Japanese culture influences many areas of contemporary Australian society, including the arts, design, technology, fashion, popular culture and cuisine.
A key aspect of learning Japanese is how the cultural aspect shapes the language. It requires the students to develop and participate in new experiences developing a greater understanding of themselves and the world.
Golden Grove Lutheran Primary’s additional language is Japanese and as part of our program, we offer interested students and parents from the upper year levels a school guided trip to Japan. This gives them the opportunity to put into practice their developing language skills and experience the Japanese life and culture.
During the Term 3 holidays, Golden Grove Lutheran Primary School embarked on their 4th bi-annual trip to Japan. The group consisted of 2 teachers, 6 parents and 8 students.
We flew into Narita Airport, Tokyo and while in Tokyo we visited Tokyo Disneyland, Tokyo Skytree, the famous Shibuya crossing, Asakusa and Harajuku districts. The students were amazed at the busyness of train stations and public places in general.
Our next stop was Kyoto where we were fortunate to meet Keita (a previous Japanese language assistant) who guided us while we visited Kinkakuji (The Golden Pavilion). In the evening, we saw a cultural show in Gion, which consisted of a traditional tea ceremony, bunraku (traditional puppet theatre), ikebana (Japanese flower arrangement), traditional harp playing, drama and a dance. We visited Arashiyama where some students participated in dancing during Japanese harvest celebrations. This was followed by a visit to Iwatayama Monkey Park.
Next, we caught the shinkansen (bullet train) to Hiroshima where we visited a local church, Hiroshima Nishi Kirisuto Shukai (Hiroshima Christ Assembly). This was a highlight for many students as there were musical performances, a delicious lunch of okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake) and Japanese conversations. The following day was a visit to Eisugakkan Elementary School in Fukuyama for an equally rewarding day. The students participated in a calligraphy lesson and an Inquiry lesson about Typhoons. The GGLPS students taught the Japanese students how to play football and donated footballs to the school for them to play with during their break times. The school is beginning their International Baccalaureate journey so the conversations about units of work and inquiry learning were really exciting for the students and the teachers. We finished in Osaka and visited the Aquarium and Universal Studios before making the long haul back to Australia.
The trip was a huge success and many new global connections were established between GGLPS and the Japanese church and school. The relationships will continue to be developed as the students from GGLPS interact via digital technologies with the students from Eisugakkan.
A few reflections from students-
‘I learnt that the people in Japan are very nice and honest.’
‘I will never forget Disneyland.’
‘My favourite day was the church visit because we ate okonomiyaki and did calligraphy.’
‘The highlight for me was everything, especially the food.’
Golden Grove Lutheran Primary School