Saturday, December 18, 2010
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Well, the day started by some last minute packing and weighing of luggage and then saying goodbye and last group pictures with Kanto as they headed home on the Shinkansen.
We then retrieved our bells and checked out of the hotel and headed to the airport. We said good bye to Mr. Shimazu and thanked him for all his work for us.
Our short flight to Tokyo was a bit late so we had to do a mad dash to get our connection. But we made the plane and now, it is time for our final thoughts about this trip.
Adam - So the last two weeks has been the most amazing experience I have had in my life. From the bell ringing to the crazy train rides and even the hundreds of pictures with the kanto kids it has been a blast. The last day was filled with final hellos and goodbyes to the many friends that we have made from all around the world. The final concerts between the Sakura and Fuji groups were amazing!! To see one group play the pieces that we have all practiced together was truly spectacular. Then to share in the spotlight by playing those pieces was such a rush I hardly had words for it. Than the final piece finished and just as fast as it started it was over.
Now the final day has come and we all packed frantically over night. I for one never packed a suitcase so tightly before and with all the gifts I had received I barely had room for my clothes. So we all than went down to the lobby to see Kanto off for one last time which was such a sad moment. We took some of the last pictures with them and than saw them get on their bus. This was very personal for me because I had made friends with each and everyone of them. Seeing them smile made the whole trip worth being hosted by them. Than it was our turn to make our trip home. So now we loaded everything up said goodbye to Japan and are headed home. This last entry by me might not even come close to summing it up but just to say a few words at the end it's worth it. I would like to say thank you to Emanuel for letting us ring with them and that it has been a life changing experience, I truly have loved every moment of the trip. I am going to miss everyone and thank you from the bottom of my heart for letting my family and I enjoy this last year of playing with you. I hope to see this group again in the future at other symposiums or even later in life because I don't think I could ever ring with any other group besides this one.
Sincerely Adam Giuliano-Fried, I am proud to ring with Emanuel and with Katonah I would do it all again just to see you guys thank you for everything.
Luke-well the trip has been a great one and I am sad that we had to leave but am also looking forward to going home. The plane ride is long and tough, especially for me. I would just like to say thank you all for you support and love.
Greg- this trip was the best one ever and I really wish that I could stay longer. I had so much fun touring japan, playing at the symposium, and hanging out with the Kanto kids. But in two years we get to do another symposium and I am really looking forward to it. Thanks to Eiko, Mrs. Laurence, Mr. Shimazu, and the chaperones for making this trip possible and fun.
Chaperones (Louise, Ed, Mickey, Rich) Comments We certainly got a Taste of Japan! We always knew how much work Eiko does for the bells but the additional time and effort she spent on every detail was impressive. And then there was Ken who planned all our sites, transportation,purchased the tickets, checked things out in advance so all would run smoothly for us. He was truly amazing, we were very thankful and no one should ever travel to Japan without him. We traveled by plane, bus, subway, train, ambulance, boat, street car, foot and the bullet train. Our Japanese hosts the Kanto group treated us like royalty. Then there were our children who were respectful, kind, timely, played hard and did not complain that much in spite of extremely hot weather and a very hectic schedule. You should all be very proud of them. I know we were for you all!
David- This trip has been quite an experience and one that I will never forget. I've toured Japan, played in symposiums, and also met some great people along the way. I'm kind of sad that the trip has come to an end because at has gone by so fast. But this great trip wouldn't have been possible without the support of everyone; thank you.
Jessie- Wow! This trip was beyond what words can describe. I had WAY too much fun.
Grace- This trip was completely unforgettable, I've made amazing friendships and have created memories that will definitely last me a very long time. It's easy to say that this trip will not be easy to forget.
Ashley I've never been out of the country before and I'm glad that the first time I did, I was on this trip. It was such a great experience. By the second day I was so anxious to be home and tell everyone what I've experienced. Everything was different and sometimes...we were scared, but we were scared together which was good. We each met all new friends, some of us ventured to try new things. I will not forget this trip and I'm sure we we still be talking about it for a long time.
