Friday, August 20, 2010

Observations from a Stranger

Upon our return to NYC from Japan, we were pleasantly surprised by an e-mail from a person who shared our return flight from Tokyo. His kind words are amazing!

"I was on the flight from Tokyo to JFK on 8/13 on which your YPC group was returning from Japan. Despite my initial misgivings when I saw a large group of high schoolers getting onto the plane--sleep being the only consolation on such a long flight--I was quickly turned around: your singers were impressively mature, kind, and thoughtful with one another and were a pleasure to be around. A young woman sitting near me, Ms. Roman, was a natural leader of the sort so rarely seen. What a fantastic group of kids!

Whatever your organization is doing, it's doing it right.



Thursday, August 19, 2010

Responses from Japanese Audiences!

Even though we're back from Japan, YPC choristers and staff alike continue to reminisce about the concerts and cultural experiences. And, the Min-On Concert Association has added to the memories by sending translations of some audience responses at different concerts! Read on...

"I felt refreshed and invigorated after the concert with their youthful and lively voices. They made me feel peace of the world transcending racial and ethnic differences." - Female in her 50’s, Kurashiki concert

"Even though I did not understand the lyrics they were singing, I was really able to enjoy the music. I had such a wonderful time with their beautiful, youthful and refreshing sounds which made me feel so happy. I felt like visiting New York City." - Female in her 30’s, Kurashiki concert

"The energy of the youth and beautiful harmony overwhelmed me. If such teenagers reach out with each other going hand in hand to the cause of world peace beyond national boundaries, religious and ethnic differences, we can make this world a wonderful place." - Female in her 40’s, Tokyo concert

"I had a strong impression that YPC is the choral group which spreads the message of peace throughout the whole world. I was moved by the hearts in their chorus. I thought I wanted to go to New York to listen once again." - Male in his teens, Tokyo concert

"Their vocals reached deep in my heart. It must have been so difficult just to learn all these Japanese words, and yet they sang “Furusato” and “Natsu no Omoide” with much feeling, so beautifully that I could almost see the scenic images in my mind. The choreography was also wonderful. I was deeply impressed with their excellent singing of a variety of songs in many different languages. YPC IS the best!" - Male in his 50’s, Tokyo concert

"I was exhausted by the killing heat when I arrived, but their refreshing voices healed me so much. I was able to enjoy the concert through to the end with no break and lots of entertaining factors. Also impressed with their sincerity as they challenged themselves to communicate in Japanese. Please come back again and I will definitely come see you!" - Female in her 40’s, Tokyo concert

"Wonderful! Excellent! I was completely moved! Thank you so much for your wonderful vocals and dynamic youthful spirits which you, the youth, can only share with the audience. I wish that each of you will lead a wonderful life toward the future as well as continue doing such performances to entertain audiences. Thank you once again for sharing your youthful energy with us." - Female in her 50’s, Tokyo concert

"The whole stage was brimming with their youthful energy. Maybe that derives from a sense of joy and appreciation of the founder and artistic director Mr. Nunez. Thank you so very much! - Male in his 70’s, Tokyo concert

"I was very happy when they gave many encores. I could understand how beautiful their voices were because I also sing in a chorus group. Thank you and I wish you all continued success." - Nine-year-old girl, Tokyo concert

"This was my second time to enjoy the YPC concert. I was especially impressed with the boys’ chorus in Tshotshotloza. I will look forward to the next concert!" - Male in his 60’s, Tokyo concert

"The concert began with a cappella pieces which I enjoyed fully with their exquisite vocals. Japanese songs were also beautifully sang which made me wonder if even Japanese could sing them with that much feeling. More energetic songs and performances followed towards the end, giving me so much power and energy. All in all it was such an enjoyable time that I was able to have." - Female in her 60’s, Tokyo concert

"Their chorus was so nice and comfortable to hear, and I wished I could keep listening forever. Please come back to Japan again!" - Girl in her teens, Tokyo concert

"It was wonderful, maybe because the conductor’s personality penetrated through each of the children's hearts and minds. Thank you all so very much, I was able to enjoy from the bottom of my heart music from all over the world with their powerful vocals and energetic dances." - Female in her 50’s, Tokyo concert

