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Kinser Castaways Feted on Ishigaki Island

Date Posted: 2000-06-02

This story was written by a sixth grader at Kinser Elementary School about the trip to Ishigaki Island earlier this month. The classmates were visiting Ohama Elementary School, an annual outing which started two years ago when some Ohama pupils found a message in a bottle. It had been thrown into the sea off Kinser and drifted 500 km to Ishigaki.

The 6th graders of Kinser Elementary boarded the Hiryu ferry. Everyone was ready to go and full of excitement. The boat was a fantasy and reminded us of the Titanic. The tide was out so we had to wait and leave dock at 9:15. The night went by fast and few were seasick.

When we awoke that morning we went to the restaurant and ate breakfast. We had sandwiches, salads, and orange juice. We got to Ishigaki Harbor at 11:10. We collected all of our luggage and boarded a tour bus. We went all around the island and saw many beautiful things! We ate hot soba for lunch at Kabira Bay. We went to a glass bottom boat and saw plenty of sea creatures! They had animals that had lived and grown in the area for 30 years. We went to the pearl factory and saw huge black pearls. We went to the hostel. It was very clean. Some rooms had bunks and others had a large room with a tatami mat floor. At the hostel we had to wear little slippers. We wore them around campus but changed into tennis shoes if we left. We didn't explore much around the hostel because they had snakes and no one wanted to get bitten! We ate dinner at the hostel. After dinner we had to shower. The showers were Japanese style so it was a big room with 2 shower nozzles and lots of faucets. After that everyone was so tired so we rolled out our sleeping bags and slept.

When we woke up that morning we ate breakfast at the hostel and went to Ohama Elementary School. We arrived at 8:30 and they had a ceremony for us. We felt like movie stars. They had huge flower arches we walked under when we came in. We waved a lot. They had a student come and say a speech and had a Japanese dance they showed us. The kindergarteners had made us all little necklaces and came up and gave them to us. We showed them some American dances and a performance we had been working on then spilt up in groups and went to the classrooms. Everyone had a different class and things to do. The group I was in had to go in the garden and pull weeds, plow, and kill bugs. Then we made lunch. We had raw fish, fried rice, frozen pineapple stuff, and sweet milk that tastes like skittles. We cleaned the dishes and classroom then went outside and played.

Then we went back to the gym to say goodbye. When we left there school band played. We went shopping afterwards and got many gifts. We went back to the hotel ate dinner, went on an obstacle course, and had a bonfire. They had Japanese musicians perform for us. That morning we got up at 4:00 a.m. to clean. We left the hostel at 5:30 and boarded the ferry at 6:00 a.m. The water was rocky and everyone was seasick- even the medic! We arrived at the port at 9:15 p.m. The next morning we got up and came to school in our p.j's! It was a great adventure!

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