Han San's Japanese Adventure

Posted August 19, 2015 SCOUTS-AND-SUMO

I can’t quite believe my experience of the Jamboree is actually over. I vividly remember sitting with Emily a good 2 years ago designing the initial templates and layouts for the tender and presentation and at this point, I didn’t have a clue about the Scouting world. After a visit to Gilwell, writing Scouts content for the website, producing various flyers, and most importantly, creating the fabulous blue folders for each Unit, there was nothing I wanted to do more than see the project through in Japan!

First off on our list was greeting the wonderful IST bunch. Now, as everyone’s flights were arriving at different times, check-in (in theory) looked like it was all going to run smoothly UNTIL…a sea of red and blue bags appeared rapidly. Unfortunately for us, not all room keys had been allocated and they weren’t supplied in alphabetical order which made life a little tricky. To be honest, we all seemed to thrive in that slightly stressful, somewhat chaotic environment and before we knew it, we were dishing out room cards like ninjas.

Airport runs were also a key feature to the trip; thousands of Scouts were greeted on arrival at either Haneda or Narita Airport. I can’t even begin to express how incredible it is (even if flights have been delayed until 1.30am) to see the look on Scouts’ faces when they arrive into the country :-) It certainly made the early starts and late finishes worthwhile. One of the airport runs was a little more challenging than I thought...how can finding the ARRIVALS sign of the Domestic Terminal be that difficult!? So it appears that on said airport run, one may have discovered that there were in fact not only 2 Domestic Terminals but a North and South Wing of both!

A moment that definitely won’t be forgotten was the process of getting just over 1,000 Scouts on board one bullet train. Although we had chartered this specific train, when the train is scheduled to depart, IT WILL GO. I’ve got to say, getting the thousand odd young people on the bullet train was a little easier than getting the IST on; just 90 seconds to get 300 people on the train just seems insane. Having spread ourselves out along the platform, each member of the IST had to pick their bags up, in a bear-hug kind of fashion, and were prepped to launch themselves on. So whereas in England we’re used to getting on a train as soon as possible when the DOUBLE doors open, this was not the case in Japan – 90 seconds to let passengers off (at a fairly leisurely pace) and get 300 IST on WITH ENORMOUS BAGS was the ultimate task.

Since I’ve been back, friends and family have been asking about what the country is like and my response, each time, has covered the following:

- VERY CLEAN – couldn’t quite understand this as there are barely any bins and you never see anyone cleaning??
- The array of flavoured KitKats – kidney bean flavour??
- When approaching the next train station, you suddenly feel like you’ve passed the next level on Mario Kart as an jolly/magical little tune is played throughout the platform
- Gorgeous fresh food, which on the odd occasion could have walked off the plate
- SUMOS
- Picturesque landscape and beautiful shrines

I could go on…

What an incredible experience and a wonderful event to have been involved with. Bring on the USA!

Katie Hanley

Other Jamboree Blogs

Jamboree Training Day
Lil Sarah's Jamboree Experience
Jade's Discovery
One Night In Nagoya

I've Never Seen So Many Scouts
Walls, Toboggans & Peking Duck – 5 days in China with the IST
Canadian Selfies in Hong Kong

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