Monday, December 13, 2010

Wanna get away?

As an American 先生 (teacher)  in 日本 (Japan), I'm sitting on a gold mine of social research. Ulterior motives aren't part of the curriculum, but whenever possible I zoom in on the personalities, thoughts, and opinions of 青森 (Aomori's) teenagers.
Next week, 2nd year students (10th graders) will fly to Kyoto for the annual school excursion. While Japan's ancient capitol offers a buffet of temples, it just doesn't seem to be worth the ¥150000 ($1,785) price tag. Since many of our students will attend premier universities, I feel it's important to expose them to other cultures to prepare for a career in the global community.
Consequently, I was curious to when given the chance to choose the destination of the school trip, where students would wish to go. The students were told to be realistic in respects to time, cost, safety, and school policies. They worked in groups of 4 and were allowed to choose any destination, domestic or international, permitting they thoroughly explained their rationale.

It was interesting to see the reasons behind the proposed trips. For example, the chance to watch a soccer match was the prime motivation for venturing to Spain or the UK. Okinawa and Hawaii offered seaside relaxation. France offered style and culture, while many wanted Italy for the cuisine. If I heard the words pizza and paste one more time, I was going to run out the door and into the nearest Capricciosa. And you have no idea how many Japanese students are eager to bite into a Kangaroo.

Some groups were vague, citing only the country, while others were quite specific. One group chose Detroit to observe the American car industry while another selected Washington DC to take advantage of the Smithsonian Institution. But I'm still puzzled why Acapulco was pitched as a premier world heritage location to experience ancient civilization. I realize sand is old, but these kids just wanted some sun. I think there may be a few future used car salesmen in that class.

While the majority choose to go overseas, I was impressed with the groups adamant on discovering more about their own country. The students were able to think about school activities from an adult perspective while learning more about geography and culture. Though, in the end I think I walked away with the prize. I wonder if I can sell this data to JTB, HIT or any other Japanese travel agency?

Without further ado, below is the list of places in respect to popularity.
  • 13.) Kyoto, Japan (1)
  • 13.) Spain (1)
  • 13.) China (Beijing) (1)
  • 13.) Singapore (1)
  • 13.) Kumamoto, Japan (1)
  • 13.) Hiroshima (1)
  • 13.) Nagoya (1)
  • 13.) Mie (1)
  • 13.) Mexico (Acapulco) (1)
  • 13.) Canada (1)
  • 13.) Egypt (1)
  • 9.) Korea (2)
  • 9.) U.K. (2)
  • 9.) Kamakura, Japan (2)
  • 9.) Osaka, Japan (2)
  • 8.) Hawaii (3)
  • 7.) Hokkaido, Japan (4)
  • 5.) America (Detroit, Washington DC, NYC) (5)
  • 5.) Australia (Sydney, Great Barrier Reef, Ayer's Rock) (5)
  • 4.) France  (Paris) (6)
  • 3.) Italy (Rome, Venice) (7)
  • 2.) Tokyo, Japan (8)
  • 1.) Okinawa, Japan (9)
***The number is ( ) represents the # of groups choosing that particular destination.
***Please note that choosing Kyoto was prohibited, though this didn't stop one group. In addition, although ***Instead of being listed as one country, Japan is broken down to individual locations.

***Hawaii is a state, it is being treated as a separate destination.

No comments: