OC STUDENTS TOUR JAPAN
Contact: Oxnard College Japanese language instructor Setsumi Kojima, 805 659-0522, email@example.com
During a six-day trip to Tokyo and the ancient cities of Nikko and Honjo City, Oxnard College language instructor Setsumi Kojima escorted a contingent of 16 students and community members to some of Japan’s most famous historic sites, temples and museums for a taste of Japanese culture, customs and history.
The trip began Thursday, May 31st , when the group landed in Tokyo, where they visited the famous animation GHIBLI Museum, featuring the art works of renown animator and artist Hasue Miyasaki, creator of the Oscar-winning animated feature,“Spirited Away” and many other animated classics. The group also visited the Imperial Palace and Asakusa Kannon Temple and its plaza. Hosting this part of the tour was the International Friendship Association, which escorts sightseers to Japan’s “7 Gods of Wealth Temples” and which escorted Ms. Kojima’s to the temples, the ruins of Kijioka Castle, 100 Kannon gravestones, Hokiichi Hanawa’s Memorial Hall and Waseda University’s Senior High School. The next destination was Honjo City, which is Ms. Kojima’s hometown and site of the Butsumoji Temple, which was actually built by her great-great-grandfather, Kannichi Ehara, in the 1800’s.
The group was invited to enter the temple, remove their shoes and sit on the Tatami mat. The group was also invited to visit the home of local teacher Ms. Tachibana, where she and other teachers demonstrated the traditional tea ceremony and served the visitors. At West Elementary School the group were given a rare glimpse of two American Ambassador dolls with blue eyes, part of the historic collection of 12,700 blue-eyed “Friendship Dolls” sent to Japan in 1927. After World War II began in 1941 most of the “enemy” dolls were destroyed and today only a dozen are still in existence.
The group was warmly welcomed by the Honjo City hosts and knowing that most of them were actively studying the Japanese language and culture, presented gifts such as Japanese alphabet cards and origami dolls, said Ms. Kojima.
“Japan is an amazing country and Tokyo is possibly the cleanest city I’ve ever seen,” said Oxnard College student Cody Beckley (pictured below right.) “There was definitely a sense of awe when I entered the Shinto Shrines and Buddhist temples. I long to come back to the land of the rising sun.”
Rio Mesa High School freshman Gabriel Reveles reported“Visiting Japan was an amazing exotic experience — the culture, the language and food was so much to take in. It was worth going, since I am 14-years-old...I hope to go to Japan again very soon.”
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