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Japan Trip - Fukuoka

Day 1 | 8 June 2015 | Singapore – Fukuoka 

Places Visited: 
Hakata Machiya Folk Museum
Kushida Shrine
Hakata Traditional Craft Centre
Tochoji Temple
Shokufuji Temple

We arrived at the Fukuoka Airport early in the morning. We took the subway with our luggage to our hotel, which was only two stops away from the airport. After depositing our luggage, we took the subway again to visit the Hakata Machiya Folk Museum and Hakata Traditional Craft Centre, where we were mersmerized by Fukuoka’s most famous traditional crafts including the Hakata dolls. 

After that, we went to the Kushida Shrine which was only a 3 minute walk away. It was interesting to learn about the Fukuoka culture and its history. As we were ahead of schedule, we also went to visit the nearby Shofukuji and Tochoji Temples. That night, we had our first Japanese dinner in a small ramen shop at the train station, to have a taste of a typical urban Japanese’s day.

- Gwen Chew, Secondary 2E1

Day 2 | 9 June 2015 | Fukuoka 

Places Visited: 
Fukuoka Asian Art Museum 

We visited the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum where we attended a workshop by an artist who goes by the name Funkografik, or Funko, for short. He specialises in photography as a medium. In the commercial world, he is highly sought after for his fashion and portrait photography. Concurrently, he also works as a conceptual photographer, who believes that he is able to raise environmental awareness through his photography. We were intrigued by the art pieces he showed us, and how easily relatable they were to us. 

In the first part of the photography workshop, he focussed on the theoretical aspects and taught us the basic functions of a camera, such as how to adjust the settings of a camera such that the surroundings could appear darker or lighter. We learnt how the lighting could affect how the picture would turn out and the importance of the settings of the camera in photography.

In the second part of the workshop, we were able to do hands-on using his full frame DSLR camera, which enabled us to have a clearer understanding of how the camera worked.

- Sarah Tan Enya, Secondary 3E2

Day 3 | 10 June 2015 | Fukuoka 

Places Visited: 
Fukuoka Futaba High School 

When we arrived Futaba High in the morning, we greeted the staff and the principal of Futaba High. We were pleasantly surprised by the many smiles and waves we received from our Japanese peers. Our first workshop was a traditional Japanese ink painting class where we learnt the basics of ink painting. It felt very similar to Chinese ink painting, but had some differences like the many types of brushes used to achieve different effects. After an hour and a half of painting, we separated into two groups and joined our respective English classes. The class was divided into two so that the students would be given more attention when doing oral communication. The English class was held in the computer lab and we completed verbal exercises with our randomly assigned partners using webcams and microphones with headphones attached. We found this very interesting and different from what we have in Singapore. The teacher also interacted with the students more, asking them questions through the system which they would then answer in English, then translate into Japanese to ensure they understood everything. 

- Ng Khuan Yee, Lucia Marie, Secondary 2E2

The afternoon at Fukuoka was well spent with many interesting and engaging activities. After a yummy lunch with the grade 11 students, we went for a tour of the school with the ever kind Ms Uchino. After the tour we went for the highly anticipated activity of the day, which was a taste of traditional painting with the extremely delicated and priced gold leaf. This was interesting and enjoyable as we learnt many techniques from the teacher, such as using gold leaf sheets, grinding gold leaf flakes and gold paint, and were allowed to experiment with them to create art pieces. It was definitely a very enjoyable day where we were able to make many new friends and learn a tremendous amount of things. It is truly a valuable takeaway which we will all remember.

- Nai Jin Yi Grace, Secondary 2E1

Day 4 | 11 June 2015 | Fukuoka 

Places Visited: 
Fukuoka Asian Art Museum 

Today is the fourth day we are in Japan. We had seen quite a lot for the past few days and we are excited to return to Fukuoka Asian Art Museum today to do the second part of the workshop. We were lucky to see the newly displayed artworks in the museum as today is the first day since it has been renovated. There were many exciting exhibitions such as the “Imagine – Visions of a world without War” and a solo Ceramics exhibition. 

