Memories of Japan
By: Kaela Williams
54 minutes until take off and 15 hours to make it to Japan was my first experience on an airplane and it wasnít all that bad. The ride was smooth but with some turbulence. Looking out the window (as I had a window seat) the view was spectacular. I was glad to have the chance to see land from a different view. Arriving at the airport in Narita Japan, I wasnít too surprised to find that transportation was much the same as in Canada. Speed limits and respect for the road and other drivers still applied.
We then took a bus to the hotel which was an hour or so drive. As darkness filled the sky, we were treated to Tokyo at night and it was gorgeous. Later that evening we were in awe as we enjoyed the second largest firework display in all of Japan.
Enroute in Tokyo, I had noticed that they drive on the opposite side of the road with the driving wheel on the other side which was a new experience for me and had me a bit paranoid at first. Their highways are the same but have more curves due to the landscape of Japan. Though the plane ride was interesting I was thoroughly pleased to be on a comfortable bus that had more space and comfier seats.
While on the bus, some BYA members slept from lack of sleep on the plane. Others who couldnít sleep took; notice of the surrounding agricultural lands as none of us had been to Japan before. One thing that was obvious when traveling through the city of Tokyo, and in Murayama as well, was that the Japanese were fans of traveling by bicycle and by foot. We rarely see bikes being used in Canada, but they are very common in Japan. Even with the hot temperatures we experienced while in Japan, there were always individuals who would bike and walk.
Walking to some of the sight seeing attractions, it was a welcomed way to get around and exercise my legs rather than being cramped up in a bus for so long. On one of the first nights in Tokyo we were taken by a taxi to dinner. Though taxis are mostly the same in Japan as in Canada, the doors opened and closed for us. This was quite fun for me to watch.
Our seven hour trip from Tokyo to Murayama was on an air conditioned bus. We were tired from the excitement of being somewhere new and took advantage of the comfy bus to sleep. Dropping our luggage of at the hotel, we were glad to not have to carry our stuff around anymore once again.
The next day we met our host families and were taken to their houses. My family had a small car, which was good for small people. It was a cute car, but surprisingly had a lot of trunk space. Each morning our host family would drive us to the city hall in Murayama and we would then take a bus to destination for that day.
After two weeks of buses and cars, it was time to return to Tokyo to catch our plane ride home. Following a tearful goodbye to our new family and new friends, we were on our way back to Tokyo.
Some of us plugged in to our music for most of the time while others just slept. Arriving at the airport we said goodbye to the two Japanese students who had come with us to help with translating.
Boarding the plane we settled in as best we could for the long trip back.
Like the trip to Japan, I couldnít get much sleep. With my personal controls for the sound where I sat not working the flight back was rather boring besides the occasional card game.
Over all, this trip was amazing and I was glad to get the chance to see different parts of Japan and meet new people. I canít wait to go back in the future.
By: Kaela Williams