Our last day at the symposium was packed with excitement. We spent the morning in the convention center making paper cranes. Everyone made a few so we were able to send over 2000 cranes to the peace park in Hiroshima. Most of our choir didn't know how to make them so several ladies taught us how to fold the paper. One woman even taught Kayla and I how to make origami flowers (which was way more difficult than it looked).
Our friends from Kanto presented us with yet another gift, cards and peace bracelets. The Kanto kids are truly some of the most genuinely kind and generous people I have ever met. We then headed to the event hall for the Sakura final concert. It was great to have the opportunity to watch a symposium concert from the audience instead of just hearing it while ringing. It was an impressive concert and it was more fun because we knew every song in such great detail.
After lunch we quickly changed into our uniforms and had a dress rehearsal. The concert was exciting and it was rewarding to play the pieces well after all those rehearsals. For those of us that are leaving for college it was a little sad but it made the concert all the more special. After the concert we got dressed up for the banquet and closing ceremony. The ceremony consisted of speeches from the leader of each country's handbell association. They thanked the Japanese people for their hospitality, reminisced about the memories that were made over the past few days, and expressed excitement for the next symposium in England. Our last night was filled with laughter and an enormous amount of pictures.
Today started out with an early breakfast and an 8:05 am rehearsal for our solo "Fantasy on Kings Weston" for the Echoes For Peace concert. After rehearsal we attended the morning service. The Japanese choir that played for the service was really good. As we sang the mass songs English, everyone else sang them in their native tongue. We also said the Lord's Prayer in the same manner. Following the mass, we had massed rehearsal. Today was the first day we started to nail the song as 1200 ringers together.
Before our third workshop, we had some free time. For the first workshop of the day I went to 'Canadian Cultures'. A representative of the Canadian guilds talked about how Canada doesn't exactly have it's own culture. When she finished talking she showed us how to play the musical spoons. The first people who moved to Canada from Europe couldn't bring pianos with them so they used the spoons to play music. She taught us several different rhythms and we played them to songs written by native Canadians. We also had another workshop after lunch. My class was about ringing Japanese folk tunes. Eiko, Mrs. Lawrence, Miname, Hiroshi, Mr. Shimazu and myself were all in the same class. We sightread and rang several songs and I was really good because I couldn't sightread until this year. Then we had another massed rehearsal and mastered the last two songs.We packed up the bells to be sent to the performance hall and finally went to our rooms to get ready to be the delegation from the United States of America in the International Echoes for Peace concert.
We were one of the six delegation choirs from around the world. The UK, Korea, Canada, Australia, Japan, and of course the United states were represented. There was also an Echoes for Peace choir which had only met for the first time at the symposium. There was also a speech by Shigeaki Hinohara, the president of the HRJ (Handbell Ringers Of Japan) who happens to be 99 years old and totally awesome. He talked about how Echoes for Peace was a good theme for the symposium because during the event, the 65th anniversary of the bombing in Hiroshima was commemorated that morning.
Jessie and Chelsea
We awoke at promptly 6:46 AM, 1 minute past the deadline for picking up our boxed breakfast for the Symposium's group excursion to Kyoto. Luke and I dragged ourselves from the room and oozed downstairs to pick up the "meal" of bread and fruit, along with what seemed to be a large contingent of the symposium, who had also mistakenly had faith in their "snoozing" discipline. So it was that the two of us boarded the bus with the rest of the choir, and many of us experienced the comfortable pillow that was the bus window for the hour long trip. We arrived at the Heian Jingu Shrine, a wide open area with gardens and places to roam, where we all once again experienced the renowned heat and humidity of Japan. We walked around for a while and enjoyed the fresh atmosphere of the gardens before returning to the more aggressive aroma of the exhaust-filled parking lot to board the bus once more. We rode for a short period of time to arrive at Rokuonji Temple, a Buddhist pavilion. This area was littered with good photography backgrounds, and we made our way through in a similar fashion as before.
When we returned to the hotel, we hurried to an outdoor plaza to take the elusive group photo. We stood in a circle around our friends from Kanto Gakuin, and after hearing "MOVE BACK!" and "LOOK UP, HE'S TAKING THE PICTURE!!" and many Japanese versions of the sort, we finally successfully documented our appearance at the event. (I'm happy to say my outrageous facial poses likely ruined several of the copies.)
