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Maui Prep students explore Japan

By Staff | Jun 2, 2016

Pictured in Japan are (from left): Sherrie Narayan, Alexa Narayan, Sophia Johnston, Jessica Kingwell, Layla Nabavi, Suniva Thangaraj, Sarah Wilhelm, Hemma Mackin, Ray Parnell, Evan Fredericksen, Lucas Mackin, Lexie Leon, Emma Scott, Kamryn Perry, Jonah Bluh, Sarah Golestani and Zac Giles.

NAPILI – Excitement was in the air as an eclectic group of 14 students and five adults awaited the plane to take them to another world.

The students who attended included Sarah Golestani, Lexie Leon, Kamryn Perry, Sophia Johnston, Jessica Kingwell, Emma Scott, Zachariah Giles, Jonah Bluh, Evan Fredericksen, Lucas Mackin, Alexa Narayan, Layla Nabavi, Suniva Thangaraj and Sarah Wilhelm. These students would enter Japan with anticipation and return with new knowledge from an unforgettable experience.

During their time there, the students visited hot spots all over Japan, including Harajuku, the renowned fashion district; Shibuya, which contains the world’s busiest crosswalk; Shinjuku, where this group set up camp at the Prince Hotel; Asakusa, famous for the Senso-ji, a Buddhist temple; Akihabara, an “electric town” known for its technology and anime shops; Odaiba, a man-made island where the group visited an amusement park and ramen museum; and Kyoto, the previous capital of Japan, which contains numerous historical temples.

Favorite memories from some of the students help explain their purely thrilling adventure.

Lexie Leon’s favorite memory was being able to “experience a different culture and try lots of new foods. The shopping was especially amazing.”

The students visited Asakusa, which is famous for the Senso-ji, a Buddhist temple.

Sarah Wilhelm couldn’t find enough words to capture her amazement. She said, “The trains and subways make traveling around Tokyo so much more convenient and timely. I loved everything about it! I always felt so safe in Tokyo, even at night. Everyone is so kind, and the food is so good and super cheap! I did lots of shopping; I really liked the clothes and the styles that they had in Harajuku. Everything was so compact; it was so interesting.”

Other children enjoyed petting cats while drinking coffee, singing and dancing in a private karaoke room, cooking their own food at a Gyu-Kaku (BBQ restaurant), and learning how to navigate and ride the Tokyo train system on their own.

None of this would have been possible without the guidance of Maui Prep Japanese Language teacher Ray Parnell, who has been at the school nine out of its ten years.

Not only was Parnell able to organize this entire trip, but he was able to guide and educate the students and adults throughout the entire journey.

Parents Krishna Narayan, Sherrie Narayan, Donna Nabavi and Hemma Mackin also made everything go perfectly.

Akihabara, an “electric town,” is known for its technology and anime shops.

This journey was impactful and awe-inspiring. Hopefully, these students walked away with a hunger for more adventure and education.