Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Branden’s 10th grade class trip to British Hills in Fukushima, Japan...

This summer Branden had his class trip to a place called British Hills. This trip was only for the "English Course kids" not for the regular course (general studies kids) 10th graders or even the genius/smart course kids either.The English course kids are kids who prefer take their curriculum in English at our high school. Meaning gym is in English and all other normal regular classes are also in English versus being in Japanese. There are other hafu. There are kids who attended international elementary schools and international JHS too or returnees (kids who came back to Japan after living in an English speaking country). But these 'English course" kids are in this course because they are serious about English. And it just so happens to be best suited for my kids, because while my kids are 100% bilingual, they both have *strong* preferences for English over speaking Japanese. They can of course speak Japanese duh... but prefer English. It's their comfort language. Next Summer the English course kids, will be going to spend a week in California. Doing a couple nights in a home stay experience. Doing half their trip in a hotel. Visiting their sister school in California and also going to Universal Studios. I have seen the pictures from last year. It looks amazing. This year however it was a 3 day/ 2 night trip to British Hills. This school really wants to create an environment where the kids are surrounded in a little English speaking cocoon. Which is why Bran's teachers are either westerners/American or Canadian primarily. Or Japanese teachers who speak in English. So yes...they headed off to a 3 day English cocoon in British Hills. Look how gorgeous the place is. 
Going over some rules. Again it's all 100% completely in English. British Hills was made aware that one of the kids coming was a native speaker. Because throughout his entire trip. The staff/teachers, people at the buffet etc etc would ask, which one of you is the one who was born in America or which one of you is the native speaker. And Branden would raise his hand. Poor Bran for being called out like that. @_@ I wish our school would have not said. But on a positive note. Perhaps the school asked. "Anyone a native?" So not sure how the staff was made aware. But seems the whole of British Hills knew...that one of them was a fluent native speaker of English. Poor Branden. He just wanted to quietly enjoy his trip. Hahaha. 

The eating area was *very* cool. Very Harry Potter!!! Branden ate 3 square meals here a day. He said it was very cool eating here. : ) He also said, he loved the food. It was western food. So he loved it. Not sure about some of his classmates though. Hahaha. 

The buffet is on the left. And like it says on the tables  "welcome group 4" and "welcome group 2" All signs in English. 
Fried chicken (yum) spicy fries (double yum) Branden said these spicy fries were delicious! They had fish (fried and baked) everything even mini pizzas. Western people. Hafu kids would love coming here and food will be no problem at all. You will enjoy the food. 
Inside one of the libraries.

This picture made me smile because in my house growing up. One of our bathrooms had an old style tub with claw feet. The other bathroom we had growing up... had a regular American modern shower and tub. But yep, it made me remember seeing this tub. : ) 

Living room. One girl in Branden's class, said that the couch was taller in height and the coffee table was so tall too. Branden said he just stood quiet, but told me later at home, our couch at home and coffee table at home is this tall too. I said, I know. And our kitchen table at home is tall/standard sized height too. It was eye opening for my son to hear what his classmates thought. Or things they thought were unusual. Because for my son they were normal and not unusual. So yes a little eye opening for Bran. : )

Beautiful staircase.

Beautiful stained glass window and chandelier.

One of their teachers talking about the intricate carvings and fine details.

So beautiful.

Branden is so lucky to be able to go and spend 3 days here. And be in such a fun environment. And be around other people from around the world. 

His class went for a night stroll. Keep in mind most of Branden's classmates come from the super crowded packed cities. From bustling cities with tons of people. Branden comes from rural Japan. A quiet town of under 5,000 people. So even though Branden loved going for this stroll and taking in...just how gorgeous British Hills was. The city kids were even more surprised because it was quiet. No huge bustling cities with city noise. 

So quiet. Sun is going to be setting soon. 

So gorgeous. What a beautiful place for a walk.

It was so hard to find pics that didn't contain a classmate of Branden's or Branden. I did black out the color of her skirt and blacked out her bow and pinked out her face. His classmates identity is kept safe, lol. Anyway, there were a few British women waiting the next day for the kids to learn how to bake some scones homemade from scratch. Yes they also asked. Which one of you is the the native speaker. Seriously, poor Branden. Branden again raised his hand. And one of the lady's said which one of your parents is the American one. He said, "my mom"...they asked "have you ever baked with her?" He said, "oh yes, many many times since I was in kindergarten. They said, "perfect, get over here!" Hahaha. And so Branden and 2 British women and his class all baked away. And they chatted the morning away. Cracking jokes. And talking a mile a minute. Branden said the ladies were absolutely lovely! And they liked him a lot. And they just got on so well. And talked each other ears off. Branden and the entire staff got along so well. By the end of the morning everyone knew it was Branden. And the whole mood was fun and light. Sincerely, thank you... kind ladies for being absolutely amazing with my son!!! As a fellow western woman living in Japan. I appreciate it *very* much. 
Each of the kids came back to their rooms with their own hot fresh baked scones that they made!!! 
Sleeping quarters for the kids. Each set of 2 girls shared a room. So 2 girls per room. However there are only 3 boys in the English speaking course. So they lumped the 3 boys together and pulled out a bed in the middle. Branden slept in the bed far right. J slept in the middle bed. And S slept in the bed nearest the window. 

Branden brought home 3 scones. 


More souvenirs. All in all Branden had a total blast. So many of Bran's former JHS/elementary school classmates mom's run into me at the one and only grocery store in town and will ask me in Japanese, "how's Branden-kun liking his school?" Honestly he freaking loves it! I mean he *loves* it *so* much. That I have to tone it down, as to... not sound like I am showing off. But I mean. He's so happy every single day, going to his high school. An English speaking high school, was the best possible choice we have ever made. If...if we are still in Japan when Noah is at the high school age...he will most certainly be attending this same high school. It's super expensive to attend this high school. But it's so worth it for Branden. I have heard from the grapevine of a few from our town JHS of a few kids who are very sad with their high school choice. Branden's bestie since yochien days... hates his high school choice for example. And for that, I'm so sorry. So yeah when people ask me about "how does Branden like his school? I want to start twirling like Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music on the top of that mountain. Instead...I have to stop myself. Take it down a few notches. And say..."oh, umm, he likes it" And stop it right there. But between you and me. What a fun high school. They learn so much. Best high school ever. Anyway...Branden really enjoyed his time at British Hills.