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Vashon to Himeji '08

Hirohata Kindergaren and Myochin Ironworks

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Today students attended one class at Himeji-Minami with their homestay brothers and sisters. They particularly enjoyed Mr. Shioki's (Shioki Sensei) English class. They were stars in English Literature and writing and enjoyed the time seeing what school is like for their Japanese Friends.

We walked to Hirohata Kindergarten and sang songs with the world's cutest 4 year olds. We sang Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes and they sang a darling song about tulips.
Then...the wild rumpus began! Kids were running, screaming, making pretend onigiri in the sand box, climbing the fantastic equipment...and that was just the Vashon kids!

We all wondered why our kindergarten students don't wear cute, color coded hats or adorable smocks.

Soon the kids had made many new friends. The kindergarten teachers were sweet and very friendly and the children look so happy and healthy. The little kids were showered with gifts of candy or toys and posed for numerous photos. This was such a sweet part of our trip and we appreciate the kindergarten teachers willingness to share their students on only the second day of school!

It was hard to say goodbye but we did and headed for the near-by train station. We made another new friend along the way (look for the pictures to find out who).

At the main Himeji station the kids split up for lunch and shopping. Many had delicious pastries such as melon pan or curry donuts.

We then took a very squashy bus ride to an ordinary looking neighborhood that houses one of Japan's premier craftsmen. We visited Myochin Ironworks and had an incredible demonstration by Mr. Myochin-the 52nd generation of Myochins working with iron. They create beautiful windchimes, metal tongs, katana, and beautiful holders for traditional Japanese flower arrangements.

The students enjoyed the demonstration and a few got involved...

Afterwards we headed back to school for the Sayonoura Party. We were treated to choir and karate performances, an incredible put luck dinner and lots of photo-taking. Alyssa and Kalee performed a beautiful song on oboe and piano and their okaasens and senseis were very proud!

The Vashon students said the Sayounara was for the teachers-they plan to stay here!

Students went on to fun events with their new friends and families. We'll meet tomorrow morning for a bus trip to the airport. It's hard to leave this wonderful country and we're all so greatful to our generous hosts (teachers and families) for their excellent care.

It has been a pleasure to travel and learn with your wonderful children. They have embraced every experience and have been complimented everywhere for their polite manners, punctuality and interest. They have been excellent ambassadors for Vashon and our country.

Good night and we'll see you all on Saturday! Please arrive at the airport on time so that your very tired and happy students (and their teachers) can head home to rest up.


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Vashon to Himeji '08