Category Archives: 長崎県大村市

Nagasaki: talks about peace and nuclear weapons

Posing in front of the peace statue
Posing in front of the peace statue

Today we went to Nagasaki where we then visited the Peace-Museum. At about 8:30 in the morning near the Omura station, we waited for everyone to arrive. Soon after, we all boarded the train to Nagasaki. The ride took about one hour but the time flew when we were talking to each other and planning what we were doing during the free time this afternoon.

At the Nagasaki Station we all got our day-passes for the tram and then proceeded in direction of the Peace-Museum. It went a little uphill until we arrived there. After a quick explanation we then entered the museum. Greeted by stones and wall pieces where we listened to the televisions showing different kinds of documentations from the day the atomic bomb fell on Nagasaki. After our little tour seeing all the sad, interesting things we then met an atomic bomb survivor who was telling us about his experience on said day.

After the speech we gave him of course a Thank you card and then left the museum. Hungry, we went to a Chinese restaurant for lunch, afterwards we made our way to the peace garden by tram and then by foot. Taking a group photo in front of the “Peace-statue”. A few stairs even higher we visited an old school that had a strong history connecting it with the atomic bomb.

The afternoon came and we had our 3 hours of free time. People continued by going to the places they wanted to see and/or by shopping in the station mall. I went for small shopping tour followed by drinking something in that hot weather and then going to the Shiru Shrine with a small group.

At 18:00 free-time was over and we were all meeting again in front of the station. 20 minutes after, our train left with another hour back to Omura, where we had a quick wrap-up and then returned to our host-families.

Jean-Michel Vandervoeren
Luxembourg

The special kid finally hit the balloon with his Kyudo bow

Henry shooting with Kyudo bow in Omura
Henry shooting with Kyudo bow in Omura

Nijinohara Special Education school. It has been two years since I came here. Such a familiar and nostalgic place now. Coming here was as exciting as last time.

The day started with us being given an introductory lecture of the school and it’s branching schools. After some questions and instructions, we went out and did some fun activities with the kids. I remember last time, Jana, a chancellor at the time led a game called álele with the us all. This time around, it was Thomas. He was very good at leading the game, and the kids loved it!

For the rest of the day, we were divided into groups and participated in different activities and lessons with the children. I got to participate in an English class with Louise from Sweden, Paul from the states, Jean-Michael from Luxemburg, and Yunzhi from China (same as me btw). We spend our time with playing some rather bizarre but fun games involving English words, and being interviewed by the kids.

During the afternoon, we went to the Kyudo Dojo in this town. Kyudo is a form of Archery that is unique to Japan. Not only does it emphasis a lot of archery, it also emphasis on form.

After being taught the forms in Kyudo through a sling-like thing, we were given the opportunity to try at a real bow. Not only were the bows pretty heavy to pull, they were huge too. For me at least, the forms and technique we learned were really helpful. We were given some target balloons we were to hit with the arrows. Those that hit at least one balloon were given some snacks as a prize.

Last time I was participating in this program, I didn’t manage to hit any balloons. This time around, I managed to hit one! I wasn’t alone in hitting at least one balloon. At least all of Chinese participants in this session hitted at least one. I decided to try out on the real target that was a little bit further away than the balloons once I hitted a balloon.

At the end of the day, some people participated in a Kendo experience. I decided not to take part in the kendo activity since I was quite tired and I had a light case of headache. I don’t know how, maybe it is because I didn’t drink enough water for the day. Maybe….

By the time dinner was served, the headaches were mosly gone. The dinner for today was Japanese Curry with rice, It’s a cuisine made of Japanese curry paste, often with some beef, potatoes, and carrot, almost like the european gulasch. It is quite popular among kids here in Japan. We sat around a small table in front of the TV while eating. I usually ate together with my host brother, Shingo. The rest of the family joins in a little later.

We spent the rest of the evening small talking while watching TV. Since this is the first time the Miyamoto family were being a host family in WCI, they have not been in a single Arigato Event before. As thus, they were pretty excited about it. The Nagasaki Arigato event is in my most humble opinion the best of those I’ve been apart of. At least it was so the last time. I really hope they will enjoy the event. ‘I’m gonna make sure the event will be successful’ were the last words I thought to myself as I went to bed.

Henry Yang
China

Shorinji Kempo experience! – Omura, 16th June 2018

School visit and BBQ with host family

Magnus with his extended host family
Magnus with his extended host family

Hello everyone, My name is Magnus Krumbacher and I’m from Norway. I have been living in Tokyo on my gap year since I graduated from high school last year.

Now that I’ve introduced myself, I would like to talk about my day and what I got to experience. It started off as usual by waking up at 7:00 AM. I went downstairs to eat breakfast together with my host family. I have to say, I’m not really a morning person so I’m always half asleep while eating. Today was no different. Luckily though, they are quite the same so I felt comfortable with just sitting, eating and occasionally talking a bit.

After breakfast my host father drove me to Takematsu elementary school where I met up with the other World Campus participants. After everyone had arrived we walked inside and sat down in an empty classroom, waiting for the principal. Astonished by the sight of so many foreigners in one place, the elementary school kids quickly began to gather outside of the classroom and started staring at us. I didn’t feel uncomfortable being stared at because I think that children anywhere in the world would stare out of curiosity when seeing a group of people that don’t look like people they’re used to.

The principal finally arrived and we were taught the history of Takematsu elementary school. After also having explained some things we were not allowed to do, such as taking pictures of children and publishing them on social media, it was time for 書道, calligraphy in English. After going to the gymnasium and briefly introducing ourselves, we sat down with the children and started writing Chinese characters. I chose to write 嵐, meaning “storm”. Although I was pretty bad at it, the children helped me enough that I ended up with a presentable result. Then the children cleaned up after us and we were introduced to some typical Japanese games like 剣玉, literally translated “Sword-Ball”.

