Day of activity: July 13th 2015
Just like every day, I woke up at 7 o’clock, but unlike everyday, our breakfast was bread and jam. It was a nice change after all that rice. Our host (Kumamoto) Ken-san drove us (meaning me and my roommate Anders) to Uda’s community center. There we would experience one of Japan’s greatest traditions: the tea ceremony.
First we all needed to change into Yukatas. This traditional clothing is just like a kimono, but lighter. After a short photoshoot everybody got their spot on the tatami mat- and that’s when things got serious. We sat down in the most uncomfortable pose ever! Some of the World Campus Japan members did a great job of hanging in there. I however gave up pretty quickly due to my bad knees. We learned all about the history of the ceremony, about what to do, and what to avoid. Some of us even got to make our own tea!
After the ceremony, we gathered in the great hall again. Being in Japan for 13 amazing days already, this seemed like a great opportunity to reflect on our stay so far. We likened our experiences to those of one another, some good, some bad. All of them were very educational. The last part of the day was spent preparing for the arigato event. Before the families arrived, we did an entire rundown for our new friends Ryoko and Keiko, who came all the way to Uda from Kyuushu just to spend two days with us.
After this we gave our host families a great show. We danced, sang, played games, and read thank you-letters. I even got to play a traditional song with my host-dad: we had practiced this ‘Sakura-song’ every evening and had had so much fun doing so!
To end this lovely day, our host family took us out for dinner. We went to an Indian restaurant, which was once again a nice change from all that (delicious) Japanese food.
Tanguy Declercq (Belgium)