The recent Shiroai/Quesnel Twinning Society delegation to Shiraoi included both teenagers and adults and each experienced the trip from their perspective. Tobias Nestel, a Quesnel teenager, stayed with the Makino family and had wonderful things to say about their hospitality.
“My home stay family was very kind,” he said.
“They would give me so many gifts I had to have another bag to fit them it. They also made sure I was always having fun.”
Elizabeth Hunter, Quesnel museum manager, was also on the trip and said the best part of that experience was staying with her host family, the Kawanishi family and the personal connections she made as well as the
opportunity to gain insight into Japanese daily life.
“Their hospitality is a bit overwhelming, but very genuine and I think we all came back with some very special
memories,” Elizabeth said.
Both reported a very active touring element to their experience.
Tobias said they went to an arcade and the super market (which he said was really big and also they went to a Japanese-style pizza place.
“I went to a water show with my family where I got to see a penguin parade, a sea lion and dolphin show and also we rode a ferris wheel,” he said.
Tobias said he tried octopus for the first time.
“It was delicious. It was so good it’s my favourite food from Japan.”
For Elizabeth, one of her best days was spent people-watching in Ueno Park in Tokyo as well
as the five hours she spent at the National Museum.
“I only got through the first building featuring the Japanese collection and there were three other buildings,” she said.
“I also really enjoyed the gardens and architecture in the temple complexes, especially at Nikko and Narita. The view from Mount Tarumae was pretty spectacular and everyone took pride in claiming ‘we climbed an active volcano’.”
When asked what surprised him most about Japan, Tobias said it was in Tokyo he discovered the Japanese used smoke to cleanse their soul.
For Tobias, his trip home to Canada had some very uneasy moments.
“When we were leaving Japan, I lost my passport on the plane to Vancouver,” he said.
“It was very scary because they told me I would have to go to a place
for two weeks so they could tell I was me.
Luckily they found my passport on the plane so then I was safe.”
Watch for more impressions of Japan in an upcoming Observer