In looking through old entries in Triumphs & Tribulations, I came across the September 6 entry in Volume IX. It was a Sunday morning and I wrote how I felt absolutely exhausted after spending the entirety of the previous day as a chaperone for a field trip with the teens from my church. That brings me to this week’s moment in the Flashback Friday series: the Miraikan trip with the FCF teens.
How I first came across this moment? The idea for the field trip with the teens at Faith Christian Fellowship Worship Center was all me. I had visited the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation—better known as Miraikan— in the Spring of 2008, during a scouting trip in Odaiba. I was fascinated by the venue and the exhibits. I visited twice more in 2008 and as the Summer of 2009 was winding down, I spoke with the First Lady of the church about taking the teens there. She was onboard as long as the parents were OK with it. I sweetened the deal by agreeing to cover all costs. The parents were cool with it and we had a couple of other adults tag along as chaperones…one of them famous for her “banjo” moment. We all convened on September 5, 2009 in the credit union parking lot at Yokota Air Base and took the trains from Fussa out to Odaiba. We arrived at the Miraikan and after paying to get in, all 9 of us—the 6 teens and 3 adult chaperones—went about learning about new and innovative science.
What it meant to me then? Despite feeling it the next day, I was actually quite pleased with having gone through with the field trip. We spent about 3 hours inside of Miraikan, where we learned a lot and tested a lot of the exhibits. I especially remember how I felt when I used the computer to mix DNA samples to create something new. In addition to the Miraikan, we visited DECKS Tokyo Beach and Palette Town before eating at TGI Friday’s in Shinagawa. On the train ride back from the city, we all had fun busting jokes and doing dances while trying to keep balance on the fully-loaded trains.
What it means to me now? A whole 10 years later, all of those teens are adults now. I’m pretty sure they don’t even remember the moment…at least not the way I remember it. However, that doesn’t stop me from still appreciating it as a great experience. It was only my 2nd time as a chaperone for anything, having been one of the volunteer chaperones at an overnight sleepover for the teens at church a few months earlier. The experience, while rewarding, was taxing though. Even though I was a young, very healthy 24 years old, those teens had far too much juice in their batteries. I can’t do that again. I’m not built for that.