July - August 2015
  • Day29

    The KD's are back home

    August 12, 2015 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

    Much to the dismay of all of us, we are back home in Wales. All of our parents are coming to pick us up later on today and will hear about the trip of a lifetime. Speaking for myself, I know that I've made so many new friends in the unit and I couldn't have wished for a better group of people to travel to Japan with and I believe that a lot of the others feel the same. Now speaking to the leaders, we all want to once again thank you for the amazing work you've done to make all of our Jamboree's as good as they could be. You're the best group of leaders we could have had! Finally, thank you to the families of all the KDs for your support and care throught our time in Japan and over the last two years. None of this could have been pulled off without your dedication. This may well be the last blog post we do. If it is, thanks for following what we've been doing, I hope you enjoyed reading it and we will be creating an online photo album where you can see everyone's photos from the Jamboree.Read more

  • Explore, what other travelers do in:
  • Day26

    Oren Patrol in Tokyo!

    August 9, 2015 in Japan ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    9th August was an action packed day for Oren patrol, with plenty of fun, laughter, and a lot of tourism!!

    After purchasing breakfast from Japan's answer to Waitrose (but without the extortionate prices!!), we visited Shibuya, to witness - in daylight - the phenomenon of the world's busiest zebra crossing. Of course, a visit to Starbucks was necessary, and we all enjoyed a bevarage from the cold menu. However, we couldn't stay in Starbucks for the whole day, so we moved on...

    The next stop was Harijuku Market, where we hit the shops in search of souvenirs and gifts. The 100¥ (approx. 50p) shop was a popular destination for a few members of the patrol, and at least one of us (naming no names) used the opportunity to buy a few gifts for family and friends....but alas - the 100¥ doesn't include tax (8%), so we all had to pay 8¥ extra per item...it seems that this is common in Japan...lots of prices don't include tax....

    Lunch was an interesting affair...after finding a small 'restaurant' that seemed to be relatively pleasant, we found out, when ordering from a vending machine, that veggie options are slightly limited...SeB had two options - boiled or poached. The egg was served with a salad bowl and a bowl of rice, which was stolen by Anna (the writer is not - in any way, shape, or form - bitter about this. At all...). It was also quite entertaining to see Debbie (the CMT member who had the 'pleasure' of spending the day with us!!) trying her absolute best to get a glass of water with no verbal communication whatsoever! It included a lot of waving and pointing, and even more being ignored!! We then decided that we were being too raucous, so quickly finished and left before we were forced to leave...we supplemented our meal with McFlurrys. We were lovin' it! (Sorry...I just can't help being so punny...)

    We then became cultured and mature young adults, visiting the shrines and temples in Ueno Park. Naturally, visiting temples, one must cleanse oneself with the ladles of water outside, and waft incense over oneself as an act of spiritual cleansing before entering, and once inside, best behaviour is required, with strictly no photography...or clapping!!

    Following this, we tried to get a taste of the hi-tech, electric side of Japan, with a visit to Akihabara, the Electric City. Described by Owain as "interesting", it was certainly an experience...less 'Big Lights, Big City' and more 'Big Lights, Cramped Basement', but it was an entertainment, which saw Owain and Tom purchase some ...interesting... umbrellas!!

    We then proceeded to have fun in Joypolis, which was fabulous, even if the queues did take between 20 and 75 minutes to conquer!!

    Overall, a great day out for Oren patrol, with Debbie from CMT joining in with all the fun...thanks Debs!!
    Read more

  • Day26

    Enfys Patrol in Tokyo!

    August 9, 2015 in Japan ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    On our first day in Tokyo, Enfys patrol had an early start at 7.30 in the morning. Despite us all complaining to Lee, we got everything done with time to spare because of it so... I regrettably have to apologise to Lee for doubting him and complaining. Enjoy it while it lasts though Lee, we won't be apologising again!

    We bought breakfast the night before and ate it on our first train journey. Now would be a good time to mention we had a Japanese guide taking us around. I believe her name was Anna (at least that's what it sounded like when Lee was talking about her) but I may be wrong. She was the daughter of Lee's HoHo host who studied English while in university in America, so we were very lucky we had someone who knew the area and spoke the same language as us. On behalf of Enfys I'd like to express our gratitude for taking us around Tokyo, we certainly appreciated the concrete jungle that is Tokyo more because of it.

