2015 Educators' Study Tour to Japan

Participants of the 2015 Educators’ Study Tour to Japan:
Ms. Shannon Bonner, Arts, Ceramics, Crafts, Douglas High School (Box Elder, South Dakota)
Ms. Jennifer Cutler, World History I and II, The Baldwin School (Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania)
Mr. Timothy DeJulio, International Program Director / Biology, Biotechnology, Forensics Applied Science, Newtown High School (Sandy Hook, Connecticut)
Mr. William Estes, World Geography, US History, AP Government, AP Psychology, Psychology and Sociology, White Knoll High School (Lexington, South Carolina)
Ms. Nicole Fagundes, Honors World History, Contemporary Global Issues, Carson High School (Carson City, Nevada)
Ms. Katharine Hicks, 7th Grade World Cultures, Mason Middle School (Mason, Michigan)
Mr. (John) Andrew Housiaux, Philosophy and Religious Studies, Phillips Academy (Andover, Massachusetts)
Mr. Jason Jamerson, Theater, Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School (New York, New York)
Ms. Emily Scibilia, Visual Arts, International High School of Health Sciences (Elmhurst, New York)
Mr. Daryl Schuster, World History, US Government & Law Studies, Bayside High School (Clearwater, Florida)

Study Tour Leaders: 
Jeffrey Miller, Director, Education Program, Japan Society of New York
Kazuko Minamoto, Deputy Director of Education Program, Japan Society of New York


The study tour acquainted the participants with Japanese society through a wide range of site visits in Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara, Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Aichi. Homestay with families and school visits were significant parts of the program.  The tour focused on K-12 school visits to help participants have a better understanding of Japan's education system by meeting their counterparts in Japanese schools. The tour provided the opportunity to connect with Japanese schools and educators both formally and informally. As year 2015 marks the 70th year anniversary of the end of WWII, the tour this year added a visit to Nagasaki and offered the tour participants the opportunities to meet four A-bomb survivors in Hiroshima, Hakata and Nagasaki who talked about their personal experiences. The tour included an optional visit to a part of the Tohoku region hard hit by the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Comments from 2015 Tour participants

It’s hard to overstate how positive this experience was for me. It was humbling, it was inspiring, it was an opportunity to connect with a homestay family who I came to care for quite authentically.  -Mr. (John) Andrew Housiaux, Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts

The Study Tour has given me a thorough understanding of Japan as a society and culture. From the big picture of Japan as a nation throughout history, down to the specific quality of Japanese life today, I have been able to redesign my Unit Plan to touch on many small details as they exist in context to the big picture of Japan. Without the study tour I would be lost trying to navigate the relationships that exist between the vast amount of Japanese history and culture that exists for us to enjoy. Now I have significant touchstones, well placed across the spectrum from where I can begin an in depth study and exploration with my students of any aspect of Japan.  -Mr. Jason Jamerson, Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School, New York City, New York

This was one of the most amazing travel/learning experiences that a teacher could receive.  This trip was one of the greatest honors in my teaching career.  There is no other way to receive the “behind the scenes” tour that we experienced.  I am still processing all of the places we visited and experiences and knowledge I can share with my students.  I will be unwrapping this information for a long time and I look forward to matching the material, pictures, and experiences with my curriculum.  -Ms. Nicole Fagundes, Carson High School, Carson City, Nevada

This experience is going to be a great addition to my classroom and to several social studies classes. Traveling to Japan has been a childhood wish and Japan was better than I expected and I know I owe that to our EST leaders and the opportunities they provided for us. I am proud to say that I participated in a Japan Society program.  -Mr. Daryl Schuster, Bayside High School Clearwater, Florida

Preparation & Orientation & Post Trip Follow Up

Pre-departure orientation:

Study Tour members participated in online orientation  sessions followed by two day intensive pre-departure orientation at Japan Society in New York prior to departure. The orientation included targeted language training, introductions to Japanese history, culture and educational systems, and a discussion session about travel arrangements.

Post trip follow up:

1. Post-trip meetings: Wednesday, August 5, 2015, and Spring 2016 (Date to be determined). Tour members participated in a post-trip follow-up meeting at Japan Society, New York. Participants from the New York metropolitan area attended in person, while those from outside the New York metropolitan area participated via conference calls.

2. Teaching unit based on their experiences in Japan was submitted by October 1, 2015.

3. School visit
--New York metropolitan area educators: A member of the Japan Society Education Team will either visit each teacher’s school during the 2015-2016 academic year.
--Educators living outside of the New York metropolitan area are required to submit a video of a relevant lesson, to be followed by a Skype call with members of the Japan Society Education team during the 201-2016 academic year.

4. 2015 study tour itinerary

For more information, please contact or 212-715-1275.

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