"That’s amazing!! You guys are so beautiful!! It’s more, not just “more”, MUCH MUCH more than expected!! I could feel what the world peace is!! Many people understand what you wanted to tell them as YOUTH!! Please keep your youthful heart forever and let’s make world peace together!! Thank you so much!! Love ya!!" - Female in her 20’s, originally written in English, Tokyo concert

Finally, a response from the Cultural Lecture Workshop at Min-On in Tokyo:

"I was excited to come to this workshop today. As I am personally interested in education through music, both the talk and their actual singing deeply impressed me. Their beautiful Japanese singing was a pleasant surprise. The YPC’s history, especially the struggles in its pioneering days that Mr. Nunez shared with us inspired me so much! So encouraging to hear that. I could also learn the huge potential that each individual has. Thank you for sharing with us how YPC has become what it is now. You made me feel like starting doing something for myself, too. Wonderful workshop!"

The YPC Family

This Summer's trip to Japan was a special one. When we arrived we were not sure if we were prepared to do one concert, let alone 14. The first concert was not as strong as we wanted, and we made a promise to our selves to strive for excellence from then on. That's exactly what we did.

Every concert from concert number two lived up to our expectations and many went beyond. The japanese culture only added to the wonderful experience. From the castles, the generous people that we faced everyday, to taking my pet deer for a walk... no big deal.

Honestly though, on this trip I grew close to so many people. We all had our ups and downs but what it all came down to was the music, and it was on that common ground
on which we became closer. As a senior the last few moments of this trip were the hardest. The last dress rehearsal, the last concert, and the last applause. They were all really tough. The hardest of it all though is leaving my family, the people who I've grown to love and share some of the best memories with. This experience, this organization and these people will be in my heart forever.

PS - Music is my life!

- Aneesa

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Japan: A Cornerstone

Joining this chorus three years ago, I never expected to be sitting in a hotel room in Japan, after performing in 12 concerts over the course of one month. When I found out in the Spring that I was going to Japan, I was shocked and excited. I had no idea what to expect from this trip, aside from the fact that it would be an amazing experience.

And I was right. This past month has been such a whirlwind experience that has taught me so much about myself and about others. I also learned so much about Japan and the Japanese culture. Learning about a culture so rich as the Japanese culture has broadened my mind and has made me consider a lot of new things in my life. From learning and experiencing the Japanese lifestyle first-hand to growing closer to my fellow choristers, I have grown stronger as a musician and as a person.

A month is a fairly long time, and I have taken advantage of the situation by getting to know choristers I didn’t really know, to growing closer to the ones I knew well. The YPC is a place where many different people come from various walks of life to do one thing: sing. By singing, we give back to the people, as well as giving them hope for peace in the future. Every time we step on that stage and sing our first note, I realize the impact we are making. Being in this chorus has changed my life, and being on this trip has been a major cornerstone in my life that I will never forget.

- Maya

Musings on Japan; A Collection of Haikus

Outside of the train

Rice is planted everywhere

It looks nice in breeze

Tokyo Giants

The Yankees don’t stand a chance

Up against their team

The vending machine

Omnipresent in Japan

Dispensing all things

Tokyo Dome Hotel

It’s a Dome away from home

The breakfast is swell

The American breakfast…

Eggs eggs eggs eggs eggs bacon

Toast and a croissant

Japanese Breakfast

Fish fish fish fish Miso Soup

Pickled ev’rything

Soup tastes like ocean

Everything is salty

Sometimes even fruit

Into the turnout

To shake hands and greet people

And accept strange gifts

William, James, and Charlie

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

An Educated Artist

Right now I am on a Plane to Sapporo for our second to last concert. It’s hard to believe that our tour is coming to an end. This month has flown by, and I guess it goes to show that time flies when you’re having fun. It feels like just yesterday that we arrived to the Tokyo Dome Hotel, where we were greeted by members of the Min-On Concert Association.

I have learned a lot about myself and my voice on this trip; I learned that I am capable of absorbing a new culture, and embracing it instead of combating it. Japanese culture is different, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn to love it. Especially coming from New York City, it’s very interesting to see and experience the minimalist, yet beautiful culture of Japan. I especially loved going to the Zen Garden and Buddhist temples.

