2013 AFS Tokyo Summer Camp. Possibly the best week of my entire summer (that’s really saying something) and certainly a highlight of my exchange. From the 5th to the 8th of August we (that’s 20 exchange students, 20 volunteers and 80 Japanese high school students) stayed in a camp-ground in the mountain town of Oohira. It was an action packed week, full of laughs, adventures, friends and of course – being a 16 year old girl – I was on the look-out to catch me some ikemen!
noun. A good-looking man. Comes from Japanese ikeru, iketeru, “cool”, “good”, “exciting” and either men (メン), from English “men” or “men’s” (menzu), or men (面) “face”.
I know, I’m shameful.
Monday – Day One
It was an early morning, before the oppressive humidity of the Tokyo summer set in. I met my chaperone at Shibuya station, and we took a train together to Tokyo station. The bus ride up to Oohira wasn’t that long, as I remember it, and during the ride I met Rui; a half Japanese girl from America who spoke both languages fluently and loved Kpop (we got along splendidly). Upon arriving at the camp-ground in Oohira we changed groups and did some ice-breakers – my group was number 5, which can be pronounced in Japanese as ‘gohan‘ which also means ‘food’ (I got a bit of a laugh out of that). Speaking of, dinner the first night was fish fillets, yum. Afterwards we gathered in the big hall and did some activities; the volunteers taught us the camp song “Good Time” and the dance “Migi te wo agete” (literally, ‘raise your right hand’). The volunteers had also set up a haunted house (..to help us bond?) which was less of a scary activity more of a slightly confusing mini-game, but all in good spirit! The bath was a traditional onsen, and bed-time was 10.40pm.
Daily Ikemen Report: I had scoped out three potential ikemen come evening, all of whom look slightly similar..I would have to collect more data (¬‿¬)
Tuesday – Day Two
6.30 wakeup (are you kidding me?). I cleaned the genkan (entrance way), then my stomach decided to give up on me and I didn’t have much for breakfast. The first activity of the day was the sports festival, which consisted of a pin-the-tail-on-eeor game and lots of hopping back and forth across the hall in teams. After lunch was team discussion – don’t ask me what it was about, all I remember was writing 牛丼大好きです！(‘I love beef bowl’) on a post-it note. For dinner we cooked Curry Rice as a group with pots and an open fire, which, much to our shock and amazement, turned out really good! By that time I was making some really good friends among our group and we were constantly sending one another into fits of laughter. After that was the dance party! A hall full of crazy teenagers wielding glowsticks and jumping around to loud music! A good time was had by all.
Daily Ikemen Report: One of the ikemen had caught my attention, he was wearing the camp t-shirt with the sleeves rolled up. I approve of this fashion choice. His group was in the same discussion room as ours (maybe that’s why I can’t remember any of the discussion? Oh). Enter operation ikemen phase two.. (¬‿¬)
You: what’s phase two?
Me: heck do I know.
Wednesday – Day Three
Breakfast on Wednesday was a bit wild. Somehow we got into a contest based on which group could yell itadakimasu (let’s eat) and gochisousamadeshita (thank you for the food) the loudest (I know, teenagers, right?). The walk rally started off the day, during which we changed groups and trekked around the area. I talked a lot to my group mates, we got the Dragon Ball (I believe that was the prize for winning the rally) and had lunch. After lunch was the talent show! I got together with a couple of the girls from the Tokyo chapter and we did a cheerleading routine; Sohpie from Denmark was the only one who had ever done cheerleading before, but non-the-less it turned out quite well.
We then had the second discussion. During the discussions we had to speak Japanese to the group, so it was difficult but very helpful. It was also our last night of the camp, so after dinner we built a massive camp fire in the middle of the field and formed a huge circle around it. We played music, linked arms and danced around, it was actually pretty nostalgic. The night was finished off with farewell speeches from everyone, the highlight of which was when a girl confessed to one of the guys in my group during her speech and they became a couple (aww young love ♥).
Daily Ikemen Report: An important discovery was made…one of the volunteers is an ikemen! How was this overlooked?? ( ﾟдﾟ)
Thursday – Day Four
The final day of camp! After breakfast we had some free time, which we used to sign each other’s camp t-shirts: (I’m sad because I – stupidly – washed mine and some of the writing came out).
We had our last discussion in the hall before lunch, then the closing ceremony. Lots of people cried during the volunteers’ speeches, probably including me. once again we did lots of singing and dancing in a circle, then at 3.00 we got on our busses to go back to Tokyo. I spent the entire ride home giggling myself silly with Sunny, one of the girls who had been in my group and who I still keep in touch with, so I hardly noticed the couple of hours pass by. Overall we had an amazing time, it was by far the best camp of my life so far. My only regret is that at the end we didn’t get a proper chance to say goodbye to the Japanese students, but it turned out alright because we all got each others LINEs and made plans to meet up for karaoke. By the time I took the train home to Oonishi san’s house at 9.oopm I was dead tired, but it had been a great week!
Daily Ikemen Report: It was with regret that I said my goodbyes to the Oohira Ikemen, may we sometime meet again! (Who am I kidding, I was probably watching from behind a bush like a total stalker).
Next Post’s topic!
- Komiket; August 10th 2013
- Kinki Kids Concert; August 17th 2013
- Ikeda House; August 19th – 21st 2013
Bye Bye~ :)