2011 Japan Wizards Iolani Teams Reflect on Japan Trip

JWC Iolani School teams and advisors with Mr. Shoichi Suzuki, Executive Director of the America-Japan Society of Tama Tokyo

JWC Iolani School teams and advisors with Mr. Shoichi Suzuki, Executive Director of the America-Japan Society of Tama Tokyo

In March 2012, the two Japan Wizards Competition (JWC) winning teams from Iolani School were able to immerse themselves in the culture of Japan and experience what they had studied in and outside of the classroom. Due to the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011, the teams delayed their Japan trip. According to the students, it was well worth the wait. Micah Lau wrote in his trip essay, “I could never forget the beautiful and silent gardens of Kyoto, muted by the imminent blossoming of millions of flowers; the peaceful, deep forests of Nara, the grand scale of Todaiji, the chilled water of Kiyomizu on my lips – I’ll keep them forever.” 

As part of the Japan trip prize, the Japan-America Society of Hawaii (JASH) arranged an all-day educational experience. On March 21, Level A 1st place winners Melanie Carlile, Brittney Imada, Trey Takara, Level B 1st place winners Micah Lau, Dylan Miyasaki, Aaron Nojima, and advisors Jo Ann Akamine and Ann Tomatani Hirata were graciously hosted by Mr. Shoichi Suzuki, Executive Director of the America-Japan Society of Tama Tokyo. Mr. Suzuki escorted the group to the Edo-Tokyo Museum and Ooedo Onsen Monogatari (a popular hot springs theme park in Odaiba, Tokyo), which proved to be a favorite activity amongst the students. Trey Takara remarked, “we learned and saw firsthand much of what we studied last year… The onsen (hot springs) was beautiful, and we all enjoyed soaking in all the different types of baths which took away all of the aches and pains of travelling… What a treasure amid such a bustling place!” Coincidentally, one of the volunteers who accompanied Mr. Suzuki was a graduate of Iolani School, and is currently a research engineer in Japan. Aaron Nojima wrote, “He told me that he loved his job and that I, too, should pursue my dream… Meeting him gave me hope that one day I too could work and live in Japan.”

Iolani boys pose with Mr. Suzuki at Ooedo Onsen Monogatari

Iolani girls and advisors show off their beautiful yukata

JASH would like to send a big Arigatougozaimashita to Mr. Suzuki and supporters from the America-Japan Society of Tama Tokyo for welcoming our JWC Iolani teams to Japan and providing wonderful opportunities for discovery. Trey Takara said it perfectly: “I feel truly blessed to have had the experience of going to Japan, and the Wizards competition and trip reiterated my interest in such an amazing country…I believe it is through the generosity and hard work of institutions like JASH and its supporters which keep students on both ends interested in such an important global connection.”

A deer visits the students in Nara

A deer visits the students in Nara