We then returned to the normal schedule of the symposium, and attended a third solo concert, in which our friends, the Kanto Gakuin choir, played. Suffice it to say, they nailed it to an extent that I have not seen handbells nailed before. We made sure their ovation was long and loud, and they were also a favorite because they were the smallest handbell choir to play at the symposium, and were still able to perform as well as they did.
At the conclusion of the concert, we assembled once more in the event hall for a massed rehearsal. This one went along very smoothly, and before we knew it we were eating dinner. Food was food. We ended the night at one last solo concert, the last one of the symposium.
It was certainly a long and eventful day. I hope all you guys reading this back home are having a good time keeping up with us.
Eric and Luke
Saturday, August 7, 2010
Thursday, August 5, 2010
After a nice buffet breakfast and morning announcements, we had our first workshop session. Sandra and I went to our first class to learn a Japanese art form called bonseki, which involved stacking rocks and grained sand on a black platform using only a feather, a spoon, and a brush. We used the different sized grains of sand to create a picture of Mt. Fuji. After a great experience in the workshop, we headed for lunch on the twelfth floor where we met with friends and enjoyed beef curry with rice and salad. For the second workshop I (Sandra) went to Kiwis, Kangaroos and Koalas. We made little animals by sewing pieces of felt together. David went to Reading of US Publishers where he had the opportunity to try out different bells while playing a variety of new pieces. From there we joined all the choirs in the main event hall for a solo concert. About 15 choirs performed songs they had worked so diligently on in preparation for the symposium. Everyone did really well, it's always entertaining to watch the Puerto Rican choir play bells and dance simultaneously. After the concert we stayed in the main hall for a memorial service for David Davidson. Handbells was a large part of his life and he was instrumental in planning the first international symposium. We played four beautiful songs and were honored to be the choir to play for the service. We ended the day with a massed rehearsal which went really well. We got the hang of playing with so many other ringers so we all enjoyed working on the pieces. Rehearsal ended at 10:00 so we all headed straight for bed after a very busy day.
David and Sandra
Today we packed up our luggage to board a bus to Osaka. This final bus ride would finally take us to the symposium after a whole week of touring Japan. When we got there we unloaded our luggage and sent it off to our rooms even though we still don't know where they were. We had a boxed lunch then waited for about an hour before we got to set up our bells. We than realized that we were going to switch places with the Hong Kong youth choir to the A section. Before we could set up though, we went to the opening ceremony where we watched the procession of the 6 nations/regions that made up the main handbell association. We also met with the Kanto group that we had spent a few days in Hayama with. We heard the chairman of the association speak and other key members. After the hour long ceremony we had bell rehearsal. We met all of the conductors and got to play all of their pieces. After rehearsal we took a bus to the Exotic Flowers and Birds park. When we got there we saw owls and hanging from the ceiling were so many different kinds of flowers. For food there was sushi, curry, spaghetti, chicken, roast beef, pasta, salad, sandwiches, and watermelons. A while later into the dinner we all started going around and giving our gifts to people from other choirs. とても楽しかった．(it was a lot of fun).
Adam and Greg
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
We had breakfast at the hotel, some of us secretly watching the soccer players that had come to stay in the hotel the previous day. Then we left for the bullet train to take us to Kyoto. The train ride was about an hour long and most of slept, or was that just me? We got off the train at Kyoto and started to walk through the city towards Nijojo Castle. It was the hottest day yet so we stopped every so often in the shade or sometimes a store with air conditioning. We finally got to the castle and we started to our walk through.
In the castle we weren't allowed to wear our shoes or even take pictures but it was still absolutely beautiful. The floors squeaked literally all over the castle just in case an assassin tried to sneak in and kill the lords who used to live there. After the walk through some of us went to a rest area for some water and air conditioning, others went to the castle gardens to see the beautiful rock formations and small waterfalls. Somewhere around twelve we left the castle grounds to go the restaurant where we would eat lunch. The restaurant was a traditional Japanese style house, where we got to cook our own food that they gave us on plates. The waitress heated up hot plates for us to cook on, then they brought us beef, vegetables, tofu, and sauces to dip them all in. It was so weird to cook our own food at the table but it tasted so good, and afterward I don't think any of us have ever been that full before. After the beef and vegetables they brought us green tea ice cream and hot green tea.