I have also learned and experienced first hand how your voice is an instrument, and just like all instruments it must be maintained and taken great care of to sound as pristine as possible. If you don’t take care of it, it will degrade. I have been lucky enough to have not lost my voice during our month here, but on certain days that I felt it going, I had to adjust my daily routine to bring it back to 100%. That involves getting extra sleep, rest throughout the day, and not talking as much and as heavily as usual.

It’s amazing that our tour in Japan 2010 is almost over, but it has changed me as a person, and is an experience that I will remember for the rest of my life. Thank you to Min-On again - We love you! Also thanks to all the staff and parents supporting us back home and here in Japan. See you in New York! Sayonara!

-Christopher H.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Music Makes our Greatest Connections

The Japanese language is an utter mystery to me. It is difficult enough to be in any country where your native tongue is not used, but Japan is another story—we don’t even share an alphabet! Sure, airports and train stations have English translations, and hotels and tourist traps will usually provide some broken English phrases, but when we are given the opportunity to go out for dinner and truly immerse ourselves in Japanese culture, we more often than not find ourselves pointing madly at pictures and mooing, squawking, or oinking to determine whether the meat in question is beef, chicken, or pork.

Just the other night, a group of us found a tiny, authentic restaurant in Tokyo. We took off our shoes and shut ourselves into a chamber with tatami mats.

We picked up the menu, only to realize that there was not a single familiar word and no pictures to accompany the long lines of characters. We frantically listed dishes to our waiter, who just shook his head. At last, a fellow customer approached, offering his aid. He ordered us a feast of foods that we did not recognize. We were adventurous and tried everything—it ended up being one of the greatest meals I’ve had on the trip. However, it just goes to show that, without someone to help you along, language barriers can impede on the best and most fulfilling experiences.

In the past week or so, we have met many Japanese people: we have done two exchanges with Japanese schoolchildren and have presented a workshop at the Min-On Culture Center. At each of these occasions, we have attempted to communicate with the people on our own but relied heavily on expert translators to render speeches from Japanese to English, and vice versa.

Proper communication here can be strenuous, to say the least. But once the formalities are over and the music begins, we are finally able to begin a conversation that comes directly from our hearts. At our two exchanges thus far, we sang for each other and then sang the piece “Tegami” together. There we were, groups of children from completely different parts of the world, able to make music together. Some of us found tears rolling down our cheeks—all cultural and language barriers had been thrown aside, forgotten, and we were simply singing.

In our concerts, we walk into the aisles during “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and our encore, “Oye.” The majority of the people cannot express in words that we understand what the concert has meant to them. They shake our hands profusely, but the most meaningful moment comes when they join in the music, clapping and dancing along, and even lifting their own voices. It is through the music that we make our greatest connections.

At our workshop, someone asked how we YPC choristers are tolerant towards each other in a group of such diversity. To me, the answer is simple: music cuts across the divides of race and tongue. YPC choristers have a passion that allows us to come together with one another and with the world at large. Music is the greatest ambassador and the best translator. At the end of our concerts, we sing “Imagine,” imagining that one day, “the world will live as one.” In those moments when we are all singing together, it seems that the world truly is as one.

- Solveig

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A Day in the Life of YPC...

Konbanwa, I am currently on a bus, coming from Okaya, where we had our concert, to our beloved Tokyo Dome Hotel, YPC’s home base here in Japan. Right now we are celebrating our successful night, in true YPC style, singing and listening to someone’s ipod, the way we do if we don’t have a concert the next day, of course.

We have every right to celebrate, too. This afternoon alone we took a bus, to a plane, to a bus, to a train, to a bus, to a concert, and finally a long bus ride back to Tokyo. Although last year’s Japan tour has made me a very tolerant traveler, I was still exhausted and jarred by today’s combination travel and concert day! But in order to fully understand your child or friend’s journey, one must begin this story from the beginning…at least the way mine began…

My roommate, Dani, and I set her phone for 6 am, 30 minutes before the mass wakeup call. Unfortunately, because of last nights nearly equally difficult travel/concert day, I didn’t hear the alarm and Dani went back to sleep.

So, we woke up at the wakeup call. After showering and packing our duffle bags for the day’s trip, we went down to a delicious breakfast. I ate rice and udon, the region’s specialty. After the meal, we rushed back upstairs, so as not to make the acquaintance of the dreaded dollar rule. After anxiously waiting for the elevator, then sitting in the lobby, we began our day’s journey.

