Familiarity with what is required in homestays in Sapporo and as students at Seishu High School is clearly obvious now for our students. Comparing bentos, conversations and evening activities is still the norm when our students reunite in the morning. They are all becoming quite close as a group.
Seishu High School students who are coming to MacKillop College next term have shared that they are both anxious and excited. They have befriended our students and couldn’t be friendlier. We are answering many of their questions.
On Wednesday our students sat in on a Korean class finding out about symbols and pronunciation. This was followed by an English class and an English Conversation class where they played a form of celebrity head with Japanese vocabulary e.g. Sushi, Kimono, Pikachu etc. and conversed with Japanese students.
After lunch we went on an excursion with our host students to the Historical Village of Hokkaido (Kaitaku-no Mura). Here we explored various styles of original and ‘Western’ Japanese housing. The volunteers who showed our students around were exceptional. Our tour groups were mixed to help support the immersion into language and culture.
At the end of classes, on any day, our students make their ways to clubs and leave the school when their host has finished their club activities. This can occur anywhere between 4.30pm-7.30pm. We all visited one particular club on Tuesday afternoon – Kyudo (Japanese archery). The students here were happy for us to visit and showed us their techniques shooting an arrow 28 meters and regularly hitting their targets.
On Thursday the student routine has become that. After our routine we were visited by the Deputy Principal, My Miyagi. He is a history teacher who shared with us his account of the Ainu – Sapporo’s indigenous. We couldn’t help but draw parallels with our Aboriginals. This prepared us for our second excursion, this was to the Ainu Cultural Centre. Here we were shown artefacts of a distant culture which culminated in a closer inspection of the boats they used and the huts they lived in. While spending time in the grounds we met a couple of unusual visitors – two Japanese rat snakes. While harmless, they still generate a bit of fear!
Nagaoka Sensei and Staff Sensei are rather proud of their students in the way they have embraced the language barrier, the homestay challenges and the immersion into a unique culture.
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