THE atmosphere at SMK Seri Tebrau wasone of joy with the sound of kompangs andlaughter of students welcoming 84Japanese students and teachers into their midst.
As soon as the Japanese students took theirseats, they began to “break the ice” by speakingand taking pictures with their host.
Students from the Johor Baru school’s PhotoClub also kept themselves busy by snappingpictures and video-recording the event.
After the formal speeches, a mock weddingwas held to showcase Malay, Chinese andIndian traditional costumes.
There were also traditional dances and selfdefencedemonstrations from the wushu andtaekwondo associations.
The SMK Seri Tebrau students also took theopportunity to exchange contact details withtheir newfound friends.
Teoh Soo Qing, 16, was engrossed in a discussionabout Japanese animation withKumokawa Takahiro, also 16.
“I asked him if he had watched Death Note asit was one of my favourite shows. We also chattedabout other Japanese cartoons,” she said.
A batik painting demonstration was held atthe back of the hall for the foreign students.
Sixteen-year-old Yui Tatebayashi immediatelybecame a favourite among the male studentswho wanted to snap photographs withher.
Cute and petite, Tatebayashi said she felt likea star when students kept approaching her totake pictures.
“I am very excited about the trip and thewarm welcome we received here.
“The people here are very friendly, too,” saidthe student of Riseisha High School in Japan.
After the stage performances, students weredivided into groups. The Malaysian studentslearned how to make origami from their guests.
Although they had difficulty understandingeach other because of the language barrier, theymanaged to have short conversations and someeven exchanged gifts.
Jasmin Liaw Zi Yun, 17, gave her new friend,Yusuke Arimata, 16, an origami she did herselfand in return, Arimata gave her an origamiresembling a crane that he had made.
Liaw said that she learned some Japanesefrom a booklet distributed to them by herschool to help them communicate with the visitors.
She chatted with Arimata about his favouritefood and exchanged e-mail addresses with him.
It was indeed a memorable day for both theMalaysian and the Japanese students as theylearnt more about each other's cultures andforged a friendship.