This half-term Anas Hussain, Anas Nassrat and Mckenzie Clarke were lucky enough to represent both Burnage Academy for Boys and England at the Parliamentary Debate World Conference in Japan. The boys took a thirteen-hour flight past the iconic Mount Fujiyama to their destination, where they competed in 3 days of debates against schools from; Russia, Israel, France, Hungary, Scotland, New Zealand, Australia, Jamaica, USA, Thailand, and of course, Japan.
After three days of intense debates and talks from esteemed guest speakers, the final was set between Japan and Thailand, with the Thai team taking the trophy. Our boys, although not the winners of the competition, still represented us admirably, being repeatedly complimented on their passion, sportsmanship and encouragement.
With the debates over it was time to relax with new found friends. Most evenings were spent in the onsen, a communal hot spring where competitors could relax and discuss their opinions of the day’s topics.
Our first day away from debates was by no means a slower day. We set off early to the Kawagoe shrine, where the boys donned traditional Japanese kimono and were able to explore the Japanese religion of Shinto. From here (back in their hoodies and jeans) we headed north for a guided tour around the newly built Kumagaya Rugby Stadium. Here the boys were treated to a backstage tour of the new stadium before it plays host to the 2019 Rugby World Cup. The boys were most impressed with the views from the Royal Suite, where we stopped for a short break.
From here we headed further north to our second hotel in the snowy mountains of Yuzawa. Again, another early start, but this time there were no coaches. Instead, we donned our warm ski wear and headed out to ski school and the mountainous slopes for an afternoon of skiing and snowball fights.
From here we caught the bullet train south into Tokyo for some free time and shopping. Students were able to explore the rich culture of Tokyo and visit the Owl Cafe or just shop for the latest manga and fashion.
After an exhausting few days travel we returned to our hotel for our final farewell party. Here the boys, wearing their sharpest clothes, made speeches thanking their mentors, their teachers, and the organisers for hosting such a unique and special event. Many were moved to tears, but all were happy and singing by the end of the night.
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After such a busy week, the thirteen hours flight home seemed relatively short and relaxing.