Tuesday, 6 October 2015

by Kong Xin Mei, Form 5 Science 1 and Ian Lim, Junior 2 Venter, Class of 2015

Cempaka Schools never fails to help students end their year the right way. They had successfully organised programs to help Cempakans ease their stress before the start of a new semester whilst providing unforgettable knowledge to grasp on and never let go. In the year 2014, Cempaka Schools had pulled off one of the best educational trip and I am eternally grateful to have stolen this opportunity to visit the land of the rising sun, Japan.

A sea of grey flooded the airport on a Tuesday night as Cempakans arrived the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Wearing a grey shirt that proudly bear the Cempaka name, the amount of students gradually increased. At 7.30pm, the Japan Tour coordinators came forward to introduce themselves and once the ice was broken and flight tickets were distributed, it was time to say our last goodbye.

The adventurous journey commenced as soon as our foot touched the Japanese ground. As the citizens of Japan are very keen on punctuality, a coach was already waiting at the front gate of the airport, ready to take a group of excited tourists to their very first destination. Friendly faces and warm smiles greeted us as we reached our first tourist attraction in Fukuoka. Taichiarai Peace Museum is the memorial place of all the brave and very much patriotic pilots as well as victims who had sacrificed themselves for the better good of Japan during the World War II. Literal planes such as the only Type 97 Fighter plane in the world and a Mitsubishi A6M Zero Fighter Plane were also displayed.

The next excitement only started after a two-hour bus ride to Nagasaki. Cempakans were brought to a Japanese high school where not only were new friends made, but culture learning as well as the itch relieve to understand the difference between a Malaysia and a Japanese high school. We were told to leave our shoes behind as cleanliness was one of the top priorities in the school building. Once we entered a room, “Welcome to Nagasaki Higashi High School” could be seen on the projector screen. Speeches were exchanged by the principal and the student representatives of both schools. As soon as that was completed, Cempakans showcased a dance which represented the diversities of Malaysia while the Japanese students gave a presentation on their school. We were then given time to interact with the Nagasaki students before we ended our visit with a traditional Japanese tea ceremony.

Day three started off right with breakfast and a bus ride to the next tourist attraction also known as the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum. Many of us left with heavy hearts after we were exposed to the amount of suffering the Japanese had endured during the bomb attack at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The bomb’s explosive force that was powerful enough to wipe out a city in two minutes time and the radioactivity which remained deadly long after the debris settles and the smoke cleared had really took its toll on us. We adjourned to the Nagasaki Peace Park soon after. This particular park was beautifully built in commemoration to the heroes of Japan.

After lunch, we were given the opportunity to shop at the biggest shopping mall in Nagasaki called “Coco Walk” and an hour later, we departed to our next stop, Shimabara. After a long two-hour wait, it was finally time to meet our host families, the moment every Cempakan who embarked on this trip had been waiting for. The home stay experience was one of a kind. Not only did the host parents welcome us with perfect hospitality for 3 days and 2 nights, but they even took their time off to bring us around the beautiful yet peaceful village. It really was a pleasure to learn the secret recipes to a delicious traditional Japanese meal and lifestyle. That is why, if you were to ask anyone who came for this trip “What is the most memorable experience throughout the trip?”, the answer will undoubtedly be “living a Japanese lifestyle with the Japanese!”

Having known that we were without of our parents when we were in Japan, our host fathers and mothers wanted to take their place for this 3 days. We might not be used to traditional living, especially we have to do chores and farming, but everyone learned at least a skill in the end. May it be plucking potatoes, onions, packing up strawberries, or even making mochi sweets. Some of us had the chance to experience the traditional way of a leg hot spring, while eating hard boiled egg and purple sweet potatoes. Even if any of us didn’t learn all these, we now at least know some Japanese (and our host families learned some English). Okay, by any chance someone did not learn all this, he/she must’ve at least learned how to function the advanced high-technology toilet bowl of Japan.

As time flies, it was soon time to say goodbye to our beloved host families and depart to our next destination, Kumamoto. Fortunately, we were privileged enough for a ferry ride to Kumamoto and once we’ve reached, we continued our coach ride to one of the most impressive castles in Japan, the Kumamoto Castle. Before actually giving details about the castle, the place, Kumamoto itself is filled with visuals of this one particular black bear with two large red dots on each cheek. It is none other than the mascot of Kumamoto - Kumamon. If you see any Cempakans wearing our Japan Education Trip T-shirt, you can see the Kumamon at the bottom left corner of the back of the shirt. It’s kawaii.

This castle consist of two towers, a main tower with six stories and a small tower with four stories. Great views of the castle grounds and surrounding city can also be enjoyed from the top floor of the main tower. Either than that, the history of Kato Kiyomasa and its rulers as well as warriors were laid in this very castle. Our last itinerary before our departure the next day was Tosu Premium Outlet where the main aim here is to shop till you drop. Not even 3 hours of shopping here would be enough.

The day all Cempakans dreaded for had finally came. It was time to go back to our motherland, Malaysia. I honestly am eternally grateful and fortunate to have signed up for this educational trip. Many unforgettable memories were created, but mostly importantly, knowledge and experiences were brought back to share. I encourage all other students out there reading this to join Cempaka’s next Educational Trip, may it be any country, you would definitely take memories of happiness and knowledge back home! I would have to say that this Japan Educational Trip 2014 had successfully made it to my top list of “Trips I would never dare to forget”. Nihon ga daisuki!

by Alisraa Aldin Bakar 20:48 9 comments


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