• A  few last pre-departure notes

    As I'm scurrying around today trying to get everything ready, a few last reminders came to  mind that I may not have mentioned since the first meeting,
    • Please put my cell phone number in your phone right now.  It is 208 954-1436.  No, don't come back to it, do it right now.  Good .  Now you have one way to contact me if you get lost in Denver, Tokyo, Shingu, Kyoto, etc.
    • Be sure to take a journal/diary -  you will absolutely want to remember a lots of things- places, names, addresses, and especially things that happened and who you were with.  You wil think this will be easy... however, the next two weeks will be a whirlwind. You really have no idea what is about to hit you.  Most students take time every single night to note down where they went that day and what they did, who they met, etc.  its very easy to get behind and things will get jumbled quickly, especially since you'll be pretty worn out at the end of most days, but it will be well worth it, I promise.
    • Be sure to take photos whenever appropriate- of each other, of places we go, but most importantly especially at the homestay, of the people you meet. You may never see them again, or they may come visit you someday, or you may wish to go visit Japan again someday and see them again.  get photos, write down names!
    • Maybe most importantly, leave your electronics alone.  You should NOT be staring at phones, iPads, or laptops ever, for English language entertainment, music, reading, etc. Your goal here is to soak up as much Japan as possible, and electronics can severely block that.  Worse, if you are with company, they will find you quite rude if you are not involved in reality with them.  That being said, phones are great tools for photos (obviously), uploading to our Facebook page (remember, I'll have a mobile hotspot), and translating words and phrases  with dictionaries  or even google translate (you may find that Optical Google Translate fun to play with- but never trust translators 100%). 
    • iPads and laptops are great for storing photos and typing journal entries, but can be pretty impractical for a lot of day-to-day stuff, not to mention the danger of theft and misplacing.  Of course, everyone has their own way of handling electronics- 
    Please call or text with questions you have today!  i may update as i come across other things today-
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  • Advice and Travel Tips

    Here are some tips from students who have completed the trip in prior years,  Click here. 


    and here are some travel tips.  Click here

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  • If you missed the last meeting-

    • We will have a final pre-departure get together at Idaho Pizza Company in Meridian on Monday, 6pm.
    • We will meet Thursday, June 13 at 6:00 AM at the Boise Airport in front of the United Airlines counter. Check at least 4 times to make sure you have your passport.
    • We will meet Markyla in Tokyo at the Olympic Village  (Markyla- email me if I forget to send a message about where we will meet)

    Please create a Facebook account if you don't have one and join our trip group at 


    Garrard 2019 Japan Trip



    We will use this for communication and posting pics throughout the trip, and as an archive afterwards.

    All participants and parents, please join the page.  Any interested relatives are welcome as well, but let's keep friends off until we get home in order to keep things uncluttered-

    • You will be able to exchange American cash at the airport in Tokyo.  Many students choose to bring half their money in cash, and half on a debit card or pre-loaded international card; others bring just cash, etc. If you will be using your debit card, please check with your bank to make sure the card will work specifically in Japan (not just "abroad"), and inform them of the dates of your trip so that they don't shut your card off when strange activity happens with it on the other side of the world.
    • For carrying money and passports securely, many students purchase a money belt or under the shirt "necklace" style travel wallet.  Whatever you decide, make sure you have a very secure way to carry your passport (you must carry it at all times).
    • Check with your cell phone carrier about functionality of your phone in Japan.  Some carriers will have special deals for travel in Japan and you can avoid extra costs.  I will also be carrying a mobile hotspot with me, so wifi should be no problem if i'm nearby.
    • Bring 3 pairs of shoes:
      • your street shoes, 
      • slippers or indoor shoes to be worn ONLY inside the school
      • gym shoes that have not been worn on the street (these may not be used- our connection was unsure)
    • Please review your student handbook carefully between now and departure. there is a link  below if you need it.
    • We discussed bathroom and bathing protocol.  You can watch these videos to get up to speed:
    ...and for an extensive lesson on public baths, click here.


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  • Online Translators


    Here is a link to reviews of some phone-based online translators.  Click here.

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  • Flight Plans!


    Here are our flight plans. These are the actual E-tickets.  If you have a passport, you can get on the plane.  Boom.


    I think Markyla has received a personal copy of her flight plan that will be easy for her to read (email me if you are having trouble, Markyla, and we'll figure it out or bug NP:J about it). It looks like you get to Tokyo before us and will have a minute or two to rest up. I'll have a look at the Olympic Villiage map, and send you a note about where and when we can meet you!  This will be awesome!!!

    For those of us here in Boise, what I'm seeing here is:


    Leave Boise Thursday, June 13 on the 8:00 AM flight (United Airlines Flight # UA1782V) for Denver.  Arrive 9:44 Denver time.

    Catch flight from Denver to Tokyo (UA143V).  It leaves Denver at 1:30 pm Denver time.

    Arrive TOKYO!!! 4:20pm Tokyo time. No weed jokes, please.  They will arrest you. 

    It will take a couple hours to get luggage, go through immigration, customs, etc. and do currency exchange at the airport and ride into Tokyo.

    See the link for return flight information.  We'll be arriving back in Boise Thursday, June 27 at 4:21 pm.




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  • Itinerary for Tokyo and Kyoto!!!


    This is tentative, but our days in the cities are for the most part fleshed out.  Hiroshima is on the list, but the actual times aren't nailed down yet, etc.  

    As you can see, almost every minute is accounted for.  I'd suggest you start doing some serious walking to get ready!!!

    Click here for our itinerary as of today, May 1st:


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  • Host School Information Revealed!!!


    1) Host School
    I’m happy to announce that our host school has been confirmed: Wakayama Kenritsu Shingu High School (https://goo.gl/maps/AP2ttTkUqnnngM5b8)
    Our host families are still being determined, but I will notify you as soon as I receive further updates.
    NP:J is working to incorporate the trip to Hiroshima. Right now, they are discussing the best logistics and when to work that in with our Kyoto trip. 
    Related image
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  • Insurance Websites


    Thanks to Carolyn Emerick for passing this on-  She was able to find the best choices for insurance at squaremouth.com

    "While going through the squaremouth.com site - I excluded the trip cancellation and have quotes starting from $11 that include interruption, and various levels of medical evac. and medical...."

    Here is that web address and a few others suggested by NP:J






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  • Student Handbook

    Here is a pdf of the student handbook in the event yours comes up missing (not talking about anyone in particular, Austin).

    The trip is getting closer every day, and I think you'll find particulars of the trip become more serious as we get closer to the date.  You can find the answers to many of your questions in the handbook.

    Insurance document(s)  (found in student handbook, pp. 17 and 18)  are due April 15

    Click here.


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  • Due Dates

    Insurance document(s)  (found in student handbook, pp. 17 and 18) due April 15


    Final payments are due  April 1  EDIT: The checks I received by April 1st were posted April 1st, certified mail to Seattle.  By my reckoning, everybody is all done.





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     Study Theme text


    Image result for japan


    You can download the study theme text for our trip and study it at will. Just click here on "Introduction to Japan."





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