    Our first stop was at a place called Yanaka Ginza Street in a area of Tokyo called Nezu. Nezu is a very old, traditional part of Tokyo and we stepped into the History books when we stopped here. Yanaka Ginza Street is a shopping street where lots of shops sell traditional Japanese items. The shop we went into sold everything from fans and chopsticks, to playing cards and rocks! We were a bit slow packing and took a lot of selfies and eventually had to leave Nezu, but not before our guide bought the members of our patrol staying in Ueda for HoHo an Ueda charm to remind them of a time that seems so long ago now.

    We left and came across a traditional sweet shop. Our guide bought us these fish shaped sweets which were filled with pickled sugar beans. None of us liked the sweets but it was great to try something new. Plus, the fish shaped design was awesome!

    We caught another train whose destination was Akihbara and it was incredible. It's one of the most modern areas in Tokyo and we were ants in a maze of skyscrapers plastered in screens and bright lights. We went into an arcade and played this Taiko drumming game. It was like guitar hero but with drums instead of guitars (what a suprise!) Olly J and Georgina had a competition to see who could get the highest score and Georgina won (though Olly does think it was a bit of a fix).

    Enfys were then taken by their guide to some Tokyo back alley (which did look very shady) and through some curtains to a noodle bar where we had noodles and pork. Despite prior worries, it was one of the nicest meals I've had in Japan and we've all learnt not to judge a book by its cover.

    Enfys then decided to participate in some retail therapy at a shopping centre. Two members of Enfys bought new watches, some others bought clothes and one bought a goody bag of tech parts. A lot of us also went to Starbucks and a few of us have decided is actually a traditional Japanese coffee shop, to stop us from feeling bad about going there so much.

    Shortly after, we all went to the oldest shrine in Tokyo which was build during the Muzi period of Japan. The atmosphere was so tranquil, that we came out of there feeling very happy and peaceful. We even tried a type of Shintoism praying called nirei nihaku ichirei which translates to 2 bows, 2 claps, 1 bow. These are the movements you have to do during the praying and the prayer is a way of showing respect. At the shrine, we also saw a traditional Japanese wedding which looked more like funeral to us used to Western culture. The Bride wears a white kimono and the groom wears a black kimono. All of the other family members were dressed in black also. After this we once again went to a coffee shop based just outside the shrine and had ice cream and ate fresh fruit, something that I have missed greatly while being here.

    After this we did some very quick shopping in Harajuku, which the girls in our patrol loved, but the boys were very unimpressed. We then got on a train and went back. It was a great day that was enjoyed by all and on behalf of Enfys I would once again like to say thank you to our guide for the day. You certainly saved us a lot of time!
    Read more

  • Day25

    Closing Ceremony!

    August 8, 2015 in Japan ⋅ ☀️ 30 °C

    We are all currently sat next to one of the two domes in the shade, with two hours to kill before we have to depart on a bus which will take us to a train station. From here, we will catch a bullet train to Tokyo for the last leg of our journey. We're all very sad that we have to leave the Jamboree site behind us but we all have new friends and great memories because of it.

    Yesterday was a day of dropping tents and packing up which everyone found incredibly tedious but there was one point before the evening was upon us where everyone was enjoying themselves. As I'm sure you are aware our leaders have worked very hard for the last 18 months making sure we have a very enjoyable, smooth and memorable Jamboree and through any troubles we or they may have had, they managed to pull it off. To say thank you we paid the Hungarian food house to bake a cake for 40 for us and also wrote down a little message of thanks to the leaders and put them in a UK contingent water bottle. The leaders were all emotional but they deserved it and once again on behalf of the KD's I'd like to thank all of the leaders for being amazing. We couldn't have hoped for any better!

