In 2011, I was selected as Canada’s representative at the Pacific Rim International Camp (P.R.I.C.) in Japan, and was easily one of the best experiences of my life I will look back on with nothing but fond memories. When I first met all of the campers from abroad on my first night in Tokyo, I couldn’t of been more pleasantly surprised by the unique and brilliant characters the P.R.I.C. 2011 had arranged from different countries all around of the globe, and that I was amongst them.
The culture shock was immensely interesting for me. I will treasure the days spent in the Tokyo hostel as well as the weeks spent in the wonderful little town of Nishakatsura, Yamanashi at the base of Mount Fuji where I lived with a “home stay” family that said and did nothing but kind and thoughtful things for me throughout the duration of my stay with the charming family of four boys and the parents.
However, my time spent at the Tokyo Youth Centre, where the actual camp portion of my visit took place, will and always have a special impact on me. For a week, 30 selected students from Japan accompanied the campers from abroad on hiking through the forests with very different plant life, kayaking on the lakes, exchanging cultures from one another and holding bon fires where we all sang songs and played games.
It brings tears to my eyes just recalling all of this here in this post. But these are not tears of strictly sadness, sadness for the thought that I may never see the friends I made this summer ever again, but tears of joy. I experienced things that the majority of people from my country will never experience in their whole lifetime in the span of two months. The camp taught me how responsible I could be or how emotional I could seeing people you’ve looked after and who have looked after you and you’ve grown close to leave so suddenly.