Japan Trip By Ava Kemper

This 2015 summer Japan trip was an incredible experience! We visited many amazing cities including Tokyo, Kyoto. Kizugawa and Osaka. Throughout the trip we stayed in a variation of places from hotels, to a youth training center and even a homestay. We got to try all kinds of Japanese food from hotel buffets, nice restaurants. vendors. and the soft served ice cream that was found everywhere. We took the subways, trains. the bullet train and buses every day for sightseeing. Our trip was filled with museums, aquariums, gardens, temples, shrines, parks, boat rides, and much more that we will never forget. 

During our stay in Kizugawa we had to play the important role of ambassador. We had the opportunity and responsibility to represent our school and our country. It was really fun and exciting to learn about Japanese culture and interact with other ambassadors, the mayor, students and many other people. I think we had a great group and left a great impression on our hosts. I hope we succeeded as ambassadors and continued to further strengthen the relationships between Future travelers should know that there's a lot of preparation involved with planning this trip. It’s a good idea to do some research beforehand, but lots of that is done in the group meetings held prior to the trip. It's also really important to be respectful, in any new culture. but especially Japan. For me this trip was exciting, adventurous, amazing, and an experience that I'll never forget. I highly recommend applying if you have the chance, and if not. someday visiting Japan on your own.

The Japan Cultural Exchange Program has been generously supported by the City of Santa Monica, the Santa Monica Science Magnet, and John Adams Middle School. Scholarships are available for those who apply.