Tonight might be a first for our local newspaper. They were at our Skype chat session tonight with students from Modesto and Kyoto. The reporter from the Modesto Bee was able to interview one of the teachers in Japan via Skype on the conditions there after the earthquake. I will post a link to the article in tomorrow’s paper about tonight.
Many parents showed up for the meeting with questions and concerns about the trip. We agreed to evaluate the situation a week from this Friday and make a final decision about the fate of the trip. By then things will have improved or gotten worse. The plan is if we do have to postpone, we want to have a new date set for the trip next Fall so we can all move our tickets. Right now United is only allowing passengers with flights before March 21st to reschedule without the $250 fee. If things we get worse, we hope that date will move out past our departure date.
Overall, the meeting went very well. Everyone is on edge and we all realize that we may have to postpone this trip if things get any worse. Our primary concern is the safety of our students. We do not want to do anything that would put them at risk. Our second concern is that we are not a burden on the host families. If food shortages, gas rationing, and electrical brown outs spread to the rest of Japan, we do not want to make the situation worse by being in Kyoto living with host families.
We will simply have to be patient and wait to see where this situation is heading.
The students in Kyoto were really talking tonight. They are no longer shy, as they were in the beginning. Tonight’s chat likely gave them something to take their minds off of the current situation in Japan. They are also out of school, done with finals, and on their break between school years. It was also good for our students to hear from their peers in Kyoto that life is normal where they are, that the effects of the quake and tsunami have not affected their city or their daily lives. One of the teachers in Kyoto commented to me on Skype about how good a mood and how talkative his students were tonight.
I can’t wait for the day that this group finally gets to meet face to face.