    Later on in the evening was the closing ceremony. It was enjoyed by all and saw the handing over of the Jamboree to North America where it will be held in 2019. It also saw some high profile guests from within Scouting, Japanese parliament and the UN talk to us about various issues and how we can change the world in enjoyable, inspirational lectures. The closing ceremony was great except for one element... the entertainment. There were two artists that are apparently big in Japan. The first was called C-UTE and were very hyperactive. I don't think any of us enjoyed it immensely but none of us could have expected what came next. There was an American artist (who lives in Japan) called Marty Friedman who came on with his band. The Swiss next to us enjoyed them but I think they're the only ones. In fact, Gwyn believed that "Marty Friedman exemplifies the contents of Pandora's box" along with many other statements about him. Even though the music didn't appeal to all of us, the closing ceremony was still very good and we will all remember it fondly.
    Read more

  • Day23

    Silence, song and change!

    August 6, 2015 in Japan ⋅ 🌙 28 °C

    We woke up late this morning as we had a free morning. Some spent it swapping badges, others spent it resting but we all came together for one point. Today was a very important day as it's the 70th anniversary of the atomic bomb being dropped on Hiroshima and the small town we are living in had a silence to remember. You could've heard a pin drop.

    After that we all departed to the dome to partake in a suprise the leaders had for us. They, on behalf of the head of the UK contingent, had been nominated to perform in the dome. We were very nervous when we started a round of it's not unusual which we must have nailed as all of the crowd were cheering.

    Following on from this, we went to the Global Development Village where we learnt how to improve the world. In particular, I learnt about how stereotypes can affect the way we see people and can affect us negatively. I think we all learnt something important that can help us and others.

    Then we had free time where some carried on swapping badges like this morning and some spent it resting which yet again was similar to this morning. Then we came to tea time where one of our patrols had prepared a meal for us. Despite their lack of confidence in their culinary ability, the chefs did an excellent job. Now we're enjoying the end of our last day of activities before the closing ceremony tommorow evening.
    Read more

  • Day23

    Water, Water, Water!

    August 6, 2015 in Japan ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

    Yesterday was definitely a high point for the unit. We woke up early for our day based around (as you may have guessed by the title) water! We headed off to a centre where we tried paddle boarding. It's fair to say that a lot of us may have spent most of our time swimming instead which no one was complaining about. In this heat, any water is greatly appreciated. Following this, we went and assembled some lucky charms (the time it took us to make it means that they can't have been that lucky). Throughout all of this our spirits were high because we knew what was next. We took a final bus to the beach where we were going to go swimming. We got there and had to wait for a little while but eventually we got to go swimming. We were all ecstatic and Martin even grew some seaweed hair! When we had to leave, we were all sad but cheerful with big smiles on our face.Read more

  • Day21

    Oren Patrol's Community Day (part 2)!

    August 4, 2015 in Japan ⋅ ☀️ 30 °C

    Hi it's Gwyn here and this is my perspective of our community day. Sword-fighting, painting performances and five-storey pagodas; it was a thrilling day for Oren patrol.

    The day began with a speech by the Mayor of Yamaguchi which was followed by a dynamic performance of Taiko drumming.

    As per usual we felt like zombies stepping into the sun, burning up as we entered a traditional Japanese park. Here we found a shrine to Buddha and a five-storey pagoda from the 15th Century, ranked third most beautiful in Japan.

    Fortunately, the burning alive couldn't ruin our mood. Spurred outwards by ice-cream and incredible views of the park, Oren travelled to Yamaguchi high school, similar by sight to one in the UK. Approaching waves and smiles, a true sense of "Community" did indeed pervade the atmosphere.

    Here we partook in kendo (Japanese sword fighting), a tea ceremony, archery, origami and caligraphy. My favourite part of the day wad watching a shodo performance by students. This effectively, involved watching paint dry to music, yet it was definitatively one of the most exciting ten minutes of the trip. Shodo involves the painting on Japanese symbols (caligraphy) by multiple students on one massive canvas, during Japanese music, which was more suited to a nightclub than a high school, plays incredibly loudly with swinging brushes and suprisingly tuneful shouts, this was a performance which was dramatic, exciting and most of all, surreal. I enjoyed it thoroughly.

