Once in a lifetime?

Students from four Matrix schools visited Tokyo to learn about Japanese culture – and themselves

As a travel destination, Japan remains impossibly out of reach in many people’s minds, despite us here – in the UK – being surrounded by Japanese culture. You can find sushi in your local supermarket; you can watch anime on Netflix; you can find t-shirts featuring famous prints by the artist Hokusai in high street clothing stores like New Look and Primark. Many of the most well known international brands are Japanese in origin: Sony, Toyota, Panasonic, Casio, Honda, Mitsubishi, Nintendo.

And yet, only around 300,000 people from the UK visit Japan each year. This may sound like a lot, but compare this with the 4,300,000 annual UK visitors to Spain.

Whenever we asked teenagers across our schools which country they have most wanted to visit, most had picked Japan. When we asked them why, they listed some of their favourite cultural artefacts: books, films, games. Some cited Japanese history; a fascination with samurai or geisha. But when pushed to think about their answers (as teachers, we never just settle for the first thing that comes to mind!) some of our young people have also talked about imagining it to feel different to what they are used to.

Read more: https://matrixacademytrust.co.uk/japan/

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