On Sunday 23 September 2018 the Frankston High School clarinet choir, led by Mr. Peter Sharp and Mrs. Sally Bredin, arrived at Narita airport and travelled to Ueno and Tokyo. We stayed there for four days experiencing the joys of Japanese culture and experiences such as their markets, Harajuku, Tokyo Disneyland, and the Studio Ghibli Museum.
|Studio Ghibli Museum located in Inokashira Park in Mitaka, Tokyo
On the 28th we joined the Frankston delegation at Tokyo Station and headed off on the bullet train (shinkansen) to our sister city Susono. The delegation arrived at the Citizens Cultural Centre in Susono for a formal gathering where we were introduced to the Susono committee and our lovely host families. We all parted ways with one another and were treated to delicious culturally significant Japanese food and got to experience what it’s like to live with a Japanese host family.
|Mount Fuji World Heritage Centre in Fujinomiya
The following morning, we met at the Susono Civic Centre with all members of the delegation and took a tour bus to see the sights of Susono and local area. We visited the Mount Fuji World Heritage Centre to learn of its history and importance and got to see the famous Mt. Fuji itself in the distance, but sadly we could not climb it this time.
|The iconic Mount Fuji skirted by clouds
The next stop was a traditional Japanese temple (Fujisan Hongu Sengen Taisha) with a rich cultural significance where we got to pray, learn of the temple's history and significance, and be able to see a woman wearing traditional Japanese clothes connected to the history of the temple.
|Fujisan Hongu Sengen Taisha
Sake is an important part of Japanese culture, so it was no surprise when we stopped off at a brewery for the next part of our tour. We were instructed on its history and the method to make sake and store it correctly. At the end of this session we got to witness all the tasting and buying of sake that the adults partook in!
By this point in time we were all ready for some lunch, so luckily our next stop was off to an okonomiyaki restaurant where we got to mix our own okonomiyaki and fry them up on the special hotplate which was imbedded into the table to fry up our lunch.
|Okonomiyaki restaurant with imbedded hotplates
The last stop on the tour was the Japan Garden Railway, where small mechanical trains are maintained and used for the enjoyment of the public. The garden is generally closed on this day but was especially opened for our group and we got to ride on the trains and a SEGWAY! We all parted ways with smiles on our faces at the end of a wonderfully eventful day.
|Group photo at the Japan Garden Railway
At the beginning of the Saturday we got to spend time with our host families and have fun with them in the morning before we went off to the Cultural Centre to prepare for the Australian Fair the next day.
|Go Mrs. Bredin!
The day of the Australian Fair had finally arrived, we were all ready and prepped for an upbeat day and an equally great performance. We arrived early to practice a few times and get ready. It was exciting when the people started arriving and looking around the various stalls the association had set up, showcasing different aspects of Australia’s culture. First, a Japanese primary school brass band did an amazing performance. We were intimidated by how good they all were. We performed three times throughout the day, along with the occasional game of cards during an intermission.
|Frankston High's clarinet choir performing at the Australian Fair
It was a fantastic day. After it had finished and we cleaned up, we were spoiled with a fabulous Japanese after-party where we listened to taiko drumming, other performances, and many stalls with different Japanese cuisines. And to top it all off at the end of the day we got to experience a Japanese typhoon. It was very tiring, but all worth it, even the typhoon!!!
|One of three performances given throughout the day
The day for us to depart from Susono and our host families finally arrived, and they were all sad but hopeful goodbyes to one another as we headed back to Tokyo. We separated from the FSFA delegation and spent our last day in Tokyo reminiscing on the times we spent together in this amazing country and relishing the fact that we were returning to Australia that night.
|A study in precision and concentration
It was a superb experience and trip that we all got to spend together, memories and lasting friendships were made and there is no way we will ever forget this for a long time! We would like to thank the Frankston Susono Friendship Association for letting us come and perform in Japan for them and hope that they will continue to ask Frankston High School to perform with them on future trips and festivals.
|Frankston High School Clarinet Choir September 2018