Trip to Far East marks 30 years of school friendship

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Thirty years of links with the Far East were celebrated as Rossett students took part in a trip to Japan.

The Harrogate school has worked in partnership with Ishigami Junior High for three decades and groups of students have been visiting each other every year throughout that time.

On the 30th anniversary, young Rossett pupils travelled nearly 6,000 miles to sample Japanese art and cookery lessons, as well as a whole school assembly which allowed them to introduce themselves in Japanese to their hosts.

Their three days in Minamisoma, in the Fukushima province, also featured a formal meeting with the mayor, a trip to the Sendai Aquarium, and a chance to try on traditional samurai dress.

Teacher Mark Bulmer, who led the trip alongside Emma Horsfall, pastoral leader for Year 10, said: “We had a great few days visiting our exchange partners and learnt more about Japanese culture with them.

“We then travelled to Kyoto, to see the traditional side of the country, and then Tokyo, one of the most modern cities in the world. Even travelling was a fun experience – we used everything from local buses to bullet trains.”

Among the highlights of the trip were the shrines and temples of Kyoto, and the Peace Memorial museum in Hiroshima, which was a poignant reminder of the area’s tragic history.

Student Jack Dyson, 13, said: “Visiting Japan was a brilliant experience and I’m really glad I took part in the exchange.

“We learned a lot about the culture and traditions of our exchange partners while we were there. It was also really exciting to visit Tokyo and see the shops and enjoy the food around the city.”

En route home, the group was delayed by Storm Doris, which led to their final flight from Amsterdam to Manchester being cancelled. They managed to find space on a flight to Aberdeen the following day, followed by a coach trip back to Harrogate.

“It was a somewhat disrupted journey home, including a night spent at Schipol Airport as we awaited our flight back to Aberdeen,” said Mr Bulmer. “However, the students behaved brilliantly and showed great resilience in dealing with the changing plans.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better response, and thankfully we all made it home with smiles on our faces despite the delay.”