We kick started the day with a filming session with Angie Seah, a Singaporean artist who is on artist residency with the museum. Next, we had a tour around the museum and got a chance to view the exhibitions. The exhibition, “Imagine – Visions of a world without War”, in particular, struck a chord in me. It featured over 70 war related art pieces done by artists in Asia;  it was truly an eye opener! The exhibition invokes deep thinking as there are many different perceptions to war. 

Thereafter, we visited the unique Ceramics exhibition, where the mesmerizing clay pieces were composed of different colours and shapes. What made it extraordinary is that the colour combinations were due to the different chemical reactions between the different minerals and chemicals of various colours. 

After lunch, we continued our second half of  the workshop with Mr Funkografik. We photoshopped photos of ourselves and mastered the basic skills of photoshop. Learning how to utilize the tools in the software, we experimented on each others photos by colouring the hair, putting on fake make up and beautifying the facial features. It was an enjoyable experience and we had a deeper understanding as to how advertising and commercial images have been manipulated. 

- Boey Jia Ning Vicki, Secondary 2E2

Day 5 | 12 June 2015 | Fukuoka – Osaka 

Places Visited: 
Yanagabashi Market 
Sumiyoshi Shrine 

We took a morning walk to Yanagibashi Market. The experience was enjoyable and there was quite a fair bit of difference as compared to Singapore. There were no flies and a wide variety of seafood in the market; they even sold eels and a gigantic fish head which was bigger than the width of two hands! There was also a large range of vegetables, fruit and traditional Japanese goodies. 

We also stopped by Sumiyoshi Shrine, which is the oldest in Fukuoka. It was interesting to imagine going back in time and walk around the historial place. After this, we walked back to our hotel, packed and headed to the train station, where we took the Shinkansen Sakura, which was really fast and comfortable. We arrived at our hotel in Osaka, and ate dinner, thus ending another day in Japan.

- Ong Siang Ting, Calista, Secondary 2E2

Day 6 | 13 June 2015 | Osaka – Kyoto – Osaka 

Places Visited: 
Kyoto Old City
Kiyomezudera Temple
Fushimi Inari Shrine 

When we arrived in Kyoto, there were sights of women dressed in floral kimonos with their hair done up nicely, and men who walked around in the male versions of the traditional wear. It was odd to know that these travellers are the ones who seem so immersed in the Japanese culture, wanting a real taste of the old Old Kyoto City and take photos amidst the historic architecture. The entire street was crowded with people, you could not stop moving unless you walked into a shop. We saw a lot of local products and knick-knacks, such as handmade fans, embroidered handkerchiefs or mini statuettes. 

Some of us got a chance to sit and draw the gorgeous architecture of the buildings, right on top of the steps we had climbed. Every time someone peered over our shoulders, they spoke a different language. After that, we headed to the Fushimi Inari shrine, which had never ending bright orange arcs. As the air got thinner and the light grew dimmer for every step we took, we were not sure if the top existed. However, when we finally had nowhere else to walk, we were rewarded with a view of the city and the glow of accomplishment after burning off all the calories from the ice-cream we had earlier.

- Amanda Quah Li En, Secondary 2E1

Day 7 | 14 June 2015 | Osaka – Singapore 

Places Visited: 
Osaka Castle

Today marked the final day of our exchange program and for our final stop was the historical Osaka Castle. The place was breath-taking and did justice in reflecting the rich history of Japan. The area was surrounded with lush greenery and a river. The castle itself was eight stories tall with exhibitions on every floor. It was a very enriching experience as we managed to immerse ourselves in the beauty and history that Japan had to offer. As we admired the castle, we also could see invaluable poems written many years ago by Japanese poets and learn about the Battle of Osaka Castle. 

Overall, this trip was an extremely memorable and enjoyable experience I am sure every student will remember. I am extremely thankful for being fortunate enough to have come along on this journey to Japan.

- Wong Weng Yeng, Secondary 3E2