Yokohama Commonwealth Memorial, Aqua Resort Aquarium Performance & Exchange with St. Mary's International Boys School
When I found out that we were going to Japan for our band tour this year, I was elated. Although, in all honestly, I was quite startled and nervous at the fact that we were going to a very foreign country across the world. But, as soon as we arrived in Japan, my worries instantly melted away. The people are so kind here; bowing and saying "thank you very much" constantly! In the short time that we have been in Japan, I have grown to feel very comfortable around the people and around the city itself. I was worried about our safety as we are a medium-sized group, and I thought that travelling around together would be difficult. It has turned out to be the opposite; I have found it very easy to get around Japan as the people here are helpful and kind (And there are lots of signs in English, which always helps as well). Feeling so comfortable in Japan has really helped in having an amazing trip. The activities that we have done have been so much fun, and have helped me learn more about the Japanese and their culture, and of course their beautiful country. My favourite activities have definitely been the cultural day, where we had the opportunity to try out origami, Japanese traditional dance, Taiko drumming, and my personal favourite, calligraphy. I really enjoyed this day because I got to try out some of the more traditional Japanese ways. Another favourite day of mine was our double performance day. Our first performance was at the aquarium, which I found to be a neat setting to play in. We played very well at the aquarium, and our small audience really enjoyed it. Although I had a great time playing at the aquarium, our next performance was my favourite, for sure. We had the opportunity to do a musical exchange with St. Mary's school, which I found to be so much fun! Their school played us three songs, and then we proceeded to play four for them. Afterwords, we got to hangout and chat with the students from St. Mary's, and they even said that they would try to visit us in Canada in the near future to participate in another exchange. Although I am extremely saddened by the fact that we return home tomorrow, I am so happy that I had the opportunity to experience such a fantastic trip, with great people (in our band and in Japan)! I wanted to give a shoutout to Ms. LaBine, all the chaperones, the band parent association and of course our parents who made this trip possible for us! Thank you so much for the wonderful chance to experience Japan and all it has to offer.
I never thought I'd have the luck of celebrating my 18th birthday in Japan, surrounded by amazing friends! Today was an incredible day, beginning with paying a tribute to our fallen soldiers. This visit was followed by going to the Hakkeijima Sea Paradise Aquarium, and the animals we saw were jaw dropping! Our performance there went surprisingly well considering we were playing outside in the rain and the wind. We then went to a school exchange and performed for each other. It was great meeting new people and they were really nice students. :) For my birthday, I got the chance to present the Canadian flag to them and they all sang happy birthday. This trip has brought people together, not only between countries but also within our group. It was amazing to see how much people cared and planned for my birthday, like a secret card and a cake with the whole group. In a week, I've made bonds with the students and teachers that will stay for a very long time. I am so lucky to have shared this big day with all of them.
Written by: Emilie Lefebvre
Sumo, Tokyo Philharmonic, Imperial Palace & Easter in Japan!
Hamamatsu performance, Music instrument museum & Bullet Train
So far the Japan tour has been great!!! We have done so many interesting things that are much different than what we are used to in Canada. The bands that we got to listen to at Hamamatsu station were just excellent, and they showed us how different things are in Japan, like how much more important music is in the japanese culture. Just today we did a "music exchange" with an international school. Both of the bands got to play music to each other, and then we exchanged pins and we met the students. It was a very unique experience, and it would be cool to do again.
- Riley Brassington
Asakusa Sensoji Temple, Market Shopping & Shinjuku
Sumida River Boat Cruise and Hamarukyu Garden Visit
Day one was fantastic! We were able to learn about traditional Japanese customs as well as the everyday habits of the Japanese people. I am so amazed by the amount of respect and politeness the people here have shown us. Hygiene is extremely important here (which I love), everything is immaculate and clean here in Japan! The cultural workshops we were able to participate in today were all amazing, I especially enjoyed the Taiko drum session and the calligraphy workshop!
Written by: Dominique Lefebvre
My favourite part of the tour so far has been trying all of the different foods that they eat here. Sukiyaki was probably the most delicious thing I have tasted in my life! Sukiyaki was beef which was a nice change up from the fish and sea life we have been eating so much of! The fish tastes different as well, it's so much fresher here than at home! We also tried octopus and oyster pudding which was definitely worth trying, but I can't say that it was my favourite! The humidity here is crazy, its usually about +20 and about 40% humidity, but in retrospect it beats the snow! Loving Japan!
Written by: Caity Bell
Cultural Workshop at National Olympic Memorial Youth Center
Traditional Tea Ceremony at Rikugien Garden & Bento Box Lunch
Tokyo Tower & Roppongi Hills Mori Tower Observation Deck
After a very long day traveling, students were excited to get to the hotel and rest. We are staying at a fabulous hotel, with great restaurants, a 7-11 and a McDonalds! - which the students enjoy very much! Students and chaperones all took advantage of an early bedtime (about 9:00 pm) and were up again at 6:00 am for a wonderful start to our visit in Japan.
Please check back later today for some updates and photos of our Cultural Day and Tokyo Sightseeing Days.
Japan Tour 2014
Please check back for updates about our amazing music tour to Japan. Miss LaBine and students will be blogging about the trip!