This week six upper Rogue families were honored is a special way. They were chosen to host two Japanese students each. These students were the best of the best out of Showa, Japan (Eagle Point’s sister city). The students are 14-15 years old and in the 9th grade in Showa. The kids have to do extra work in and out of school to be selected to come on this trip, and they only get to come one time.
My husband and I were among these lucky families, we had two young ladies stay in our home. The girls were entertaining, polite, gracious and just a pleasure to have in our home. We learned as much from them as they learned from us. . I am certain each of the other families would say the same thing.
While us not speaking their language and them not speaking ours made things a challenge, we overcame with the help of Google Translater and a lot of hand gestures. It just made the visit that much more interesting and fulfilling when we actually got things understood by both sides.
The group has a busy schedule while they were here. The schedule did have to be changed a bit because of the intense smoke in some areas. They arrived on Saturday and Sunday was a day to get to know their hosts. Monday started with them going to Ashland and the Art Museum. They did some hands on projects, toured the town then had dinner at the Olive Garden.
Tuesday took them to the Rogue Valley Mall where they shopped and had lunch followed by bowling at Lava Lanes and dinner at Miguel’s in Eagle Point. Some of the group went to play soccer, while others went to swim and Cascade Pool. Our two girls went to National Night Out in Eagle Point.
Wednesday had them meeting with District 9 personnel and the Eagle Point City Council. Then it was off to the river to enjoy some rafting. That evening the students, dressed in their Japanese fashions of brightly colored material, prepared a Japanese feast for the host families and others at the River House in Shady Cove. The menu included tempura, some sort of breaded octopus, fresh fruit salad, pounded rice and soup among other things. An interesting dinner that we all enjoyed. They also played Japanese games and performed a dance for us. One of the chaperones is a radio personality in Japan and she broadcasted her show to Japan from the River House via satellite phone.
Thursday took the group to Crater Lake, Walmart and the Texas Roadhouse for dinner. Friday was the day for moving on to San Francisco, our girls were excited for the adventure but were sad to be leaving us. They had enjoyed the visit, learned much about American ways and the language.
The program is centered around peacekeeping and each of our countries learning about the other. A wonderful experience that I would repeat and would invite others to become involved with. The program locally is organized by Terri Rennick, a teacher at White Mountain Middle School, if you would like to be involved I am sure she would welcome your help.
By Kathy Sell
Of the Independent