9th Grades’ Cultural Exploration in Nagano

9th Grades’ Cultural Exploration in Nagano
Yui K. ('23) and Ashita G. ('22)

Grade 9 homestay trip in Nagano 


The Grade 9s headed for their annual trip to Nagano Seisen on the rather chilly day of September 16, which allowed for a relaxing break, one where they could bond with their school peers and experience Japanese cultures from a new perspective. When they arrived at Nagano Station, the students were quickly sent off to each of their host families who waited for them at the exit gate. After greeting their new families, the students were taken to many different cultural activities with their hosts for the remainder of the day. With some students going to grab a late lunch of Japanese traditional food— ‘Soba’ places as Nagano is famous for soba noodles, as well as some going to nearby stores around Nagano stations for some souvenirs to take home to Tokyo. In the two-day trip, Zarah M (9) said her favorite activity during the trip was “going to sightseeing at Zenkouji, a shrine nearby Nagano Seisen as I got to try many regional food and treats of Nagano, a very new experience for me as I have never travelled outside of Tokyo since I came to Japan.”

After bonding time with their families on the first day of the trip, the students dressed in their usual school uniforms to finally attend school with their host sisters at our sister school, Nagano Seisen. Each student was assigned to a homeroom and was taken to classes in accordance to what their buddies had for the day. “Learning at Nagano Seisen was a very different experience from how we learn in our school”, Pearl D (9) said, adding on that, “I found the greetings done in the beginning and at the end of each class to be such a cultural contrast from our school, as the concept of politeness in a school is very important in Japanese culture.” It seems that the cultural differences between the two schools have left not only the Seisen students in shock but the students of Nagano Seisen as well. “I was very surprised at the fact that at Seisen International School, they do not have the morning greetings (朝礼 Cho-rei) which we have every morning.” Ran M (12) said. 

Conclusively, it can be said that the Nagano Trip was a big contrast to daily lives in Seisen. The trip to Nagano was defining proof of success in the main aim of this experience; to interact with Japanese cultures and embrace the differences between our cultures and the cultures the Nagano students have in their Japanese households. This allowed international students living in Japan to respect and develop knowledge in their culture as global citizens.


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