Thirty-six lucky Scouts and Guides in Bedfordshire, including three in Dunstable, are preparing for a World Scout Jamboree in the magical land of the rising sun.
In 18 months time they will be jetting off on a 6,000 mile trip to spend three weeks with an army of 30,000 other Scouts from around the world on the Pacific coast of western Japan. Among them will be Charlotte Jackson, Harry Britten-Nolan and Liam Thingsaker from Dunstable.
Before then they will be training to cope with a new life, new foods and new customs.
At a recent training weekend they juggled with chopsticks, played Japanese Monopoly and tried Japanese cuisine of raw fish. They also practised how to get three dozen lively young people onto a bullet train in under two minutes complete with all their kit.
Coming up will be how to cope with occasional earthquakes and summer rain that drenches in seconds. But they will have a chance to see exotic birdlife, unusual plants and strange buildings and temples.
As part of the Jamboree preparations, they will be doing dozens of fundraising activities to cover the £3,400 individual cost. Part of this sum will go towards a solidarity fund aimed at enabling Scouts from the developing world to attend.
Charlotte,14, from the 4th Dunstable Scout Group, said: “It’s a dream come true. Scouting has given me so many opportunities but this is something else.
“We are learning loads of new things like the Japanese language and how to bow when you meet people. I also want to meet as many foreign Scouts as I can to find out how they cope and what they do.”