Norwin School District welcomes Japanese students

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On Monday, the Norwin School District will welcome 23 Japanese students from Kyushu, Japan’s fourth-largest island.

They will be visiting the district for a few days as part of an exchange program sponsored by the Japan Foundation’s Kakehashi project. Kakehashi means “a bridge connecting two sides with differences,” according to a district press release.

Kyushu is home to Mount Aso, Japan’s most active volcano, and is known for its hot springs, cherry blossoms and waterfalls.

Scott Polen, AP world history teacher and a former Norwin Japanese teacher, said the program will give the visitors a chance to see American society firsthand, and to see a day in the life of American students.

On Monday, a party will be held to welcome the Japanese students, two of their teachers and a tour guide who is fluent in Japanese and English.

At the party, the students will be introduced to the host families they will stay with.

On Tuesday, the Japanese students will shadow Norwin High School students for the day.

Mr. Polen said when he attended high school in Japan, students stayed in the same room all day, and teachers went from room to room, so changing classrooms will be a new experience for them.

Norwin students learning the Japanese language will travel with the visitors to help them, he said.

On Wednesday, the visitors will give presentations about their culture to students at Norwin Middle School and high school as required by the Kakehashi program, according to the release.

Mr. Polen said arrangements were being finalized for a program that day in which the Japan Society would show young women in the Norwin Knights in Shining Armor Club how to perform a tea ceremony.

Knights in Shining Armor is a big sister club for older female Norwin students who are good role models and who mentor freshman female students. They also will learn about the wearing of the yukata, a lightweight, summer kimono.

A farewell dinner will be held for the students, teachers and tour guide, and the Japanese students will perform additional cultural presentations at Norwin High School’s Kickoff to College and Career Fair from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Wednesday. They will leave on Thursday.

The Norwin School District became involved when the Japan Society put out a call for assistance, and representatives of the Norwin and Shaler Area school districts responded, Mr. Polen said.

Letters were sent to parents to see if they were interested in serving as host families, and they passed background checks with the Laurasian Institution of Oregon, which is also sponsoring the visits.

Norwin began Japanese language instruction during the 1994-95 school year, Norwin spokesman Jon Szish said. Current Norwin Japanese instructor Hiroko Maekawa teaches Japanese I through IV, including a Japanese I course at Norwin Middle School, Mr. Szish said.

“It’s a great introductory language to East Asian languages, especially in the written form,” Mr. Polen said.

Though Japanese written characters are not exactly like Chinese characters, there was enough similarity that Mr. Polen said he was able to travel in China and Thailand without a problem.

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Norwin School District welcomes Japanese students
japanese language – Yahoo News Search Results
japanese language – Yahoo News Search Results

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