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THE SHIELD > Sandglass
  Visit of Japanese Students from Omi Hackiman
By Donald Poon

We were told to be in school at 9:30 am, and it was the last Saturday of November, just before our Christmas Examinations. We dressed in smart casual clothes. I guessed we would have a cultural exchange with foreign students. What was going to happen was to be memorable and impressive.

There were over seventy Form Three Y and K students along, with other senior students assembled. We then went to the International Hostel of the Chinese YMCA and there we paired with our guests. We were two Wah Yan students with one Japanese student, but the excitement came as we saw some of them were girls of stunning beauty! They had lank, long, black hair combed behind their ears. Their bright and intelligent eyes sparkled with excitement under the sunlight. Some girl's faces were covered with a few beauty freckles and they had low cheekbones. They had roman noses and their teeth were as white as snow. They had graceful curves and pairs of long, shapely legs. After the roar of excitement, there were also tall strong Japanese youth, we walked in line through King's Park and then to St. Ignatius Chapel. We bowed to the Crucifix and took a seat on a bench. Soon the Chapel was filled with us all.

Here we had a ceremonial welcome. The Head, and the accomplished Japanese girl made a good speech of welcome in excellent English. Following this, Chan Kwun Chuen, the chairman of our Japanese club, spoke in fluent Japanese, which we were very proud of, even though we did not understand a word. The speech was loud and clear, so the Japanese could hear and understand it easily. We recited the School prayer and sang the School Hymn which was slow and slurred. The Japanese students liked the songs and thought that it sounded very sweet and beautiful.

In the Hall, our Chinese orchestra gave a strong and rousing mini concert which was well appreciated, and this was followed by John, the good flautist and Alan playing the pipa and the flue exceptionally and skillfully. They all showed singularly remarkable musical ability at performing on the musical instruments. The tone was outstanding and surpassing. The strains of the musical instruments stuck in our memory. Our Chinese orchestra received great acclaim from the audience. My partner thought that they must have practiced hard before the performance. Then, the Japanese students sang. Their angelic voices and impeccable diction also received much warm applauds.

Now came the excitement which was a basketball tournament with eight teams competing. The Japanese students played basketball very well. They were united. They quickly passed the ball to each other. When our side had to 'attack', their side quickly went back to their places and wanted to take away the ball from our side. Our side was difficult to win the basketball tournament, but they finally won. At noon we assembled in the Hall to make our farewells. We had prepared simple gifts for them, but we were embarrassed by the precious and colourful mementos of their visit which our partners gave us.

Mr. Jun Nagakasi led the group, with Miss Katawaki. We are grateful for the honour of this visit. Our hearts also felt thanks to all those who planned all the events and made the visit possible.

The event remains in my mind as it made a strong impression on me. I would have liked to stay with the Japanese students longer. It was important for uniting different people with the same spirit to create an ideal world. The cultural exchange could enable us youth to shoulder social responsibilities with keen interest for the foreign countries and make friends with foreigners. I trust that this first step in personal encounter with the Japanese who are our cousins culturally, will promote peace and understanding among us.

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