23rd World Scout Jamboree 2015
We landed in Osaka Airport on Sunday 26th July at about half past 5 in the evening. After an eventful journey, everyone was tired. We had to queue for about 2 hours to get through immigration. At about 8pm, we finally got outside and it felt like a sauna. We got on a coach and set off to Nara. We met our Home Hospitality families in a car park near Neon Mall. They were all very excited and many of them had posters with our name on. We tried to have a conversation with the family on the way to their house, but we couldn’t understand each other.
That evening we went for a Chinese and saw some other unit members. Our practice of using chopsticks paid off! The next morning we had eggs, kiwi and jelly for breakfast. Afterwards, some Scouts and Guides from our unit met up with Japanese and Italian Scouts. We walked to the Five Stones shrine and took lots of photos of deer! At another shrine we were lucky enough to pray to Buddha, which was a brilliant opportunity. The deer bowed to us when we had food, which was watermelon and biscuits. For lunch, we ate noodles and miso soup. Later in the day, we visted a donut shop and talked about differences between schools and Scouting in the UK and Japan. On 28th July, we said goodbye to our host families and set off to the Jamboree site by bus for the next stage of our adventure.
At 6pm, Japan time, our Unit lined up to go to the Opening Ceremony of the 23rd World Scout Jamboree. On the way there we joined a queue that took us all the way to the arena, where the ceremony was being held. The whole way there we were chanting and singing, we were also surrounded by other Scouts and Guides from different countries and different cultures who were also singing. The flags through the parade flew really high as each Country carried their national flags, except us who carried the Yorkshire flag. Once we got to the arena we were directed into the B zone which showed us an amazing view of the stage. At the beginning of the ceremony there was a five piece girl band that started with the Jamboree song and everyone joined in. After that they sang a few of their own songs. Secondly, a group of drummers came on stage and they were amazing. Half way through the performance they brought up one of the Scouts onto the stage for him to drum. Then we heard a speech from the Chairperson of the World Scout Committee who was talking about peace and Scouting across the world. Finally, a Scout representative from each country, was directed to walk onto the stage and wave their flag for a few seconds. Once each country had gone up, there was a speech from the Camp Chief of this Jamboree who was handing over the Scout flag from the last Jamboree, which was held in Sweden. After they handed it over, they raised the flag and the ceremony came to a close. The whole experience was amazing!
I had an amazing time at the Jamboree. I especially enjoyed the Culture Day in which the site was almost transformed into a microcosmic world. Every Unit had its own stall based as each of our camps to show off our culture. Our Unit, ‘Unitea 51’, slaved away all morning frantically sewing our culture badges on for the afternoon, arranging Pontefract cakes and boxes of Yorkshire tea and of course whisking up some much needed and craved Yorkshire puddings.
Once done Patrol 3 (me) and Patrol 4 were allowed to roam the other campsites for an hour while Patrols 1 and 2 stayed back to look after the stalls. We first went to the America campsite, where we were struck by the familiar smells of what we called ‘normal food’, jelly beans and Smores. The Smores were toasted on a traditional Guiding / Scouting campfire. Tastes and images of home rushed into our mouths.
More further away we next visited India where we were greeted by a range of foods that were supposed to be sweet but actually tasted rather spicy! It was an interesting experience. Korea was next, where we tried Korean cereal, with milk, fruit and sweets on it. It almost tasted like Sugar Puffs. Sadly the hula hoop type looking snacks were not as delightful, turning out to be rather soft.
After these stalls, we needed to go back and help at our stall. Me and another Guide were on ingredients duty to explain what is inside and also to do a demonstration of how to make a Yorkshire Pudding to our customers. We had the busiest stall by far and it was a great experience to see people from other side of the world come and try our cultural dish.
Finally on the evening we went to a cultural ceremony / party. This was amazing. We danced and danced and danced to Japanese singers, one of which to our delight sang an English song! We then had special guests to speak to us all – the Japanese Crown Prince and the Prime Minister of Japan. What a fab day!