We took the first bus to the airport, I read and pondered what the day would bring us. It was only a short ride, so we soon found ourselves at the airport. We were informed about the tightness of our schedule and were encouraged to buy the day’s lunch at a store in the airport, something along the lines of a Family Mart, Sunkus, or 7/11. While there is rarely ever a shortage of delicious food in Japan, this particular store did not have particularly tasty options. After several minutes of deliberation, I finally chose a Cup Noodle, being under the impression

that there would be hot water on the train… nah, you would have thought….

Anyway, we boarded the plane, anywhere between 10 and 11 am. Although, don’t take my word for it. For me, at least, I never really know where I am or where we are going, I just go where they tell me; it creates a level of mystique, some might say. But once again, I digress. I spent the plane ride reading, and experiencing the unique sensation of being on a JAL aircraft.

Before I knew it, it was time to get on a bus to go to the station, thus beginning the next stage of our epic journey. For reasons still unknown to me, we got off the bus, like, 20 minutes away from where we were actually going. It was a little too hot for that kind of walking, with our backpacks, and duffels. While waiting in the shady shelter of the station we were informed that there was an accident, and the trains were held up. We would have to wait another hour for the train. We were supposed to board at 1, but we got on closer to 2 pm. The ride was two and a half hours long - we would be late for our dress, and many questioned if we would even make our 6:30 p.m. call. Well, after quite some time, the train came, it was cleaned, and we got on. I sat next to my good friend, John Hadfield, YPC’s guest percussionist. After nearly two hours of conversation, he took a nap, and once again, I read. I was getting hungry; I assume because I hadn’t eaten since 7,

I asked an attendant pushing a cart of drinks and snacks if she had any hot water. She gave me a horrified look, and said “noooooo”, with undertones of shock and disbelief. My noodles would have to wait until the concert hall….

When the train pulled into the station we all hurried off the train, and into the next bus, which would take us to our concert. After getting to the concert hall we did a short warm up, taped our places for the concert, ate dinner, and finally got dressed and ready for the


When we walked on stage, we noticed that there were a few more empty seats than we were used to. Everything ran smoothly, and despite that fact that the audience was not sold out or even full we still gave our best first half, or classical and more “choral” act. Excited about this fact, we gave an exuberant second half, the choreographed/ gospel set. We did very well, and we are all very proud. After the concert we began the process of laundry and got on the bus to take us back to Tokyo.

Now we are in present time. I am still on the bus, miraculously still excited and awake. Such is the life of an YPC chorister on tour in Japan.

- Hannah

Friday, August 6, 2010

Sayonara is Not a Sad Word

We’re on our way to Fukuyama, but we’re landing in Hiroshima first. It’s such an overwhelming feeling to be visiting such a significant place in history. I’m also excited to be visiting the Itsukushima Shrine - a shrine on the water!

Last nights concert was great - as I was talking to Caroline after the concert, we shared thoughts on the concert and we agreed that it was so powerful to touch someone in such a great way. When we went into the audience for Bridge Over Troubled Water, people got up out of their seats and shook our hands with such excitement and joy. As I went over to one section in the audience, I shook a man’s hand and gave high fives to the children, and it was a great feeling

to celebrate being there with and for one another.

In the song "Yell" that we perform, "Sayonara is not a sad word" is what the piece says. It is so nice to think of this because I was feeling sad about leaving as a senior, but it reminded me that this is another chapter and we can always stay connected.