Soon after eating we left to go to the train station. A few of us went back to the hotel, but most of us stayed to walk around the station for an hour or two. The rest of our last night in Himeji was mostly spent in my room and Kim's, with literally the entire choir, it got very hot in that room very quickly because of all the people.
Kimberly and Grace
Osaka Boat Tour and Sky Garden Observatory
After our morning toast and salad we headed to the Himeji train station for a trip to Osaka. We began our day trip with a boat tour through the city. The boat passed interesting architecture, parks, and bridges.
After our water tour we had a long walk to the floating garden observatory, when we went to the top of a 40 story building that overlooked the entire city of Osaka. Some watched in awe and excitement as we rode our way up clear escalators, while others closed their eyes from their fear of heights. However, when we got to the top, we saw miles and miles of skyscrapers and mountains. After the spectacular view we retreated to the train station during rush hour! We took an hour long train ride with all of Japan on the train, literally. When we got back to Himeji we split up, some going to the hotel and some going grocery shopping. Overall it was a very productive, tiring and enjoyable day.
Kayla and Ashley
Okayama Castle and the town of Kurashiki
After we enjoyed our gourmet salad and bread for breakfast, we headed out at 8:30 am to catch our first train of the day. We had a quick Bullet Train ride to Okayama, then grabbed some taxis and headed to Okayama Castle. We had one little incident where we had to call back a cab to get Stephanie's camera, and to no surprise, it was promptly handed back in one piece. To get to the 400+ year old castle, we mazed through giant rocks that made a huge rock wall. It was pretty cool to imagine how they managed to put together such an amazing piece of work. The castle was through an "unopened" gate and up on a hill. It looked like a traditional Japanese castle, but painted all black. It was very pretty. We were able to go inside of the castle and look around because it was a museum inside. There were many interesting artifacts to look at, but most of the descriptions were unfortunately in Japanese. We got a special treat from two of our bell ringers, Grace and Adam. These two were nominated to dress up in a Kimono, a traditional Japanese outfit, and we were able to get a real sense of what it is like to "feel" Japanese. After a few laughs, we headed back to the train station and went to Kurashiki.
We then went to an older town that was the Japanese equivalent to colonial Williamsburg in Virginia. The area was divided into two sides by a creek in the center, separating the various stores they had to offer. The afternoon was spent shopping but mainly ducking into areas that had air conditioning -- it was a very hot day!
It was an early night in for us as we returned home around 5pm, so that we could get some much-needed rest or do laundry, which for some couldn't have come too soon. Some of us went to a traditional Japanese style restaurant for dinner and it turned into a really fun night. It was insisted that a variety of foods were ordered so that we could all try new things, and it was a good thing we did! Ashley and David now have a taste for shishamo, or tiny fish that the rest of us bell ringers were reluctant to try. It was great meal followed by a quiet night back in our hotel rooms -- that is it was quiet when we were told to go back to our own rooms!
Chelsea and Stephanie
Today we woke up at the Via Inn and had a quick simple scarce breakfast, but still good. Then we met in the lobby, went to the train station and took an hour long bullet train to Hiroshima, man was it fast!! When we got there we went to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial park. The park was very tranquil and profound. It was very meaningful to all of us.
Upon arriving at the park, our first encounter with the devastation of Hiroshima was the once strong city hall, that was considered the epicenter of the city. Rubble cluttered the ground and surrounding area; remnants of what once was the heart of a town strewn along as if they were nothing more then pebbles. Due to the weakness of the parts still standing, the building is relying on large steel poles for support because without them even what had survived the blast would topple over. The basic skeleton of the building's dome still stands as the peak of the barely-there remains and it seemed almost ironic that though it was just the metal framework of the dome, its tallest feature survived the attack. This was a solemn "welcome mat" of sorts that was a foretaste of what was to come.
