Landing in Fukouka Japan after 24 hours of traveling, we were greeted by the APCC volunteers and had our photos taken by what seemed like a million people, we felt like celebrities. We were then taken to Marine House where we were welcomed and helped the JA’s settle in. After lunch I said goodbye to the JA’s and chaperone's and was taken to the PA camp at Global Arena.
Arriving at Global Arena was great; I was greeted by some of the other PA’s and we were shown to our rooms. After dinner we started to bond strong friendships while practicing the PA performance for the event day .
PA camp at Global arena was an amazing experience; I met many wonderful people and learnt a lot about the BC organisation and also how to run a successful bridge club. There were many seminars and meetings that helped to improve my understanding of BCIO as well as free time and games that helped us to build friendships that I know will last a lifetime.
The host family stay was another highlight of the trip; I was lucky enough to be hosted by the same family as I had in 2006 as a JA. It was marvelous to see them again and see how they had changed and grown. My host family was really wonderful and I had an amazing time with them in the city. We went to temples, parks, turtle hunting, played with fireworks, visited family and went into the country to ride an old train and see the green cherry blossoms. I was able to help cook a variety of Japanese food that was fun to make and really delicious to eat!
The PA’s stalls, on event day, were a big hit, with everyone selling many wonderful and exotic items from their home countries and raising a lot of money for the APCC 25th Reunion next year. Singing ‘We are the Bridge’ at the end of the festival made everyone feel a little sad but also happy to have had such a wonderful experience with such incredible friends.
The whole experience taught me more about the way people from all different cultures and countries are all more similar then different. I learnt a great deal about Japan and Japanese culture, and about the APCC and BC programs. I was very sad to leave my host family and the friends I had made in Japan, but I made sure I said “see you next time”, not goodbye.