- Monica

Thursday, August 5, 2010


This morning we held a meeting with Onoyama-San to discuss how our experiences in Japan and culture lessons have impacted our performances and ways of thinking. I thought about how the Japanese believe that the word “nothing” signifies both emptiness and the possibility of many things to come. Onoyama-San related this concept to birth, when we are born with nothing, and how throughout life we are filled with knowledge, feelings, and experiences. Likewise, Alphea noted that we all appreciated the delicious Okayama peaches we ate yesterday so much more because we forced ourselves to clear our heads of all external thoughts, and only concentrate on the shape, smell, and feel of the fruit. If you empty your head and think about nothing, your mind can absorb so much more knowledge and emotion than you could with all the events
and troubles of the day clogging your thoughts. I can still see and taste that peach much more clearly than the two bananas I ate at breakfast a few hours ago. Monica reflected that by emptying her mind, and living in the moment during our concerts, she enjoyed singing each song much more because her mind wasn’t constantly racing to the next act or dance move.
I also thought about the dis-concern and the frustration at the lack of integration and acceptance in the world. At the workshop we held at Min-On headquarters, Francisco explained to the audience his personal goal of bringing children of all cultures and backgrounds together through music. I never really thought about the racial and socio-economic differences among the kids in YPC. When I first joined the chorus, all I was concerned about was singing and sounding as good as my neighbor. In rehearsal, everyone has music in common and everyone is working towards the same goal, so it’s very easy to make friends. You don’t think see a Hispanic or a Muslim, just a musician. So during the speech, I was feeling pretty good about myself, thinking “yeah, diversity’s no biggie for me, everyone in YPC is so accepting and progressive and we’re already changing the world, and….” Then I thought about my school, and the rest of my neighborhood, and how so many people in the world don’t have a YPC to make them more aware of how divided the world really is. People in America like to build fences and stick to what they know. In the cafeteria at school, most non-white students sit together at their own table, and everyone thinks this is normal and understandable. I mean, they’re different, right? In YPC, you don’t choose whom you sit next to; if you’re a tenor, you sit with the tenors. I wish our culture saw things as open-mindedly as YPC, Onoyama-San, and Min-On. They see what people have in common, music, and not what makes us “different.”
- Jared

Thinking of Others

I said I was going to reinvent myself this summer. Interesting enough I stopped trying and a change has already began to seep through. I stepped on this island expecting it to be like it was last year, but as time went on I learned it was not. I had to accept new challenges and create an entirely different atmosphere. Although Onayama- San’s messages are always vital to one’s life this one today was the one I needed to hear. She addressed many topics, but they were a few that stuck out to me.

Mrs. Onayama-San explained to us today that she believes America is a “me mentality.” I examined my own life and realized there were a few apologies I had to make; in many ways I always think about myself. A key point that she made that stuck out to me was: “If you think about the other person’s next move or the situation ahead you are ready for what may come.” My double interpretation was if I stop thinking about only what I can do to benefit myself and start thinking about others more life would go a lot smoother.

She then showed us the peaches she has purchased for us. She held the peach like a crown jewel in her hand, and demanded that we smelled them before we ate them.

To the average American this seems silly. However, she explained that every moment counts if you just dive into the peach the moment is gone and you did not take full advantage of it. In smelling the peach and clearing your senses before you eat it you then have the memory of not just how good it was but how good it smelled and felt also. Once again a bigger meaning and interpretation filled my head.

The Japanese take pride in everything that they put their mind to. As Francisco- San always tells us that “the little things is what they pay attention to and master.” I should now take pride, time, and my all into everything I put my mind to. I thought this to myself but was still fuzzy as to how I should go about this. As divine fate would have it this was simply demonstrated to me by fellow chorister, Zara. We were making cranes and she was extremely frustrated that she could not get the hang of it. She sat down crossed her legs and began to intricately fold the piece of paper.

She made sure every corner matched and was neatly folded, and by the time she finished she had basically mastered the art of crane making. Something so simple taught me such a big lesson. I am entering college and plan to major in International Political Economy & Diplomacy. I was told that I needed something to make me stand out - I have now found it! Excellence and success does not only come from being the best, but from taking every aspect of that one thing and mastering every small detail - the BIG things are not always what may be important.

- Alphea

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tokyo Giants vs. Nagoya Dragons!

In an exhausted daze, we piled onto the bus after what had been a successful concert in Kanazawa. When everyone was seated, our on-staff Min-On representative, Mr. Yokomatsu, stood up, poised to make a speech. As Naoko-san swiftly translated sections of his message, we began to understand that we were about to be given a gift. Last year, around the same point in the trip, Min-On and founder Dr. Ikeda presented us with an award for our efforts: a day in Tokyo Disneyland. We could only imagine what our surprise would be this year, and sat on the edge of our seats, trying to pick out words and phrases in Mr. Yokomatsu’s speech before they could be translated. After what seemed like an eternity of formalities, Mr. Yokomatsu made the big reveal: in three days we would be attending a Tokyo Giants baseball game! I make no exaggeration when I say that every chorister practically shot out of their seat in excitement, clapping and shouting. Everyone expressed an earnestly appreciative “arigato gozaimasu” to Mr. Yokomatsu before he took his seat.

Three days later, after a day of intensive traveling consisting of two buses and a plane, we arrived at the Tokyo Dome Hotel with twenty minutes to change for the game. Tired but excited, we rushed back down to the lobby and headed toward the Dome—which if you haven’t gathered already, is on the hotel grounds!

The Tokyo Dome is massive, and looking out at the Stadium from our seats in particular (which were great, by the way) was pretty awe-inspiring. Thousands of people, dressed up in orange to support their home team, eagerly awaited the game.

As the first inning began, we became aware that rooting for your team at a game in Japan is a little different than in America. The Japanese show support for their players through all-out, individual choreographed cheers for each player. We made a game out of trying to learn the chants and accompanying motions, and were once again reminded of the Japanese

fondness for precision.

Throughout the game, lively groups of spectators were projected up onto the scoreboard screen. I had a feeling that it was only a matter of time before our diverse group of Americans were spotted and chosen. Sure enough, halfway through the game, we made it up there, dancing and cheering. Corny as it may seem, I felt a sense of pride watching our happy faces pan across the screen.


Sunday, August 1, 2010

YPC Re-Cap!

This past week with YPC on our tour in Japan has been interesting, fun and varied. On Monday we had performance #3 in Kyoto. Along with having a great concert that night, we also saw some interesting people in the audience.

First off, the Zen Master that facilitated our meditation the day earlier was there, along with his friend, both dressed in their robes. Additionally, we saw a man sitting in center orchestra that we thought was Japanese composer Ko Matsushita. It turns out it was another man that we recognized from when we had a visit from the Youth Theatre of Japan in New York City this past Spring. Rumor has it that Ko-san will becoming to one of our concerts shortly – it just goes to show that we never know who will be in the audience on any given night, and we must always be ready!

After the concert that night, we were pleasantly surprised by a boy from the Youth Theatre of Japan who was wearing an “I love YPC” t-shirt, and gave us each handmade bookmarks saying “YPC + YTJ” after the concert that night. It meant so much to us and me personally that someone would make us each handmade presents like that. It really helps put in perspective the influence we have on people.

On Tuesday, we had another fantastic concert at Act City in Hamamatsu. This city we were told

was famous for its music, including Yamaha and Kawai pianos. It was clearly evident when we got to the hotel, which had music themed flooring, décor, elevators and bathrooms.

On Wednesday we performed in Kanazawa, and it was just an awesome concert. The hall was huge, the audience loved it, and we had total synergy on stage. After we felt pumped up, celebrated for 20 minutes, but then remembered that we have nine more concerts, and tried not to kill our voices.famous for its music, including Yamaha and Kawai pianos. It was clearly evident when we got to the hotel, which had music themed flooring, décor, elevators and bathrooms.

Thursday was a travel day by plane and bus back to the Tokyo Dome Hotel. After arriving we were quickly off to a Tokyo Giants game, a gift to us from Min-On. Even though the Giants lost 3-2 to the Nagoya Dragons (the 2nd best team by the way), it was still tons of fun. We all got food, Giants gear, and wore all the Giants jerseys we bought. After the game we headed back across the street to our hotel and crashed into bed in our rooms.

Friday we headed on over to Sony Music Studios in Tokyo and recorded a few Japanese songs and other tracks for our new CD. We got to meet the Chairman of Sony Music, who was in the control room when we recorded, which was very cool. Also for me personally, it was an amazing experience to see Sony Studios because I hope to be a part of a record company one day, and some day run my own.

Saturday we did a workshop at Min-On’s headquarters in Tokyo and it went well. Francisco told stories of YPC’s beginnings and answered questions from Min-On and the audience, we sang a few songs including Tshotsholoza with the boot dance, and left for the musical instrument museum there. We saw antique working pianos including one played by Beethoven’s student, and left back for the hotel.

I expect the days ahead of us to go fast. Coming up in our schedule are three concerts, travel day, three concerts, travel day, three concerts, and flight back to New York. Hard stuff, but exciting. I am especially excited for Yokohama, which I heard is a beautiful concert hall. I look forward to the rest of the tour in this beautiful country, and I am sure that we will go home feeling a sense of uncomparable accomplishment, and appreciation for other cultures. I can’t wait to come back to Japan when I am older and show my family what I experienced on this tour. Go YPC!

- Chris H.