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Community & Clubs: American, Japanese students bond

October 05, 2010|Jim de Boom

At a Friday morning school assembly, Corona del Mar Middle School welcomed six students, an elementary school vice principal and a school board member visiting from Okazaki, Japan. The CdM students and their counterparts from Okazaki, one of Newport Beach's international sister cities, entertained one another through music and dance, and they exchanged gifts during lunch. Afterward, the Japanese delegation toured classes and learned about the differences between schools in California and Japan.

On Tuesday night, the Rotary Club of Newport Balboa was to host the Okazaki students and their American host families to a barbecue of hamburgers and hot dogs, as well as a pumpkin carving at the Environmental Nature Center in Newport Beach. The Japanese students were to have spent the day on a Rotary-led tour of of Newport Beach.

The student exchange program with Okazaki was started in 1982 by the late Newport-Balboa Rotarians Moe Hamill and Wendell Fish with the Rotary Club of Okazaki South. With the encouragement and leadership of Hamill and Fish and then Councilwoman Evelyn Hart, the Newport Beach City Council approved the creation of Newport Beach Sister City Assn. and the adoption of Okazaki, Japan as a Sister City in 1984. Shortly thereafter, Rotarians from Okazaki South presented and dedicated a Japanese Granite Lantern, located in Irvine Terrace Park, to the citizens of Newport Beach, and the city of Okazaki dedicated a granite statue, titled "Friends," at the Newport Beach Public Library.

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Since 1984, the Newport Beach Sister City Assn., in conjunction with the Newport-Balboa Rotary Club, has annually selected four to six junior high school students for a 10-day summertime trip to Okazaki. After visiting Japan in July, the group of local students then hosts students visiting from Okazaki in October. Okazaki, which is about 200 miles from Tokyo, is the birthplace of Japan's first Shogun, Ieyasu Tokugawa. The city is best known for its stonework, miso, fireworks, and centers for the automobile, chemical and textile industries. Throughout the years, hundreds of various representatives from each city, City Council members, Rotarians, firefighters, teachers and students have enjoyed one another's hospitality through these inter-cultural exchanges.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

"People do not seem to realize that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character." — Ralph Waldo Emerson

SERVICE CLUB MEETINGS THIS WEEK

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