World School Day 7 - Asakusa and Soy Sauce
Most of the delegates were awake at 5am, ready to catch trains so that they would be at Kanto at 7am. In many cases, their host Mum and Dad had got up to cook breakfast and see them off. The first tears of goodbye started as they left their houses.
Once at Kanto, the coaches were loaded and the next round of goodbye’s completed as the forum left Kanto High for the last time ready to spend the day in Tokyo before returning to Katsuura in the evening.
Our first visit was to Asakusa Sensouji, which was one of the few areas in Tokyo left standing after WW2. It is a special place with temples, gardens and prayer spaces. We were delighted to be received by the head monk of the Denpoin Temple, who spoke to us on the theme of Japanese and Culture”. It was interesting to hear that being the head monk ran in his family. His father and grandfather had also occupied this position. In Japan, being a monk is similar to being a protestant vicar so they are allowed to marry and have children. He invited us to look at the peaceful gardens and spend a few moments in quiet reflection. The Denpoin Temple and surrounding gardens are not open to the public so the visit by World School was a very special honour.
After a traditional Japanese lunch of soup, tempura and rice eaten at low tables we headed back to the coaches. The afternoon was spent at the Kikkoman Soy Sauce factory. We were enthusiastically received with lots of bowing before touring the factory and watching a film on the making of soy sauce, the key ingredients being soya beans, wheat, sugar and the special Kikkoman Aspergillus bacteria that causes the fermentation. The whole process can take 6 months. The senior staff of the company presented us with bottles of soy sauce for our families.
On the coach journey back to Katsuura, each country delegation told their favourite ghost story – it was Halloween after all! The British students entertained everyone with the story of Ebenezer Scrooge and the three ghosts from Charles Dicken’s - A Christmas Carol.