Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday July 19,20 and 21
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