November 19, 2019

Capstone Class of 2020: Hachinohe Host School

This year, TIS traveled to Hachinohe for the first time. Read more about TIS’s unique connection with the Hachinohe area here. TIS teacher Takanori Fujii shared some thoughts and pictures from the school. Read more below:

It will be our memorial year to start a relationship with the school in Hachinohe city, Aomori.

Most TIS families have probably never been to the prefecture of Aomori, which is located below Hokkaido prefecture.

Here, our five students proudly started the homestay program in this unknown area.

The host school provided precious and unique opportunities for our students.

Apple picking
Aomori is well-known as the area of apple production. As you may know, the Fuji apple is originally from this area. Surprisingly, our Fuji and their Fuji taste differently. An apple farm near school saved some trees to let us pick apples.

Cooking class
We made the chicken miso soup from scratch at school. [It is customary in Japan for students to take turns making lunch for the school.] The students had to peel burdock roots, diced tofu, and carrots with knives, and chop chicken.

Harvest Day
5th graders at the host school have raised the rice plants from the seedlings this school year. Luckily, we visited the week they celebrated their harvest with neighborhood seniors at a nursing home. We had many rice balls, a side dish with daikon radish, and miso soup.

[Beyond making lunch, the students participated in other standard activities for Japanese students.] Cleaning is part of Japanese culture.  There is only one facility manager at school–that’s it. The entire building is very clean because the students care about the school.

Some pictures from the classroom:

Overall, the host school made our stay fabulous. Everything we did was special and gave us memories for a lifetime. We were proud to introduce Portland and TIS to them in return. All my students now have firsthand experience of the power of language and cultural immersion.

We had various opportunities to experience the regional culture in and out of the school.  I hope this was very impactful for both the local students and TIS students. I really enjoyed seeing the students have an eye-opening experience.


While in Hachinohe, Taka Sensei also had the opportunity to meet up with some middle school students and a teacher who visited TIS this past May. They expressed gratitude for all that TIS did for them on their trip. It was great to reconnect!