PUPILS from a Holme Valley primary school have been given film star treatment in the Land of the Rising Sun.
Netherthong Primary School Year 6 students Archie Forrester, Joshua Wilding and Ned Johnson have just returned from a visit to Miyoshigaoka Elementary School, Nagoya – Netherthong’s twin school in Japan.
It’s located 200 miles south west of Tokyo and during the elementary school assembly, the three boys were mobbed by enthusiastic Japanese schoolchildren, who were very excited to have real live guests from the UK.
They welcomed the boys into classes, involved them in games and even allowed them to help with the traditional Japanese practice of cleaning the school after lunch.
The youngsters were accompanied by three parents, headteacher Catherine Jubbs and Japanese teacher Martin Clayton, who organised the visit. The group spent two nights in Tokyo, before taking the shinkansen (bullet train) to Nagoya.
During their three days in school, they learned origami, brush stroke writing and English as well as taking part in the school sports day.
The group ate healthy Japanese school lunches, which included a handy-sized bag of dried fish heads with nuts. According to elementary school principal, Mr Yasuhiro Ochi, these are full of calcium.
Martin said: “The trip was a resounding success, the pupils caused quite a stir at their twin school. This will be an experience that they will never forget and hopefully will stimulate them to continue learning the Japanese language.”
He has taught Japanese at Netherthong for the last four years, during which time it increased in popularity.
Over the last two years, 26 year 6 pupils have passed exams in Japanese. This month a further 13 children are taking the tests.
Headteacher Catherine Jubbs added: “It was an amazing cultural experience. It was fantastic and our three ambassador children did us proud. I really liked Japan, everything runs on time and is so clean, and people are so polite.”
The two schools twinned last year and since then pupils have regularly exchanged gift and cards. The trip was part self-financed and partly funded by the Daiwa Foundation. The Nagoya school is planning a return visit in the next academic year.
Martin added: “We look forward to showing them the beauty and hospitality of the Holme Valley , and in the meantime we are planning to introduce a penpal system through the school, linking classes and pupils with their counterparts in Japan.”