Juniors Kayla Galima, Kellie Komatsu and Noelle Yamamoto won trips to Kyoto and Osaka as a part of a competition sponsored by the Rotary Club of East Honolulu.

The entrants had to be Japanese or part-Japanese and submit essays to the Club for the competition.

Homestays were part of the trip.

Yamamoto said, “The homestays that I had were very welcoming and hospitable.”

Galima appreciated the chance to use the language she had studied for four years.

“In the homestays, I was able to practice saying greetings in Japanese when I left home and when I returned home,” she said.

Activities  included a tea ceremony, riding the bullet train, visiting  temples, the Kobe Great Earthquake Center, and learning about the beliefs and traditions in addition to other fun activities.

Galima said, “From this trip I gained a better understanding of the language and culture. I got to meet high school students in Osaka and Kyoto, so I had the chance to improve my Japanese speaking skills.”

“At first going to Japan didn’t feel like much, but when I got to Japan, it exceeded my expectations. We did so many activities, so we were able to have an authentic Japanese experience,” said Komatsu.

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