Reflection on Trip to Japan
Contributed in Feb, 2010

Leong Junghon

During lunch, after arrival in Japan, we had an orientation and a copy of the Participant handbook was given to us. The next day, we left straight for Toyota and we met the superintendent of the Toyota city board of education. Then, we visited Toyota museum and had lunch there. We went to Takahashi Junior High and met our host parents. Was very excited and was surprised to see an adorable little girl: My host sister. She and her two brothers were the joy of the family. Communication was not a problem as they lived In Michigan for two years. At first, I felt very awkward but later, after I met their whole family, I found out that they were very friendly and hospitable. To me, now, they were a second family. They were all very close with each other and I felt happy staying with them. The two brothers played cards with me. The little sister was an energetic joy machine. They took me to an old Japanese style village that was also a great place to see autumn leaves. We had much bonding together as we cycled the neighbourhood after Christmas decoration. During my home stay, I went to school. There, I was welcomed warmly but the girls were very shy. The many tours around the land of the rising sun were all well planned and there was ample time, Tokyo tower, Toyota museum and the Golden pavilion. You name it. Departure from Toyota was extremely saddening. Bonding with our friends was also enjoyable in our trip. Because of our friends, we could not have had a more FUN trip. All in all, it was one of the most fast and real way to understand and appreciate life as a Japanese and of japans’ cultures

Melody Tan

I have enjoyed myself in Japan. Because of this trip, my interest for Japan has grown a lot and I have started to speak basic Japanese. I know the basic courtesy of Japan and I can now behave well in the public in Japan. During the trip, I have learnt many things about Japan, their history, their culture and many more. My host family had been very hospitable towards me and I really enjoyed my stay with them. Mariko, my host, has promised me that she would come to Singapore during her next Summer Vacation and I can’t wait for her arrival. I will definitely set time aside for her and bring her around Singapore like she has brought me around Nagoya. I really missed the days I have spent in Japan and the days I have spent with them. My Co-Juniors from different countries were very friendly and I had enjoyed myself when I was with them. I love the trip to Japan and I really hope to have another chance to visit Japan with all the ASJA Juniors ‘09 again

Charmian Tan

I had wanted to go to this Japan via this program for many years, after I heard about from my sister. So the very year I turned thirteen, I applied. My joy at getting accepted was overwhelming; I couldn't stop smiling for the next few hours. After I went, I still want to go again, even though I know that it will not be permitted to go on this same program twice. I enjoyed the trip immensely and made many new friends from countries like the Philippines, Indonesia, Japan, Brunei and Malaysia. It has been an eye-opener, this trip, and allowed me to see and experience many new things. And even though the main event is over, I occasionally keep in touch with my newly made friends. My host family was very good to me, and made my stay with them very enjoyable. I miss them badly. Every one of them. They were really so nice to me, that when I think of them now, I feel... miserable, because I had to leave them after only one week. I really liked them a lot. Apart from the host family, I went to many different places, saw many different things, and had a great time. I am so grateful to the people behind this program; because of them, I went through all these fun times. The trip to Japan was wonderful.

Celeste Yao

I am Celeste, 15 when I participated in the ASJA Junior program in 2009. I am currently learning Japanese at the Ministry of education language centre. When I was 13, I did not get chosen to participate in this program and when I was 14, I had other obligations so I could not participate. The participant of this program must be below 15; therefore, I tried out again this year and got chosen. I was elated as I had once missed the chance for an exchange program in Japan organized by the Ministry of education due to the H1N1. And before I took Japanese as a Third Language, I already had a great interest in Japan. Albeit the culture, history, mangas, animes or cosplay. Attending Japan’s High school and living with a Japanese family thought me many differences between the lives of the Singaporeans and the Japanese. For example, at a Japanese school, you wear a clean pair of shoe in the school compound, every student is provided with the same meal etc. At home, before eating you must say いただきます、before leaving the house you must say いってきますetc. I am glad to be able to experience this different kind of lifestyle, which showed me many ways Singapore can be improved and how different lives are lead in other countries.

Leong Keng Heem

For two weeks I was having the time of my life. I was having so much fun that I found myself wishing for more time. Japan is a really fun place to visit. It has a rich and interesting history. I had also enjoyed myself during the home stay program which allowed me to experience Japanese lifestyle first hand. My favorite part is the fascinating tour in Tokyo I learnt a lot on the history of Edo through museums and tourist sites. I had a lot of fun making wind chimes at the workshop as well as the tour at the NHK studios. At the studio, I got to learn how we get to see behind the scenes work and interesting facts about television. It was an amazing trip and I hope that the program can countinue so that more people get to enjoy all this in the future.

Zhuo Sheng Chin

The ASJA Junior Programme was truly an enjoyable trip. As I have not been to Japan before, having this chance to not only see places of interest, but also experience the Japanese school curriculum as well as their home lifestyle, which is not possible in a normal tour, has been an eye-opener to the Japanese culture. The people in Japan were very friendly and hospitable, and responded readily when we were in need of assistance. Despite the language barrier, they tried hard to communicate with us and often managed to send the message across. They made a lot of effort to make us feel at home, which helped us to adapt quickly to the Japanese lifestyle which had differences from the Singaporean lifestyle. There were also differences in the facilities put up in the public places, such as many more vending machines placed around as compared to Singapore, many convenient stores built around, and the streets were more spacious than in Singapore. The Japanese tour guides were also very friendly and made detailed explanations about the places of interests in Japan, which allowed us to understand the Japanese culture much more clearly. We also made a lot of friends from the other countries who participated in the programme. The programme truly was an exciting experience.