    It was hard to leave such an intriguing and fun-filled place, but I am sure the memories we made will not be forgotten.

    We were joined on this day by scouts from the Netherlands and Lebanon, and arriv3d back singing a playlist of Tom Jones, Queen and Bruno Mars (amidst many others). For me, it was my favourite day of the Jamboree. We engaged with the local community, we learned about their culture and sang with those we have never met before from areas we have never been to. This day was when I truly understood the purpose of the World Scout Jamboree and I'm sure that others feel the same. Five stars from Oren Patrol.
    Read more

  • Day21

    Only Kimonos Aloud!

    August 4, 2015 in Japan ⋅ ☀️ 30 °C

    After a free morning yesterday, the KD's went to the Science zone. Despite this being very informative, it was in no way the highlight of our day. In the evening, Fuji subcamp met for a massive party. The KD's felt very patriotic while marching into the hub tent. We saw a few different units perform before us including our Welsh counterparts the Samurai Sheep along with their Bhutanese solidarity patrol who were excellent. After watching the great talent that came before us, it was our turn. We got up on stage and started with Seb, Ollie B, Ioan and Martin forming a quartet singing Stars from Les Miserables which seemed to be enjoyed by all in the tent. Then the whole unit started performing Calon Lan and It's Not Unusual which we certainly did justice. It seemed like all in the hub tent enjoyed our performance and we definitely all enjoyed as well. We all came back after that feeling very juvious with ourselves.Read more

  • Day21

    Community Day with Gleision

    August 4, 2015 in Japan ⋅ 🌙 23 °C

    Waking up at 5am and being typically inches from being late we, Gleision, embarked on our 3 hour journey to our first activity. Due to our hour long toilet breaks this took its toll but still we were all either quaking in our sweaty shoes or extremely excited for...THE BUG DOME!

    On discovering The Giant Japanese Killer flying scarab, Jon the fearless ran miles. Quickly followed by the rest of the patrol out of the frying pan and into the fire, or in this case out of the bug museum into the open air exclosure, where we met marvels next big blockbuster, Beatle Boy.

    As we attended to Adam's constant barrage of exclamation due to the numerous Beatles defacating on his hat. An adorable Japanese boy walked in with his family instantly capturing what Japan is all about by donning a whole six scarab, a number of which but inches from his face. Of course watching the whole patrol jump with fear, laughed and continued to laugh and enjoy the experience.

    After refuelling with salty chips from the local bug museum canteen, it was time to travel another ten minutes to the local town hall, where we appreciated a play to God's depicting a story from Japanese mythology. Orochi, eight headed snake had killed all but one of their children after plotting with princess the brother of the Sungoddess poisons the snake with a poisoned stake. Once defeated the beast retrieves the Treasure Sword of Heaven from the tail.

    On giving this sword to his sister he accepted back into heaven and got the princess.The accompanied by percussion and traditional Japanese singing it was a very gripping experience.

    After a very filling launch we concluded our community day with multiple work shops at Hagi Junior School rounding from origami to traditional Japanese toys.

    Having truely experienced Japanese culture it was time to head back to the bus for our 3 hour drive back.

    Read more

  • Day18

    Team Oren's Community Day

    August 1, 2015 in Japan ⋅ ☀️ 29 °C

    After a long wait on a lovely air conditioned bus, we finally set off for our community themed day. The day began with a greeting from the mayor of Yamaguchi and some local Taiko drummers. The Mayor's warm and welcoming words started the day off wonderfully. Following this we visited a park of shrines, where the opportunity to take beautiful photos arose, including a photo near a five story pagonda. After a small stop for lunch we arrived at a Yamaguchi high school where a series of activities were awaiting our participation. After some greeting speeches including a riviting speech by our very own Gwyn, all members of Oren patrol showed mind-blowing skills in all activities on offer. The activities available to us all included kendo, tea ceremonies, origarmi, Japanese archery, koto (harp like instruments that lay on the floor) playing and calligraphy. All were throughly enjoyed by members of Oren patrol and the pupils of the high school thoroughly enjoyed our visit (and poking Martin's stomach!)Read more