From there we worked our way down through the Peace park. The peace cranes, and the peace bell. The Peace park is built on an island that used to be part of the city before the buildings were destroyed by the bomb. On the island we saw a hill that covered a tomb for the remains of unidentified victims of the tragedy. There were also several other memorials. Around the island were what I thought were the remains of paved streets, because there were curbs still in the ground. At the end of the island there was the peace bell. All of us rang it. Inscribed in the bell was a map of the world. Where the hammer hit the bell there was the atom symbol. We also saw the flame that won't be extinguished until all atomic weapons are destroyed. Around the flame there were trees that were at the perimeter of the bomb's extent which were transplanted. The back of these trees were still burned from 65 years years ago.
After walking through the museum and listening to the audio program provided for us, we went down to the cafe and got lunch. Every one had something different, some had pancakes, some had spaghetti and others had rice. No matter what it was all good. Then we left and went on another train and onto a ferry to the Utsukushima shrine at Miyajima Island. At this shrine there were deer everywhere and they were not afraid to get close to us and let us pet them. We got to walk all around the shrine and go up close to the big gate because it was low tide. Then we took the train back and got dinner at the train station before returning to our hotel.
Friday, July 30, 2010
Well I'll start off by saying that I will never get used to those pillows that have those round bead things in them. Everyone got up early, again, and we had a good breakfast at the hotel. We all said goodbye to Mr. and Mrs. Takasu and headed on our way to the bullet train. The bullet train is very fast and my ears are actually popping every now and then but it's definitely worth it. Jessie agrees. But the bullet train is a good way to see the Japanese countryside.
After our first ride on the bullet train we went to the Hamamatsu Museum of Musical Instruments ( my ears are popping right now, we're on the train again). It was really cool and interesting. There were instruments from all over the world in one place.
One exhibit was the Keyboard Instruments Room. There were a bunch of organs, pianos, harpsichords and clavichords from the 1700's ( maybe earlier) to the 1900's. A woman who works at the museum played one if the harpsichords and explained how it worked. They also had an exact replica of one of the first pianos ever made.
Another room in the museum was the hands on room. They had some of the instruments from around the museum that we could actually play. I tried African drums and a Pan flute. They even had handbells! They weren't the ones we are used to. They were like the ones school teachers have with little springs with a piece of plastic at the end.
There were hundreds of instruments and many of them were some of the weirdest ones I have ever seen but they were also pretty cool. After the museum we went back to the train station and ate lunch. I love the food here, all the different kinds make every meal a good one. We then took the train to Himeji and got to take a brief rest at the hotel. It's a nice hotel and thankfully the pillows have a soft side instead of just beads. We took a walk down a long row of stores and had dinner at different places and even got to get a long distance look of the castle, which is being worked on right now so we won't be able to go inside or get a very good picture of it. After that we went back to the hotel and went to bed, which everyone was very grateful for.
Jessie and Luke
Sent from my iPad
Our last morning at the Seminar House started with a nice morning service filled with prayer, song, and expressions of gratitude toward our hosts. Grace taught Kanto the superman prayer and Luke selected the bible verse. Going with the theme of thanks we presented our hosts with gifts -- scented pillow, jams, and maple syrup (all made in New York) for the adults and American/Japanese flag pins for the kids. After breakfast we hit the road for Yokohama. We stopped at Yodobashi Camera, an eight story electronics store, for lunch. On the basement level there was a selection of different restaurants and stores that we had an hour or two to explore. After a few more train rides and a 10 minute walk we arrived at the hall where the friendship concert was. All the choirs were introduced to each other before rehearsal. Our Kanto friends helped us set up the tables. We had the opportunity to run through our solos and relax in our dressing room before the massed rehearsal. The ladies in charge provided us with box dinners which were delicious! They had fried rice, dumplings, chicken, and noodles to give us some energy before the big concert. At 5 we headed to the performance hall to practice the three songs all the choirs played together: Prayer, Night at the Opera, and In Joseph's Lovely Garden. It went pretty well and we worked hard on any spots the conductors wanted to fix. Eiko translated for us so we were always able to understand what was going on. After we were done, we quickly changed into our uniforms and headed to our seats for the concert. Our solos were eighth on the program so we watched all the other choirs perform. The techniques the other choirs used and the beauty of the music once again, in Eiko's words, put our jaws on the floor. We also recognized many of the songs because we have played them in the past. When the Emanuel ringers were introduced we went on stage hoping that we would play all our notes correctly in front of the large audience. Thankfully our two solos, Fantasy on King's Weston and Meditation on Beautiful Savior, went very well so we were all relieved and ready for the massed pieces. After the concert was over we exchanged thanks and flowers with the other choirs. We all felt honored to be a part of the long lasting friendship with the Japanese choirs. After a quick clean-up we walked to our hotel and went to bed at the end of a very long day.