After about 30 minutes we returned to our classroom and waited for the kids to prepare for school lunch. We were sent into different classes and got to interact with the children while eating the school lunch. I made a small group of friends during that time so after we finished eating, they dragged me outside to play with them. On the way out one child had the idea of asking me for my signature and when the others saw that, it completely took off. All of us were surrounded by school kids asking for our signature for at least 10 minutes. When we finally made it outside, my small group of friends suggested we play tag. Of course I was the one who had to catch them and it wasn’t exactly cold on that day either so after we were done, I was drenched in sweat.

We then proceeded to clean the classroom with the children. This is actually part of the education at Japanese schools. They have to clean their own classroom, toilets etc. The children had a hard time believing that in Norway we have people who clean after everyone leaves the school in the afternoon. Anyhow, after having cleaned the classroom it was time to say goodbye. I really felt bad because my small group of friends I had made seemed quite sad that we were all leaving and they had to return to their daily school routine. We then moved to back to the Shorinji Kenpo Dojo we had been earlier that week and practiced for the upcoming Thank-You-event at the end of our stay in Omura.

Our host families came to pick us up and I just had enough time to take a shower before they took me to their daughters place and we all had a rooftop BBQ. The daughters children were pretty scared of me in the beginning but that went away pretty quickly when we started playing various games. The BBQ was also delicious. I discovered that I really like fried tofu. When it got dark outside we went inside and it turned out they had made a cake for me to “welcome me to the family.” I thought that was very sweet of them. Then I went home with my host family and we watched some TV before I went to bed. Overall it was a very successful day!

Magnus Krumbacher (Norway)

Joyful interaction with school children and the spirituality of Japanese archery

Helena about to shoot a Japanese yumi bow in Omura
Helena about to shoot a Japanese yumi bow in Omura

This day started with me not being able to wake up, even though I slept for 9 hours! Which is probably the last time I can sleep that much during the program as I am a counselor.

The breakfast was so delicious I suddenly realized why I wanted to wake up. After quick preparation and hurrying with my host mom, I got dropped off next to Nijinohara school. My host mom happens to work in the school that stands next to the one we were going to visit that morning, so I was glad I didn’t take time from her usual morning.

We met in front of the school and the activity day could start. This school is a bit different from the other schools we visit with World Campus Japan. It’s a school for children with special needs and that was recognizable from the beginning. For me it meant a huge joy. We lined up and the children high fived us while entering the school and even that was a wonderful experience. We were given a chance to see how excited these kids can be and how much they can give you just by smiling. The whole experience was really emotional for me as I really love spending time with happy people and these kids are just glowing with joy.

One of the teachers lectured us about how the school works and what not to do around the kids. We even had a tour around the school and I must say: how much creativity they use to teach the kids is really impressive. Every kid has the attention needed.

Next, it was our turn to introduce ourselves and perform for the kids. Even though we practiced just a little bit the day before and our positions changed, it went well. The amazingly performed Alele by Daniel was an even better icebreaker.

After dividing to 3 groups we were assigned to a specific classrooms. I was with the 3rd years. On the way to the classroom two of the kids wanted to hold my hand and walk with me. I couldn’t feel happier. The teachers took like thousands of pictures of the three of us. I made new friends right in that moment. The class had its own program for us and everything was fun, mainly watching the kids being sooo excited. Their joy was almost visible as waves of energy in the air. But I would prefer not doing the whole “Head, shoulders, knees and toes” four times in a row and singing it with a microphone while doing so. The tempo of that song was changing in a weird way but the kids didn’t seem to mind.

Lunch was the last thing that awaited us in that school. My group was eating in the cafeteria and the system of Japanese school cafeteria is just amazing. Almost every system like that is really well done in Japan. Maybe this system was a bit adjusted for the kids but that makes it even more amazing. We ate curry and drank milk. The portion was so big I just couldn’t finish all of it, so I gave the rest to someone else. Together with my jelly. Even while eating, the kids were coming to us and introducing themselves. They always tried their very best.

Then we said our thanks and were headed to a dojo for Kyudo. The dojo had a tradition to follow when entering and leaving which was the first sign of the spiritual nature of what was about to happen. A very well done lecture about Kyudo was given by the masters and then they helped us getting in the traditional clothes. We looked so cool in those. I felt really confident while wearing it.

Kyudo has exact steps to follow before and after shooting the arrow. Following them has a spiritual meaning to it and some of us really enjoyed this part of Japanese style of archery. I enjoyed the feeling that it’s not as hard as it looks. After a short practice without the arrows we were able to shoot. Not once. Not twice. Multiple times. I couldn’t hit the exact target anyway. But still it was really interesting and rewarding. Literally. We received an award for hitting a balloon, or in my case, for trying hard. And also other gifts. Japanese people are too kind.

When we left we had some time before our host families would come pick us up so we went for ice cream! What a nice ending of a long day. Even more so thanks to the deliciousness of the ショップドチョコレート (chipped chocolate) flavor.

For dinner with my host family we went to a sushi place and of course it was also delicious. It really felt like a dinner with family. Everyone was exhausted but still enjoying the presence of one another. I always try to remind them that they need to sleep more but they never listen!

We sang together on the way back and were welcomed by a loud “wan wan”. Honey, the dog, barks all the time. It’s like a little black sheep trying to gain some respect. After taking a shower I went to my room and now I can enjoy a nice sleep in this huge bed.

Helena Raichartová
(Czech Republic)