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Japan Trip

Japan Trip
On Friday 20th September, 22 students from Toolooa and Tannum Sands State High Schools embarked on the experience of a lifetime – a 10 day tour of Southern Japan.
This trip is part of Gladstone City Council’s Sister City arrangement with Saiki City and endeavours to foster understanding and friendship between our communities. Accompanied by Mr Alan Whitfield, Mrs Ellen Kean and Mrs Jenny Reah, the students left the Gold Coast and flew to Osaka before making their way to Fukuoka, Saiki, Hiroshima and Kyoto.
Understandably, students were nervous about spending 5 days with a Japanese family but these fears were soon put to rest as we experienced the most wonderful hospitality and friendship from our host families.  Toolooa students spent time at Jonan Junior High School and enjoyed attending lessons with their host brothers and sisters as well as being treated to specialist lessons including calligraphy and origami (Japanese paper folding).
After a very tearful farewell to our new friends in Saiki, we moved on to Hiroshima – the sight of the world’s first atomic bomb attack. This event has shaped Hiroshima into a place which has literally risen from the ashes to become a city devoted to the promotion of world peace. After a day in the very moving Peace Park and museum, we caught the Shinkansen (high speed ‘bullet train’) to Kyoto, the Ancient capital of Japan.
While now a very modern and international city, our students saw glimpses of the old Kyoto in the many temples and shrines dotted throughout the area. We spent two full days exploring Kyoto before heading back to Osaka and then home to Gladstone.
The relationship between Toolooa and Jonan Junior High extends back over 10 years. During this time, many students and teachers have developed lasting friendships with their counterparts in Saiki and we look forward to playing host to Jonan staff and students next year.
This experience has had such a positive impact on our students and will no doubt encourage their love of travel and language.
We thank Gladstone Regional Council for supporting our exchange and look forward to continuing such a worthwhile endeavour.