A Whole New World

The+members+of+the+Japanese+Culture+Club+-+%28Back+row%29+Aaron+Flores%2C+Cristian+Cruz%2C+Alexander+Gonzales%2C+Brisa+Botello+%28Front+row%29+Luisa+Sanchez%2C+Nathalie+Anguiano%2C+Arien+Valencia%2C+and+Ulyssa+Robledo+arrived+at+a+Japan+in+an+extremely+opportune+time+as+they+got+to+enjoy+the+scenery+of++the+cherry+blossom+trees+provided+in+Osaka.+%E2%80%9CThe+abundance+of+Cherry+blossom+trees+created+a+tunnel%2C+and+when+the+wind+would+come+by+the+petals+fell+creating+a+visual+representation+of+snow%2C+it+was+so+gorgeous+and+majestic%E2%80%9D%2C+described+Nathalie+Anguiano.+%0A%0A
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A Whole New World

The members of the Japanese Culture Club - (Back row) Aaron Flores, Cristian Cruz, Alexander Gonzales, Brisa Botello (Front row) Luisa Sanchez, Nathalie Anguiano, Arien Valencia, and Ulyssa Robledo arrived at a Japan in an extremely opportune time as they got to enjoy the scenery of  the cherry blossom trees provided in Osaka. “The abundance of Cherry blossom trees created a tunnel, and when the wind would come by the petals fell creating a visual representation of snow, it was so gorgeous and majestic”, described Nathalie Anguiano.

The members of the Japanese Culture Club - (Back row) Aaron Flores, Cristian Cruz, Alexander Gonzales, Brisa Botello (Front row) Luisa Sanchez, Nathalie Anguiano, Arien Valencia, and Ulyssa Robledo arrived at a Japan in an extremely opportune time as they got to enjoy the scenery of the cherry blossom trees provided in Osaka. “The abundance of Cherry blossom trees created a tunnel, and when the wind would come by the petals fell creating a visual representation of snow, it was so gorgeous and majestic”, described Nathalie Anguiano.

The members of the Japanese Culture Club - (Back row) Aaron Flores, Cristian Cruz, Alexander Gonzales, Brisa Botello (Front row) Luisa Sanchez, Nathalie Anguiano, Arien Valencia, and Ulyssa Robledo arrived at a Japan in an extremely opportune time as they got to enjoy the scenery of the cherry blossom trees provided in Osaka. “The abundance of Cherry blossom trees created a tunnel, and when the wind would come by the petals fell creating a visual representation of snow, it was so gorgeous and majestic”, described Nathalie Anguiano.

The members of the Japanese Culture Club - (Back row) Aaron Flores, Cristian Cruz, Alexander Gonzales, Brisa Botello (Front row) Luisa Sanchez, Nathalie Anguiano, Arien Valencia, and Ulyssa Robledo arrived at a Japan in an extremely opportune time as they got to enjoy the scenery of the cherry blossom trees provided in Osaka. “The abundance of Cherry blossom trees created a tunnel, and when the wind would come by the petals fell creating a visual representation of snow, it was so gorgeous and majestic”, described Nathalie Anguiano.

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Opening up to something new may be scary, but that did not stop some of the members from the Japanese Culture Club from travelling over 6,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean to experience the wonders of Osaka, Kyoto, and Nara. The trip, coordinated by Sensei Nishimura, drew 8 students; Nathalie Anguiano, Brisa Botello, Cristian Cruz, Aaron Flores, Alexander Gonzales, Ulyssa Robledo, Luisa Sanchez, and Arien Valencia. “I was interested in this opportunity because it is a way to see a different culture and practice my Japanese”, explained junior Nathalie Anguiano.  

With a great opportunity such as this one came some dedication. The trip, which is done biannually, required the students to raise an estimate of $ 2,800. The fundraising process was done all throughout the year with a variety of different methods including shirt sales as well as selling food during the club booth days. The money that was raised by the students was used to cover the cost of the hotel, the food, and transportation. Apart from the involvement in the fundraisers, Sensei Nishimura does not have any significant requirements, other than a strong recommendation is to take part in the Japanese courses as portrayed by all the eight students that went on the trip.  

The students departed on Friday, April 7th, taking a twelve hour flight to Japan. Arriving in a whole new environment, they immediately felt the difference. “At Alisal we don’t get to experience the new cultures, but the arrival at Japan was quite a culture shock, they [Japanese] were very nice”, commented junior Brisa Botello. The first destination was Osaka,where there was much to see and learn. Osaka is a large port city and commercial center on the Japanese island of Honshu. It’s known for its modern architecture, nightlife and hearty street food. The city was technologically developed as senior Cristian Cruz described, “There was a lot of giant screens, the billboards were all digital.” Another interesting attraction that Cruz found at Osaka was the Pokemon Center, “I got to relive my entire childhood. It’s fascinating to see the origins of one of the best games.”   

After that interesting metropolitan experience, the setting transitioned to one of more tranquility. Kyoto, once the capital of Japan, is famous for its numerous classical Buddhist temples, as well as gardens, imperial palaces, Shinto shrines and traditional wooden houses. One of the main attractions at Kyoto was the Torii Gates, located in the Fushimi-Inari-Taisya Shrine. These gates date back to 711 A.D. In addition to age, these grounds are said to hold over 10,000 Torii gates.”The gates were so gorgeous, so beautiful; they glowed with peace”, said Botello.

The final destination was Nara. Nara is the capital of Japan’s Nara Prefecture, in south-central Honshu. The city has significant temples and artwork dating to the 8th century. The students really seemed to enjoy this city as it offered them a sensation of serenity as they witnessed deers roaming through the city. “I really liked Nara, it was a nice experience to be allowed to pet the deer” expressed Junior Arien Valencia. Sika deer are historically believed to be spiritual beings that commune with the gods who live in and around the Nara shrines, and they are deemed untouchable.

After a week of a mesmerizing experience, the students traveled back on April 14. “The experience opened my eyes to a new world, a great experience I hope to relive in the future”, said Cristian Cruz.  Visiting Japan was definitely a life changing experience as Sensei Nishimura explained, “They [the students] have realized that there is more to the world than our little city of Salinas. I have noticed the students have become more mature.” Senior Cristian Cruz agreed, “This trip opened my eyes to a new culture, a new understanding of of the world. It made me grow not only as a student, but as a person.”

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