Students swap Yorkshire for Japanese life

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Sushi-making, Samurais and lessons with robots are just some of the new cultural experiences enjoyed by a group of Harrogate students on an exchange visit to Japan.

Rossett School pupils travelled to Ishigami High School where they introduced themselves to their exchange partners in Japanese, before taking part in lessons.

They also perfected their calligraphy skills and sampled Japanese school dinners - with some students even being interviewed for Japanese TV.

Year 9 director of learning Mark Bulmer, who led the trip with religion, ethics and philosophy teacher Nicole Veitch, said: “As well as lessons in Japanese and a tour of the library that had on display some English classics gifted by Rossett over the years, students experienced local life in Harramachi.

“They also tried their hand at traditional Japanese handwriting, took part in ICT lessons with robots and performed a rendition of ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’ from Mary Poppins in a whole school assembly.”

The group also went strawberry picking and moshi tasting before bidding farewell to their exchange partners and leaving for Kyoto on the bullet train.

The students then visited the Golden Pavilion temple, took part in a traditional tea ceremony and visited the Fushimi Inari Shrine.

Other highlights included visits to Hiroshima and Miyajima Island. The pupils also observed the contrasts between the hi-tech vending machines and the simple agriculture of a region recovering from the dual tragedies of the 2011 tsunami and Fukushima nuclear accident.

Following a bullet train ride back to Tokyo, the students visited cultural buildings, dressed as Samurais and enjoyed traditional Japanese food before travelling home.

Mr Bulmer said: “It was an amazing visit which provided an unforgettable cultural learning experience for our students.”