All the group gathered at Kurashiki station for the final time, with host families and friends to say goodbye before leaving for Tokyo. There was a small ceremony of thanks and then personal farewells, and all agreed it had been a happy and succesful 5 night homestay and school experience.
On the way to Tokyo we used two shinkansen, one from Okayama to Shin-Osaka, then another from there to Shin-Yokohama. At Yokohama we were met by Mr and Mrs Hyuga, the Vice-Principal of Kanto Gakuin, and the close friend of the late Rika Hyuga, after whom the scholarship awarded to Cashmere HS student, Saskia Saunders, was named. Rika Hyuga was tragically killed in the CTV building collapse in the February 2011 earthquake while she was attending a language school. Rika was a graduate of Kanto Gauin school. In her memory, Mr and Mrs Hyuga established the scholarship so that young Christchurch people studying Japanese language can attend Kanto Gakuin school for one month to improve their language and experience Japanese life. Saskia was the second recipient of the scholarship, and made a lasting impression on those she met at the school for her Japanese ability, friendliness and maturity. Mr and Mrs Hyuga were so taken with Saskia, they wanted to develop a closer relationship with Cashmere by introducing this year's group to Kanto Gakuin for the afternoon.
Kanto Gakuin generously provided their school truck to take all our bags from Shin-Yokohama station to the youth hostel in central Tokyo for us, while we enjoyed the afternoon and evening with Mr and Mrs Hyuga, and Rika's friend, Sumica.
At the school Mrs Tappenden and Mr Smith met the principal and exchanged small gifts.
Below with Mrs Tappenden Mr Smith, are Mr Tomiyama, the principal and Mr and Mrs Hyuga.
The group were shown the tea ceremony, and the national champion Handbell club, who entertained us with and impressive medley of Christmas carols.
After that, the group performed their haka for some of the school's many clubs. The haka was the loudest of the three performances so far, and was warmly received by the audience.
The group was then split into three, and, with a pair of Kanto Gakuin students each, were taken to explore the famous Yokohama "China-town".
Then Mr and Mrs Hyuga kindly took us to their favourite Chinese restaurant for dinner.
Some of the group had a chance meeting with an apparently famous Japanese comedienne, outside the restaurant.
Mr and Mrs Hyuga, and Sumica, then escorted us for the hour train trip to the youth hostel in Idabashi, before returning to their homes.
It was an honour to meet such a selfless and generous couple as Mr and Mrs Hyuga, and we look forward to welcoming them both to Cashmere High School when they visit Christcurch again.