So Grateful – A message of thanks with a touch ISSHOKEMMEI

As I sit here in the bus, with the view of Mt Fuji in the distance, I can hear the happy chit-chat of both students and teachers as they disembark to visit the hot volcanic boiling pits (they are about to try the black eggs…. more on that later), and I never forget what a privilege it is to do this trip.

So appreciative of the teachers who have volunteered to come, Mrs Burgin, Mrs Ellis, Miss Ruse, Mr Hannah and Mr Connolly have worked tirelessly to ensure that each student is involved, focused and cared for; impressed with the 32 students who have stepped up and tried their best to meet the challenges set for them and they are just amazing!

Working with Miss Roche is a huge blessing for me, her understanding of the culture and etiquette required to move smoothly though this country is greatly respected and how she has worked passionately to expand the students’ knowledge and encouraged our students to use their language and in turn has seen the fruits of her labor, and of course the work of the LOTE teachers back home, pay off: it’s always such a proud moment to hear the students speaking to the people they meet along the way with confidence and a dash of excitement when they realize they have been fully understood.

JOE has a wonderful way of bringing people together; encouraging growth as we stretch and strain together.

The Japanese have a great word for this “ISSHOKEMMEI”

(Work very hard, collectively with utmost effort, with all one’s might, desperately, frantically, for dear life, all-out effort, sticking at living in and defending one’s place/ tribe)

JOE teams do this and I believe each member comes away enriched, with personal growth experiences, something different for each.

Sometimes it may take your child a little while to share these, show these changes, it maybe subtle, but it’s there. They have experienced so much in just three weeks…

Last night we had our last all-in debrief, which is something I started on the first trip in 2004, and in the same lovely boutique Ryokan, in it’s quiet meeting room. We ask students to share some of their thoughts and experiences; the staff as well. We all have some similar and then some individual and personal experiences. But collectively the common feeling is one of “So glad I came!”.

Below are some of the comments from your children. So blessed to be part of this:

◦ Meeting new people from Genesis and also Minokamo and Japan

◦ Entire homestay was a high for me!

◦ Pushing myself to try stuff

◦ The food at homestay!

◦ The students at the sister school

◦ Homestay over the weekend – catching up with the Genesis kids

◦ The whole trip – I am so glad that I came!!

◦ Jakob falling into the Pampas Grass (he’s ok…)

◦ The trains – the busyness of the stations and the hustle and bustle

◦ BBQ at home stay with Shayne’s family

◦ Karaoke at the homestay

◦ Spending time with a buddy from 2 years ago

◦ All the little things – but I still love GEAR!

◦ Rice and Pocky

◦ Visiting my host family – it was really good!!!

◦ The debates I had with my host brother

◦ Walking through history

So for the last push home over the next three days as we leave the country side behind for the capital of Tokyo we will collectively


I am forever grateful- Mrs S


  1. Thank you so much to Mrs S and all the teachers who made this possible. We are so grateful for you giving our son such a memorisable experience! Karen and Jason

  2. Thank you from me too, to you Mrs S and all the rest of the crew! Thank you for all you’ve done in the lead up and during these last 3 weeks. I can’t wait to hear all of the stories of their adventures!
    So grateful that Baylee was able to experience all of this!
    Enjoy Disneysea tomorrow!!

  3. A Big thank you to all the teachers and staff. I’m sure Nalia has had a wonderful time. Enjoy your last days Safe travels

  4. We feel totally privileged & grateful as Grandparents to have digitally come on this journey with our Granddaughter, Shaelee ! Normally we would just wait with eager hearts to hear about it on their return, but this daily, being able to get up early and catch up with your previous day’s events & excitement, while having a cuppa, has been amazing.
    We really do appreciate the effort put into organizing the regular emails for all of us. Enjoy the remainder of your trip, treasuring every moment. Safe travel blessings & prayers; see you home soon xxx

  5. Dear Mrs S and all the Genesis staff on JOE 2018. Thank you for the daily updates, pictures and videos. As Grandparents we are delighted to see the fun being had by all; the new experiences (food and adventures) being had by all the students and the happiness and joy we see in the updates. What an experience for the kids. What an experience for the teachers.
    Technology is wonderful that we can see the updates each day.
    Thank you for taking the time to keep all the families updated. The trip/s must provide such an enormous bucket of memories.

    Tony & Marilyn Freeman

  6. Thank Mrs S for this heartfelt message, it was very moving. I love this little word that says so much “ ISSHOKEMMEI”…wish I could get a T-shirt with it on, its so powerful. Enjoy the last few days.

  7. This made me teary with pride and gratitude! Thank you to all the teachers who have helped throughout this amazing experience. What an amazing bond that has been created. Enjoy your last few days together. 😊

  8. Beautiful message Mrs S. I am in awe of all that you have done and arranged collectively as a team to give my daughter the most amazing experience. It truly is once in a lifetime. Thank you!

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