Sunday, August 8
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.