent the land. While we were there we saw a huge lake with lots of lily pads. There was also lots of momiji leaves – leaves that had turned red for autumn.

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Daitoku-ji

This is sensei’s favourite temple, we were very quiet and enjoyed the experience.

Nijo castle

Today we went to the Nijo Castle, one of the first things that we noticed when we walked into was the elaborate gate. It contained gold carvings of dragons, tigers, cranes and peacocks. When we entered the temple we found the floors were creaking under our feet, this technique is called the Nightingale Floor. It is used as a warning to protect the Shogun, who can hear intruders.

Food
In Japan there are plastic displays of life like food in front of each restaurants, these are the things that are on huge menu. At lunch time we went to a restaurant where we got to sit on tatami mats, sitting on a low table. Our feet went into a pit under the table. When we entered the restaurant for dinner we rushed excitedly to our seats getting ready for our stomach filling buffet. Everyone enjoyed their scrumptious food. After dinner we headed back to our hotel, we were tired!

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Facts that we thought were interesting -
If the Shogun said to a samurai that they had to commit suicide then they had to!
In the rock garden you could only see 14 rocks but there were actually 15.
Panasonic, the battery people, make toilets.
There are 20,000 family crests in Japan.
The Emperor had many porcupines, the students found this interesting and the teachers found themselves doubled over snorting a little!