The change for me to visit Japan for homestay finally came with The Japan Cultural Exchange Program set from 22 to 29 June. The total numbers of participant are 23 persons and divided into 21 students and two teachers. On Tuesday 22 June, we were gathered at Airport Gate 2F around 6:40pm. Our plane Garuda Indonesia Flight GA 880 was taking off at 20:40 for Narita, Tokyo via Denpasar, Bali. After landing and prepare for connecting flight to Narita, We were told that the plane was experiencing technical problems. In the end, we had stay in Denpasar for 12 hours. We were separated into two big groups and went to hotels. My group stayed at Inna Putri Bali hotels with Mam’ Rini and some junior high students and senior high students.
The hotel which I stayed at that night was a five-star hotel. In the morning we went to the beach, took some photos and walked around the beach. Around 11 am, we headed to the airport again for our flight to Narita, Tokyo. After some boring hours on the flight, we arrived in Narita Airport. We already lost one day from original itinerary. And then, we had dinner at Nikko Hotels and stayed there for the rest of the day.
The next day, we started our journey to Nagano. The panoramic scenery enroute to Nagano was very beautiful and green. After the long journey which took around four up to five hours, we were arrived in Nagano and we went to the Junior and Senior High School first. I saw a lot of things different from our school in Indonesia. I saw that a lot of different culture and school building here. For example: student there can use make up, before entering the school or house the need to change their shoes with slippers, and bigger buildings for the high school. We ate our lunch with the Junior High students. Our School culture for eating food was different with the local school there. They washed all dishes by themselves; I didn’t saw any cleaning crew in both schools. We had some performances in the Junior High School to introduce Indonesian culture and we donated our traditional music Angklung to the Junior High School. We wore batik for the performances. After we are finished performances and taking photos, we continued our journey to visit the traditional Japanese houses which were very interesting and nice buildings in Nagano region.
After that, we want to meet up with our local family host. My local family host was very friendly with us. Obaa-san was the one who picked up us from the meeting point and took us to her house. She introduced us to Oji-san her husband. They lived alone. Their child was already married. I got some new experience there such as prepared Japanese food and when entered the house. We also went around the house and the village with Obaa-san. She taught us about the plant names in Japanese language. We exchanged some presents which we already prepared for the local family host in Ueda, Nagano. Unfortunately, we were only had limited time to spend with the local family host in Ueda, Nagano, Japan. I was hoping that we could have some more time in that place. After we were said good bye to the local family host and were picked up by the bus, we continued the trip to Matsumoto Castle.
When we arrived there I saw beautiful scenery. I have never seen anything like this in Indonesia before. This museum castle was well maintained and all of the artifacts inside were still in good condition. When we were to enter the castle, we had to change our shoes with slippers (It’s also the same things when we got into the local family host). The stairs were very steep. We had to be careful when we were going up to the top floor which was the 6th floor. The panorama from the top floor was beautiful. The castle was divided into 3 parts and 6 floors. Every part and floor of this castle had different purpose/objective with the others.
And then we were off to Zenkohji Temple. This temple was also well maintained and the artifacts were also in good condition. We walked around the street of Temple. Then, we went through pitch dark room where no one could saw anything. It was sure challenging for me. We needed to put our right hand on the wall so we would not go in the wrong direction. Then we went to some stores, which sold souvenirs. After we were finished, we stopped by a guest house where we stayed for one night. It was an experience. For example, we learned how to used the futon (traditional Japanese bed) and also the special place for taking a bath, eating and brushing teeth. Eating was self service! When we were there we must have self-service for eating the meals. I was inspired with the creativity they used for the futon pillow and the desk-towel. They used straw for the pillow and also recycled paper for the desk-towel!
The next place where I visited was Kawaguchi Lake. Kawaguchi Lake is very beautiful lake; was backdrop of Mount Fuji. Unfortunately, the weather was not friendly with us. It’s rained, makes it difficult to see the backdrop because clouds were blocking Mount Fuji. We did stop eat lunch. We were eating traditional Japanese noodle.
Then we continued to Ghibli Museum, Mitaka. We saw a lot of picture and animation there. The museum was great! There were so many attractions, which showed us the 3D anime, manga comics and anime made by the manga artist. After that visit, we ate at Harajuku area, in an Indian restaurant. In the afternoon we went to the hotel.
The next day we were divided into two groups. One group went to Keio University and the other to the Palace. I was gone with the University group and all of us rode the MRT to go there. The university is the oldest one in Tokyo. There were some students doing research on Indonesia and latter on, will travel to Indonesia for a few weeks. From Keio University we went to Tokyo Tower and met the second group there. Tokyo Tower was awesome! We went up and saw beautiful Tokyo from up there. I believe it would have been more magnificent if we saw Tokyo from up at night.
After that, we had lunch. I ate sushi for my lunch. The price was about 1,050 yen which I paid with my own pocket money. Little bit expensive but it’s alright since that was new experience for me. After lunch, some students went to church and others went shopping near our hotel. I don’t believe that there was a church with Indonesia language service. The name was St. Ignatius Church. We met some Indonesians who took their college or worked there. Then we had to go to the meeting point with the other in the cheapest shopping place in Tokyo (Daiso). I bought some things there for my family and friends. On that night we had dinner at an Italian restaurant and then back to the hotel.
The final of sightseeing in Tokyo, we visited Yoyogi Animation University. We learned lots of things about creating animation and also drawing. We were very interest with that University. Then we continue to Tokyo Disney Land. I tried to rides some attraction there and went shopping there. I tried around 6 attractions there and I waiting in line for so long because so many people wanted to try those attraction too. We were at Tokyo Disney Land until night and saw the night parade and fireworks. The next day, we were off to the airport. In the airport, I bought some souvenirs and magazine before boarding our plane.
I enjoyed this trip despite a very dense schedule and that we lose one day due of delayed in Bali. I got some positive things after I return from Japan. Japanese people were very strict with time. Japanese people were never late to doing something that was already planned before. They are very creative and that’s why Japan was popular with the technology. The panoramic were very beautiful, clean and green. The public Transportation was very well-maintain, clean and free of gravity drawing. In conclusion, Japan was a great country with their different culture with Indonesia. I hope that Indonesia can be as good as Japan.