It’s been a long that I shared something on the blog, mostly after COVID I preferred to engage more often offline. We realize a blessing only when it’s taken from us. In this case, temporary yet a long pause.
To make the most of this blessing of meeting people and visiting places physically, we decided to make an international trip. Thanks to so many educational trip organizers available these days, we had options to visit Singapore, Thailand, the UK, and Japan; I didn’t explore further but I am sure there would be more. As the sequence goes, it was Singapore initially but we finalized with Japan.
Two reasons to finalize Japan:
1. History and cultural richness – I personally love Japanese history, it may not be as old and deep as Indian history but we can see a significant transformation in their outlook over the last 500 years. From Katana (swords) to Gatling guns, from aristocratic warlords (Kofun), Samurai, and Shoguns to becoming a constitutional monarchy, presently headed by the emperor Akihito. There is so much to explore and know about Japanese people. Yes, there is a difference between Samurai, Ronin, and Ninjas…they are not the same!
2. Team agreement – From Eva group of schools, we four principals, rather we prefer to call ourselves educators decided to go for Japan. Singapore was already visited, excluding me so I was honestly open to all the options. A stamp on the passport is always intriguing!
Day 1 – Mumbai to Tokyo
Yōkoso - Welcome to Japan!
We didn’t sit quite after reaching there, we went to the 634m Tokyo Skytree to have a birds-eye view of the capital city. The lift takes just 30 seconds to move 100 meters upwards and the view we get is something like this…
It was fun to video-call kids from 450m above the ground, no doubt the benefit of visiting one of the most technologically advanced nations. We found free wifi almost everywhere in Tokyo!
Day 2 – High School Visit, Meji Shrine and Shopping at Ginza
Early morning we started our day with the students of Kogakuin High School, it was fascinating to know how concepts in Science and Maths can be taught in the local/national language. As Indians of the 21st century, we perceive education only in English; maybe that’s also the need of the century. Should schools teach cooking as a skill, they had a tea-making room and above all, there is a 10 minutes timeslot before the dispersal for students to clean their classroom. Can we ask our students to clean the school? From language to discipline and a variety of subjects – The visit opened many topics like these for us to question and discuss!
To settle the questioning mind, we needed a serene atmosphere to absorb and negotiate with the emerging ideas – we went to Meji Shrine.
Day 3 – Meeting with Takaharu Tezuka
The meeting with Architect Takaharu Tezuka (the man always in Blue) was an intellectual high for me. How school buildings can help children learn better? He unfolded many ways and gave a very different approach to school infrastructure. The idea of a classroom without furniture, a circular (never-ending) path for students to know learning has no end. With his approach of inviting nature inside the classrooms, he made us realize that children are waterproof!
Later, we visited the Asakusa Kanon temple, Miraikan Museum, and the team lab.
Day 4 – Mt. Fuji Hakone Tour
A day off for educators – time to recite poems and sing songs as we take a two-hour journey from the hotel Metropolitan (200C) to Mt. Fuji (020C). The country’s tallest peak and also the fourth-highest volcano in the world.
After having ice-creams at Mt. Fuji, we went for the ropeway and Sightseeing Cruise.
Day 5 – The farewell day
Arigato gozaimashita (thanks) to Mr. Shakeel Ahmad, program coordinator from Mind Mingle. Like a headmaster, he guided the entire trip, and only on day 4 we got to know his singing talent 🙂
Thanks to all the delegates from India – Sandeep Sir, Pratima Ma’am, Vandana Ma’am, Abilash Sir, Ranjeet Sir, Thirumal Sir, Ravi Sir, Sumalini Ma’am, my room-mate Ramachandran Sir and team Eva.
Next time, I really feel we will have more warmth than this:
PS – Japan is an expensive country to shop but here we go!