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International Programs

Japan Trip 2016 Update 12

10 July 2016 by

Everyone was early for breakfast today and there seemed an air of excitement. We were off to ‘the happiest place on earth’ – Disneyland. After shuttle bus, one train and another we were moving with the crowd as signs of Disneyland became more prevalent. It is with a lens of wonder and awe that this place is best viewed. Westernland, Adventureland, Critter Country, Fantasyland, Toontown, Tomorrowland and the World Bazaar all were waiting for our exploration. An array of rides, characters roaming the streets, parades in daylight and after dark, food stalls, cafés and a multitude of shops (all with friendly and inviting staff) were ready for our very move. Spending 12+ hours here gave us every opportunity to explore and no-one was left disappointed! If you need to know more ask any of the students and teachers involved, I am sure they will be happy to share!

A long day and a late night warranted a sleep in and a late breakfast and we also had to pack – it was our last day in Japan!

After breakfast we walked across the park to the subway and caught a train to Akabanebashi station. From here we walked to Tokyo Tower, a Japanese icon based on Paris’s Eiffel Tower. Being 9 meters taller than the Eiffel Tower, the Tokyo Tower is the world’s highest self-supporting iron tower. We took the elevator to the Main Observation deck and saw breath taking views of expansive Tokyo and experienced the thrill of looking through the glass floor window. From this deck, 100m above sea level, we took the elevator to the Special Observation deck at 250m above sea level and enjoyed a more comprehensive view of the city. Unfortunately we couldn’t clearly see Mt Fuji and were glad we did this early in the schedule as clouds were beginning to obscure part of our views.

Next stop was Shibuya. The reason being we wanted to see first hand the famous Shibuya pedestrian scramble, also known as an ‘X ‘ or diagonal crossing. It is located in front of the bustling Shibuya Station Hachiko exit and stops vehicles in all directions, allowing hundreds of people to flood in the intersection. It’s quite a sight, apparently best viewed from the world’s busiest Starbucks – Mr Higham got firsthand experience as he went upstairs in Starbucks to take photos of the group crossing the intersection.

Finally we set off for Harajuku, between Shinjuku and Shibuya. It the centre of Japan’s most extreme teenage cultures and fashion styles. Takashita Dori is the birthplace and Japan’s fashion trends and is a narrow street roughly 400m long and flanked by shops, boutiques, cafes and fast food outlets. It gets extremely busy and crowded and today was no exception. While students’ shopped and ate in Takashita Dori, Nagaoka Sensei took the opportunity to shop at LaForet shopping complex. After lunch and shopping we all met at a cat cafe and for those with allergies they had a drink downstairs.

We returned to our hotel, regrouped and repacked before we set off for Australia via bus, airplane, travelators, shuttle bus and another airplane. Finally we were greeted and welcomed home at Tullamarine by our respective families for a final car ride home – tired and wanting more, yet richer for the experience.

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