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Delegation Recap

Sister City High School and College Delgation

June 15 - June 30, 2010

Thank you to chaperones Doug and Marcie Langefels for sharing their trip photos. 
Update:  June 28, 2010
We had a wonderful Monday in Mie prefecture and back home in Izumi. The weather was warm but mostly sunny and no need for umbrellas. The drive to Mie was beautiful with the road cutting through many large, forested hills that had some tea fields growing on them. After a nice Italian lunch in Iga, we visited the Ninja Museum which was a big hit with all the students. They saw a real farmer's house that was designed for Ninja's with many secret doors, passages, and places to
store weapons. The Ninja play was very interesting to watch, and we now know the difference between samurai and ninja. They wanted to stay longer, but we needed to get back in time for our Sayonara Dinner at a restaurant. We were joined at the dinner by the Mayor, the Director of the Board of Education (both men will be in Bloomington in just a few days), four students and one chaperone who will visit Bloomington in August, many members of the 2008 Mayor's Delegation, members of the IIEA, the TCM marathon runner from 2008, many of the volunteer interpreters who accompanied us on our adventures, the Bloomington high school Japanese teacher from 2008-09 who traveled all the way from Tokyo for the event, and all of the host families. It was a nice evening of good food, playing bingo, taking lots of pictures, and strengthening the bonds of old and new friendships.
 
Tuesday will be spent at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka and quickly packing in the evening. We will be at Itami airport very early on Wednesday morning. While the students are looking forward to returning home, they are also going to be sad to say goodbye to our gracious and hospitable hosts. We will all be bringing home many memorable experiences.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Update:  June 25, 2010
We have completed our visits to Kyoto and Osaka which were both wonderful experiences. We were very fortunate to dodge raindrops in Kyoto on Wednesday, so all of our outdoor walking was done without umbrellas. Both temple sites we visited were beautiful and were very crowded with other visitors - especially school children. It is field trip season for Japanese school students, and they are out in force. The textile dyeing and Japanese lunch buffet were both a big hit with the students. Even though the bus ride was about 1 1/2-2 hours long, there was still a lot of conversation between the students and not much sleeping. The coach bus we rode in was very comfortable., and as always there were plenty of cold drinks and snacks.
 
Today in Osaka the sun was out which provided great views of the city from the Tsutenkaku Tower. The energy level was way up for the shopping in Namba and karaoke singing - many of the students singing songs in Japanese. The yakiniku lunch in a beautiful restaurant was quite delicious, seeing as we all did most of the cooking. We did a lot of urban walking today, so everyone should be quite tired. Some will try to stay up tonight with host families and watch Japan play Denmark in World Cup Soccer - the game starts at 12 midnight Izumi time.
 
We have another full schedule tomorrow and will visit our third high school. On Saturday, most students and families will attend a beach party barbeque in Wakayama prefecture being organized by Taylor's host family. I cannot say enough about how thoughtful the Izumi staff have been and how helpful the volunteer interpreters are each day. Our host couple have been so generous, warm, and have made us feel right at home. I also believe the students have been appreciative of the efforts being made and are representing Bloomington well.

Update: June 21, 2010

The High School/College delegation arrived in Japan with no problems with travel, customs, or any lost luggage. Izumi staff have been great with the arrangements and the schedule of events have been very full the first two days. Everyone is healthy and doing well with no jet lag. The weather on the first day was warm, humid and sunny - the second day was rainy and humid.

The group completed Tuesday activities at the Saori weaving and Momoyama University. Today was sunnier and much warmer. The students loved the weaving and made some beautiful items. They also enjoyed the various activities at St. Andrew's U and met many students who wanted to see who they were. The staff at the International Student Center were very helpful, warm, and made our visit a memorable one.

 


We stayed dry on Monday at Nara and the students liked Todai-ji and all the deer. We had a beautiful Japanese-style lunch at a restaurant with a view of a garden. They had the opportunity to dress as royalty when we visited Heijo Palace. The bus ride on Monday morning to Nara was full of conversation about what happened over the weekend. The host families seem to be doing an incredible job of making the kids feel apart of their families and I can see that each morning and afternoon when they are dropped off and picked up. Miki and Kazuo are always attending to the students needs with bottled water/juice/tea/Coke and packaged snacks. It is very helpful because we get thirsty often in the humid conditions.

A couple of big days coming up - Kyoto tomorrow and Osaka on Thursday.

 

A color brochure is provided of the 2010 delegates in pdf format below.

Please contact us at 952-563-8713 for information on future delegations.