After coming back to Chicago from Japan Trek 2018—the experience of a lifetime—I received one email. It said: “Dear Atsushi, We had such a wonderful time in Japan and you put in so much effort it was just wonderful and we cannot say thank you enough for all your energy. Thank you.” It was sent by the Japan Trek participants with a gift card.
I was so excited that I immediately showed it to the other Trek leaders, and realized they had also received the same message! What more could I ask for as a Trek leader?
While there were some challenges to organize the trek, it was an incredibly rewarding experience. The thank you note reminded me of what made the trip so special. Although this could be self-applauding, the beauty of the Japan Trek truly came from the diversity of experiences of the trek leaders and how well we worked together.
Yuji, Taka, Tai, Nao, Ryo and I started planning the trek in September of 2017.
At first, the ambitious itinerary included wearing Kimonos, singing Karaoke, watching Sumo wrestling, having a Japanese- style party at Onsen (a traditional Japanese hotel with hot springs), visiting Hiroshima, and exploring the Tokyo nightlife. However, based on the feedback survey from last year’s participants, we revised the plan over and over again, right up until the last minute. Here’s a taste of how it all panned out as well as a bit more about how my fellow trek leaders remained outstanding throughout the experience.
First there was Yuji, who used to work in a Japanese trading company. Yuji, The Party Boy, educated all the trek participants on how to master the Japanese-style revelry traditions. By the end of the day, everyone was shouting “Love&Peace!” in unison as we cheers-ed. He was also the choreographer of our Japanese-style Spiderman dance, which we performed at our first Karaoke party.
Then there was Taka, whose attention to detail is unparalleled. He always caught potential risks and managed them before they became issues. We were able to offer many tours, dinners, and experience-based activities to Boothies because he organized everything in a detailed spreadsheet to keep track of all of the plans.
I have never met a person whose sense of responsibility is stronger than Tai’s. No matter how late it was, he went wherever the participants wanted to go, in order to ensure they were enjoying the trek. Even when we got back to the hotel late and only had 4 hours of sleep, he never failed to wake up one hour before leaving to make time for breakfast! Once he learned what my favorite Onigiri (Rice-ball) was, he started to bring breakfast for me too!!
Since Nao was the only guy from Kyoto, he led us to the great restaurants, the best clubs, fantastic Japanese- style bars, yummy ramen shops, and a fabulous arcade in Kyoto. Nao and Tai were also the liaison between Japan club and Michi Travel, a travel agency in Japan founded by Booth alumni.
Ryo was a great MC for the Farewell party and led the Kamakura tour, which is his hometown. In addition, he and Yuji shot a movie with his new GoPro, which we played at the Farewell Party on the last day!
Nonetheless, it is 200% indisputable that this dream trek would not have been anything without its marvelous participants! Had any of them been absent, we would not have been able to create this amazing experience. Thank you to every one of our great leaders and participants!
May the Booth force be with you!
It’s no surprise the winner of this year’s Spring Break photo contest was Team Japan! Here is the winning photo of Boothies singing karaoke in kimonos!
And don’t forget to check out other places Boothies traveled this Spring Break!