Today was somewhat of a sad day, our last full day in Kyoto. We planned to take the train to Kyoto Station, tour the Kyoto Tower, let the students shop around the station area, and then come back for our farewell party at the school.
One student had been looking for the whole trip for a Transformer toy that was only available in Japan. He had come up empty everywhere he had looked. This last day he went straight to Bic Camera, a huge electronics and toy store. Here he is showing the clerks a picture of the toy he was looking for. For a brief moment he thought he had finally found it, but they came out of the store room empty handed.
From here it was over to the Tower. All of the students had tickets to go up to the top of the tower.
Here one of the students poses for a picture as the baby tour mascot. Others take a group shot and take in the view.
When we got back to the school they were just finishing up setting up the Café for our farewell party. Many students were awaiting our return.
The festivities got underway right on time. A Kyoto student opened the speeches and expressed their joy in our visit and sadness at our having to leave.
There were a lot of people in attendance to see us off. All of our students were in chairs along the windows watching as the various speeches were given.
And one of our students expressed our thanks for such a wonderful visit to Kyoto, and all the new friends they had all made while visiting on this exchange.
The chaperone’s were all given dyed cloth depictions of famous Kyoto festivals. I have mine hanging on the wall in my office.
After all the speeches were completed we moved out into the courtyard to hear the band play.
Some of the Kyoto students put on performances for the group, doing some dance routines and singing.
Meanwhile a few of the teachers who had gone out with us the night before (chaperones) took a picture in the hallway before heading off to class.
Many of the students were wearing or carrying gifts that they had exchanged by the end of the party.
We all grouped up out on the steps of the Café for a group shot of everyone together.
Later that night the chaperones attended a dinner party put together by the principal to say goodbye.
The baseball coach gave us each a baseball with the Kyogaku logo on it. I had a pen in my pocket, so I passed it around to all the teachers and principal and asked them all to sign it. I proudly display this on my desk at home. People ask if it’s a collectible ball from a Japanese ballgame. I tell them that it’s not, but that it’s irreplaceable and holds a great deal of value for me as a memory of my trip to Kyoto that year.
And a nice close to the story of this last day is the student who was in search of the exclusive Japanese Transformer toy. He first asked Mr. Lee when he was visiting with his students back in March to Modesto. This student got to know Mr. Lee over the three weeks he was there. They shared a passion in collecting toys. Mr. Lee knew that this student really wanted to find this exclusive Transformer toy on his trip. Unknown to the student, Mr. Lee had secured one the day before the farewell party. To say that this made the entire trip for this student would be the understatement of the year.
And this was also a demonstration of the bonds that are formed with this exchange, the friendships, and the kindness shown by both groups of teachers and students with each other.