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Japan Trip

Aldridge State High School students who study Japanese forged lifelong memories and friendships on the school’s recent biennial trip to Japan.
Students got the brilliant opportunity to enjoy the sights and culture of Japan whilst practising their Japanese language.  They visited seven World Heritage listed sights including Kinkakuji – the Golden Pavilion - a stunning gilded structure originally used for a nobleman’s villa; Todaiji Temple - the world’s largest wooden structure; and Nijo Castle that was once used as the Tokugawa Shogun’s family palace.  It boasts an impressive security device – the “nightingale floor” which was designed to make a chirping sound when walked upon so that people could not move around the corridors undetected.
A visit to the Atomic Genbaku Dome, Peace Memorial Park and Peace Museum in Hiroshima was strangely confronting and uplifting.  Certainly it highlighted the importance of learning from history and world peace in a very real way.
It wasn’t all temples, shrines and stunning scenery; yes, they did see the impressive Mt Fuji.  A taste of Japanese sporting culture saw students swept up in the mania of a Tokyo Yakult Swallows and Hiroshima Carp baseball game and a sumo tournament at the National Kokugikan Sumo Arena.  Of course a highlight for the students was their day spent at the delightful Tokyo Disneyland.
After a week spent in a hotel, students had the enriching experience of Japanese family life during two homestays.  The first was a two day stay in Tome, a more rural area of Japan where the school signed the official Friendship Arrangement with the Board of Education.  The second week long stay was in Kasukabe with students from our sister school Kasukabe Junior High.  Whilst here students attended classes at the school and witnessed both the Fraser Coast Mayor Gerard O’Connell and Kasukabe Mayor Mr Ryozo Ishikawa sign the Sister City Agreement. 
“The hospitality of the Kasukabe and Tome families, Kasukabe Council and sister school/friendship school communities was overwhelming – Aldridge has some wonderful friends in Japan!” stated Japanese teacher Miss Sue Buck. “The eighteen students who visited Japan will always treasure the memories they’ve made and the wonderful experiences they’ve had.”
Year 11 student Anneliese McKee said, “I really enjoyed participating in various customs which are so different to anything we do in Australia, but the best thing about the trip for me was the Kasukabe homestay.  It’s amazing how deeply and quickly you form close connections.”
As always, the invaluable planning and assistance received from Mr Osamu Murata and Mr Michiei Hosoi of KAFE (Kasukabe Aldridge Friendship Exchange) ensured that this year’s Japan Trip was an outstanding success.
To add further excitement and an unexpected twist, students stayed an extra three nights in Japan after their flight was cancelled due to ash in the air from a volcanic eruption two hundred kilometres south of Tokyo.  When the intrepid travellers finally made it home after close to three weeks away, they were exhausted, but brimming with tales of their wonderful adventures.