Thursday, May 19, 2005

The School Trip

Yesterday was the post-exam school trip at Nyu High School - in other
words, a free holiday for everyone, yay! Because I'm not affiliated
with any particlar class or year, last week I was given the choice of
either going with the first years, the second years or the third
years. I ended up plumping for the second years, mostly because one of
the second year teachers said her class had asked me to come along. I
was told we were going somewhere called "SST Land" (or "SST Rando" in
Japanese katakana English) - I had no idea what or where this was, but
apparently we would be having a barbecue there.

Then on Tuesday afternoon I was told that we'd be leaving school at
8.35am, and that I should dress casually. All well and good.

Wednesday morning arrived, but when I turned up to school I was a bit
confused. Where were all the coaches? How could there be a school trip
without any coaches? Then I bumped into one of the English teachers in
the corridor, and he asked me where I was going today. I told him I
was going with the second years to somewhere called "SST Land".

"Wow, you picked the furthest one!", he replied, "That's a two hour
walk! You must be fit!"

Hold on a minute - walking? No-one mentioned anything about walking,
and certainly nothing about a two hour walk... I'd been tricked! I was
told this day was going to be fun!

Still, there was no way out of it now, so I dutifully joined the queue
of second years who were loudly and cheerfully shuffling out of the
school. Almost immediately I started enjoying myself - there's some
really funny kids in the second year, and they were really excited
about talking to me outside of the classroom, so the time passed
pretty quickly.

And then it rained.

For the whole day.

Talk about putting a dampener on things - what was supposed to be a
fun day out for the kids and teachers turned out to be an endurance
test of mental and physical stamina. By the time we arrived at SST
Land (which turned out to be a campsite in the woods - not an
adventure theme park as I was hoping), everyone was soaked through to
the skin. A few lucky people had umbrellas, but most of the students
were just wearing tracksuits, and they looked absolutely freezing.

The barbecue helped warm things up a little bit (luckily the barbecues
were under shelter), but by the time it came to walk back it was still
pissing it down. At this point I thought that maybe someone would have
called a bus company to get some coaches to take everyone home - but
apparently not. With a grim air of determination, everyone stepped
back into the sheets of rain for the two hour walk home...

All in all, not a particularly fun trip I'm sure you'll agree.
However, it was saved from utter awfulness by three things:

1) The kids were still happy and genki despite being dripping wet and
cold, and it's difficult not to smile when you see their enthusiasm.

2) Even in the rain, the countryside round here is still quite pretty
(at least compared to the towns).

3) The rain reminded me of England.

And let's face it, you can't have a barbecue without rain...

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