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.
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 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.
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.