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HVRHS students wore yukata robes for a traditional dinner on their recent trip to Japan over spring break. Photo by Danielle Melino

HVRHS travel club recalls 11-day spring trip to Japan

FALLS VILLAGE — Japan became a home away from home for those of us who ventured there during spring break with the Northwest Corner: Students Without Borders travel club from Housatonic Valley Regional High School.

Thirty-six students and five teachers went on the trip.The club raised travel funds through last fall’s Wine Dinner and Auction at the White Hart in Salisbury.

From Tokyo to Kyoto and Osaka to Hiroshima, we made certain to cover as much of the Land of the Rising Sun as our 11-day expedition would allow.

Upon our arrival in Japan, we were introduced to our tour guide, Atsushi, whose love and knowledge of the country were palpable. He ushered us through enormous crowds in Tokyo, pointing out popular hotspots that locals are fond of and familiarizing us with common Japanese phrases.

After attending a traditional Japanese-style dinner in yukata robes and slippers, we were able to properly unwind in Hakone on shikibutons, mattresses meant to be rolled out on the floor.

There was something magical about visiting Kyoto in the springtime. After arriving there by bullet train, we were awestruck by the dazzling cherry blossom trees coming into full bloom and marveled at the bamboo forest that made Japan feel like a whole other universe.

We took to the streets of Osaka to indulge in delicacies like fried octopus and squid leg kabobs, and then topped the night off, like many others, with a visit to the konbini for a late-night sweet treat.

After attending an emotional lecture on the atomic bomb, we walked through the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum filled with poignant reminders of Japan’s past filled with tragedy.

Although appearing untouched by time to the eye, every shrine and temple we visited held a marvelous amount of history. Throughout our time spent exploring Japan, students and chaperones alike made it their mission to soak up every bit of culture possible.

Ella Hewins is a senior at HVRHS who plans to study political science and journalism and hopes to return to Japan one day.

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