School trip day 1, Sapporo, Kobe and Kyoto

5 november

Finally !!! Going on school trip!!!

From Monday to Friday I am going to Kyoto, Nara and Tokyo with the second year students of my school. The preceding weeks were pretty hectic and the information was repeated 300 times. My school is not known for the smartest and best and that is probably why they were that stressed, but finally we go!!!

That the morning Shoe brought me to Oyachi station where I took the bus directly to the airport, Chitose. Since schools told us about that bus I expected other students to be on it, but there were no other students. At the airport I just started walking and hoping to find other Yamanote students. And how do I recognize them? Well by their school uniform. Yes also on school trip we wear our school uniform. Luckily I met two girls and together we went to the meeting point. Everybody was already there and I was, in Japanese terms, “just in time”. We had to wait for quite some time but I went to my friends and time went by fast. We had 3 people from the JBT company who stayed with us during the school trip. We also had two photographers with us all the time making pictures that we can buy later. They work for our school and also go to the sport events to make pictures. Really great and they are so kind. Everything was very well organized.

We had to check in and pass the security class by class. It all went much faster than expected. By the way, there were many students that never flew before. It was funny when they shouted “OHHHHH” at lift off.
Unwittingly I tested the level of my school mates when I asked them: Have you been flying before? On which they replied with: “No, and you??” … I looked at them like “Are you kidding me”. When I reminded them that I am from Holland they understood that that is was not my first time 😛

We arrived in Kobe were 9 buses with 9 travel guides were waiting for us. I was pretty much impressed. Especially the travel guides! I do remember that my trips to Rome and Prague were led by the school teachers.
In the bus they told us about the things we saw along the way and asked us all kind of questions. Like “What is famous in Kobe?” and someone answered “Kobe beef” (That is very soft beef from cows that drink beer and have massage every day. Whenever you have the opportunity to eat it, do it!!)

I do not know much about Kobe but I do know that there has been a massive earthquake in the nineties. When I mentioned that, the girl next to me said “Huh? Was there an earthquake?”. The travel guide found it smart and explained about that earthquake. To my surprise I could follow everything pretty well, although not everything.

In the bus we had some kind of Candy, Yatsuhashi, (Click on the name for more information) It is very famous in Kyoto and surrounding. It is soft with different tastes. Originally there is Anko inside, red bean paste. Foreigners usually don’t like it and I had to get used to it, but now I find it delicious! Unfortunately I can’t bring it home since you can only keep it for 10 days at most.

Back to the story. We first went to Kyoto, Kiyomizu Temple. Each class had a guide that explained what we could see and do. We also made a class picture! I do not exactly know what the park and the temple were about but it was beautiful, and we had very good weather.
We had time left to buy お土産 (O mi ya ge) . That are souvenirs, usually cookies and candy or key chains etc. Japanese are obsessed by food and then food from other regions in particular.

I bought Yatsuhashi and bought a special made necklace for Kanji and me. We had plenty of time to buy omiyage. Went went by bus to the 旅館 (ryokan). This is a traditional Japanese hotel were you sleep on the floor and go in bath together.
I slept with the girls from my class, 2F on one room. It was a small room and we had to find out ourselves how these ten beds had to fit in.

When we arrived our dinner was served. I was surprised that it was served in our room. But ok, it is hard to find a place for 250 people.

The dinner was Sukiyaki, wiki explanation: Japanese stew. It is made of meet, tofu, pasta, spring onion, Chinese cabbage, and some kind of mini mushrooms and many other ingredients.
You have to dip it into raw eggs and you can take whatever you like. I skipped the raw egg and it was delicious! And nice because you eat with your group. It’s the Japanese way of gourmet!

After dinner we went to bath, nice all together. And I still did not get used to it, but I do it anyway. After showering we had 5 minutes left before we went to sleep.

Sleeping was a complete different story. The futons just fitted and we were packed together. Then 3 girls decided to start a pillow fight and take away each other’s blankets and… that lasted for about three hours. It was 2 O’clock already and they had it that warm that they put the air conditioner very cold and that resulted in sniffing people the next day.
Two girls wanted to keep the lights on because they were frightened but I remembered them that this was not a kindergarten trip and that that was not going to happen.
These are the moment that you are more grown up, but AFS already mentioned that during preparation.
But I don’t let the school trip spoil by that of course! We finally slept for some hours and the next day went to other places in Kyoto!

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