Wanderlust is a German noun that means ‘a strong desire to travel’. And it was precisely this wanderlust that took 10 children and their principal out of their comfort zone and to a country that is near, yet so far. They got to experience a culture that is very ancient but a place that is always at the forefront of cutting-edge technology. And most important, they got a chance to see where they stood as studentsin the larger scheme of life.
On the 21st April, 10 students of Manipal School, along with the principal Mrs Anuradha Shivaram, travelled to Japan on a field trip. The purpose of the trip was to mainly give the children a cultural exposure but it was also to see if it would be feasible to study in the country. The trip, organized by itraveltojapan, first took them to Nagasaki.
There, the children visited the Chinzei Gakuin High School. They attended a Kendo workshop, an origami class, where they learned to make the famous ‘peace cranes’ and even took part in a Tea Ceremony. “If we were to compare Indian and Japanese students, I think our children are a lot more knowledgeable but where the Japanese overtake us is in the level of commitment and focus they give to any task given to them” observed Mrs, Shivaram.
They visited the Nagasaki Prefectural Assembly and even met up with Mr. Hidenori Tashiro- the Director General of International Policy. This visit was covered by the local Japanese media. The group was doubly lucky to meet the Consul General of India- Mr. T Armstrong Changsan.
The group visited the ancient and ornate Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine, dedicated to the god of literature and calligraphy. This was followed by a visit to the Nagasaki Peace Museum, where many photos and relics of the deadly bombing are still preserved.
One interesting collaboration the principal was eager to check out was the Nagasaki Wesleyan University as it has already got a 50% scholarship programme going for all students of Manipal School if they choose to study in Japan for their undergraduation and post graduation.
The University has said it would arrange for students to work 28 hours/week so they can fund their studies.
While Nagasaki was the ‘serious’ part of the trip, Osaka was all fun. The group got to do a fair bit of shopping and food tasting. They experienced a bullet train ride to Kyoto, visited the Nishiki market for local produce, visited Universal Studios and managed to squeeze in a trip to Huiz Ten Bosch (translated as The house in the Woods), a theme park that replicates the Netherlands by displaying life size copies of old Dutch buildings.
The group came back to Mangalore on the 1st of May-travel sore but raring to begin the next one!