Eric and Sandra
Thursday, July 29, 2010
This morning we had potatoes, ham, and onions for breakfast. After breakfast we had rehearsal for two hours for our concert tomorrow. During the rehearsal both of our groups played our solos for one another and when the Kanto ringers played their solo they were amazing. Then we had yogurt with fruit in it, soup, tofu, and chicken for lunch. After lunch we took six taxis to Zushi station. Have you ever driven on the left side of the road before? What an experience! Then we all picked up our JR passes for the train into Kamakura. Traveling on a train in Japan they have what they call priority seating. The priority seating is the area for people with canes, pregnant women, people with infants, and people with a handicap. We left the train and arrived at our destination, the 121 ton, 13.4 meter Buddha, Amida Nyori, the principle deity of Kotoku- in temple. At the first sight of it our jaws dropped. The Buddha was massively larger than us tiny humans, even Eric! Many of us took the opportunity to go inside the Buddha which was almost as amazing and large as the outside. After leaving the Buddha we gathered at the station only to walk further into Kamkura and arrive at THE GATE, a large red gate that signifies that you are entering into spiritual sacred ground. We walked along the very long strip of path surrounded by an abundance of trees. At the end was a bridge leading to a huge decorative red and gold temple. Its beauty and majesty was overwhelming. Some of us opted to visit the inside of the temple and some decided to shop, though after a little while it was time for everyone to walk the long narrow alley full of small shops. We all met at the train station and took the train home. We came home and had dinner, fried chicken, cucumber soup, scallops. We had a few minutes of off time to pack our bags for our fireworks beach trip. It was dark and windy which made it very hard to light the fire crackers but we made it happen. Some of us swam in the ocean, some of us danced around in circles with our Kanto group singing to Lady Gaga, and some of us had a blast literally, lighting the variety of fire crackers. IT WAS AWESOME! Then we had a slight incident with Adam where he scraped his hand but he's all better now. We came home, packed and caught some very needed zzz's.
Greg and Ashley
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Kimberly and David
(Hey this is too dark! we need brighter picture!)
Monday, July 26, 2010
So now we have a sheet cake(alot of time versus a sliver of time)worth of time...this morning we got up at 7 o clock. It was a rough morning but we got to spend some time at the beach. It was nice even though we didn't get to swim. Then we had morning service with the Kanto Gakuin choir group. The service was in Japanese and for the most part we couldn't understand a word but it was about the meaning of the symposium theme, Echoes For Peace. After the service we went to breakfast, and we had salad, French fries, sausage, eggs with cheese and ketchup, and really interesting apple juice with a straw. Then there was the toast. This toast according to Chelsea was the best toast she has ever had In her life...literally (no joke). We then had a short break for 15 minutes. We got settled and unpacked during that time.
So then we had a two hour practice for just our choir. The last half hour of the practice the Kanto Gakuin choir joined us to play. Then we went to lunch. We had rice and beef curry, salad and water melon (which Chelsea also liked way too much). After lunch we had introductions with all of the choirs and the alumni, which was insanely confusing. And right now we are writing the blog in the lobby of this place while Kim is trying to give us ideas but failing. So then we had more practice before playing UNO with the kids from the Kanto Gakuin group. During the UNO game we were each paired up with a person from the Kanto Gakuin group. Chelsea and Kim won right before we had to go to dinner. Chelsea's new favorite food was the odd apples we had. At dinner we had egg drop soup with corn, sticky rice, beef and special apples, large shrimp with zucchini, and then for desert we had an orange custard. Grace taught Jun and one of the other girls from the Kanto Gakuin choir how to play three bells in one hand. Then they taught all of us how to play "with our knees" or dancing while playing. Some people went to the beach really quickly before another solo practice. We practiced our solo piece before heading off to finish this blog in the lobby where Kim still fails to give us ideas.
