Japanese classes travel to Japan

Danny Kummer, Sectional Editor

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The 1st half of the 28th annual Japanese Exchange program ended on March 18 with the exchange students heading back to Japan.

The second half of the exchange will occur the Sunday after finals when some of the students in Japanese classes at Elk Grove will travel to Japan and stay with the student’s family who they had hosted. The students who came from Japan attend Ashikodai High School, a Buddhist affiliated high school.

The first actual exchange happened in 1989, and students were paired up with the Japanese students they were hosting the year before.

This year, aside from being with their hosts and at Elk Grove, the Japanese Exchange students had the opportunity to see such things as the skydeck at the Willis Tower, a Bulls’ Game and the Museum of Science and Industry.

While at Elk Grove, the Japanese students cooked with Japanese classes, visited several classes throughout the day, and learned what it is like to go to an American high school. In particular, visited some technical and music classes throughout their two week stay.

“They [the hosts] have the best experience because they are with these students for two full weeks,’ said Cliff Darnall, the sponsor of the exchange program.

A total of 12 Japanese students and 2 teachers came to Elk Grove to stay with host families, whose children attend Elk Grove Japanese classes.

Junior Ian Warrington’s family has been hosting Japanese students every year since he was in seventh grade. His sister had been hosting before he became a student at Elk Grove.

“Meeting new people from a different part of the world, and learning what they do in their culture,” were some of the things Warrington was most looking forward to during the exchange.

Warrington, also deciding to visit Japan this year, wants to learn more about the Japanese culture on his next step in the exchange. He is preparing a speech for when he goes to Japan to talk to some of the kids there.

Along with this speech, information about their culture is one of the biggest things he is trying to learn before the trip, as society very different in Japan. The whole group of students leaving to Japan will visit multiple shrines and schools, modern Tokyo and the ancient Capital of Japan, Kamakoda.

Darnall added that “it’s a chance to get away from home for a couple weeks and really explore.”