The homestay retreat of Kampung Sri Gunung Pulai in Johor was transformed into a haven of Japanese beauties as 180 students came to sample a taste of Malaysian village life.
Arriving in five buses, the students from Mino Jiyu High School in Osaka, mostly girls aged 16 and 17 and clad in baju melayu and baju kurung, were welcomed by villagers who showed them the wonders of Malaysian hospitality.
The students participated in a two-day homestay programme at the village.
With the assistance of a translator, Yomuguchi Uki, 16, said she was ecstatic over the richness of nature at the village.
“We are so used to skyscrapers back home in Osaka.
“I feel really fortunate to experience and see different kinds of plants and trees here,” she said, adding that she was surprised to see so many oil palm trees, having only read about them in the past.
Her friend Okuyama Yuuka, 16, shared her excitement and was touched by the friendliness of Malaysians.
“This is my first visit to Malaysia and I am delighted to converse with the villagers.
“Despite the language barrier, we can talk to them with the help of a translator,” she said.
Yuuka even uttered the word apa khabar while flashing a cheeky smile.
For Mizoguchi Tomoyo, 17, eating with her hands was an eye opener.
“It was awkward at first but I got used to it after watching my host family doing it.
“I also love the Malay traditional costumes with their dazzling colours and designs,” she said, adding that she did not mind wearing it even though the weather was hot.
During their stay, the students visited oil palm plantations and witnessed cultural performances such as a Malay wedding. The highlight was when they were split into groups of five and placed with 38 host families.
The students showed their appreciation for the hospitality by performing a marching-band version of the Jalur Gemilang and presenting a cheerleading show.
Teacher Satou Misuzu, 28, said the event was wonderful and her students had a fabulous time.
“We enjoyed our stay here and will recommend such trips to our friends back home.
“Malaysia Boleh,” she said in between laughs.