Grace and Adam
Our three 8:45 a.m. sharp practices seemed to fly by with all the pieces we had to master, packing the bells with bubble wrap and the excitement inside us growing. After each practice, one could hear the improvement we were making, and we were sounding good (thanks to our wonderful directors). But there are, of course, those pieces that aren't too nice to us and we just smile and play.
Friday July 23
As everyone rolls up to the church at 5:45 a.m., the excitement continues to grow. All the bell cases and suitcases were lined up outside and we waited for the bus to pick us all up. We had a quick meeting, and soon enough, the bus arrived. We had a few (and by that I mean we felt like movie stars) pictures, a prayer by Pastor Paul and then said our goodbyes. We all piled into the massive bus and we were on our way.
Our excitement grew as we arrived at the airport and the trip that we had been distantly planning and practicing for became real. After getting our tickets and checking our luggage, we set out toward gate C121, excited to get on our flight and begin our journey. But almost as soon as we got on the plane we were ready to get off. But the 14 hours of movies, airline food, and whatever sleep we could get on flight C09 was a bonding experience for the group.
Arrival Day and Hayama Seminar House
Saturday, July 24
The plane arrived in Tokyo-Narita at 1:55 p.m. Walking through the airport we immediately noticed the not so subtle differences of Japanese bathrooms, architecture, and fashion. After we passed through customs we made our way to the tour bus, passing horizontally compact cars riding on the wrong side of the road. We had a two hour bus ride with our tour guide, Mr. Shimazu, before we reached the Hayama Seminar House. We were greeted by our hosts, the Kanto Gakuin Choir, who escorted us and our suitcases inside. Once inside the Seminar House we took off our shoes, exchanging them for the sandals inside locker cubbies. We had a quick group meeting, with introductions (from which we got cool japanese name tags), an explanation of tomorrow's plans, and most importantly our room keys. With the jet lag kicking in, we all hit the hay. The Kanto Gakuin Choir showed us to our rooms and taught us how to use our tatami mats, and we were all fast asleep.
Kayla and Stephanie
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Please keep up with us through this blog. The ringers will be taking turns writing and posting pictures from our daily travels. Thank you to all who made this possible for us to attend the 14th International Handbell Symposium in Osaka, Japan. The theme of this years symposium is Echoes for Peace. Thanks to all of you, the ringers will use this opportunity to share their gifts of music with ringers from around the world.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
The video was provided by our friend Rod Chu who has posted most of the concert pieces on Youtube. You can view them all by searching "Emanuel Ringers" within Youtube.
Sunday, June 6, 2010
Friday, May 7, 2010
Sunday, June 6,
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Ringers Ben, Caleb, Sonja, Akimoto, Andrew and Sarah
December had the ERIII's free ringing during the advent services.And the ERII's and ERIII's provided music for the Christmas Eve service.
On December 20th the Emanuel Ringers I hosted the Katonah Celebration Ringers for our annual benefit concert.Our beneficiary this year was the Invisible Children.A free will offering of $1486 was collected during the concert.A special thanks to Grace B. and Chelsea F. who did a great presentation about our beneficiary.
At the late service on Christmas Eve, we had several alumni join the ERI's play our traditional Stille Nacht and a new tradition of Sing We Now of Christmas to send everyone home.Thank you Sue R., Allan M., Charlotte B., John B., Adam B., Kristen Z. for coming and ringing.
Our letter appeal campaign is still receiving donations and as of January 18th we have received $7245 towards our trip to
We are doing a bake sale and selling soy base candles from Beacon Delites for Valentine's Day - Saturday, February 13 from 12— and Sunday at Cof- tea