Pullman Executive Assistant Michol Ann Jensen, who acts as the coordinator for the Pullman-Kasai (pronounced Ka-SIGH) Sister City Exchange Program, announced today that host families are in place, activities are planned and the weather is improving for the Thursday afternoon, March 26 arrival of a delegation of eight junior high students and two chaperones from Kasai City, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan.
To meet expectations of Kasai Mayor Kazuhira Nishimura and Superintendent of Public Instruction Naoyuki Matsumoto, the main goal of the exchange is to encourage students to learn English and experience American culture and lifestyle by spending time with host families and attending two full schools days at Pullman Lincoln Middle School.
For the first of the school days, Principal Cameron Grow has arranged for each visitor to shadow one or more LMS students throughout the day, including the lunch period and recesses. On the second school day, the visiting delegation will present multiple PowerPoints to introduce Japanese culture to their American counterparts.
“Enthusiasm from both sides is fueling happy anticipation of this visit,” said Jensen. “The visit could not have happened without families willing to open their hearts and homes to their guests.”
The visit is an extension of the Friendship Project initiated by Kasai City officials in 2013. The exchange program went on hiatus in 2008 after a budget freeze imposed by the prior Kasai mayor. With the election of Mayor Nishimura, the Kasai populace voiced an interest in reestablishing the Pullman-Kasai Friendship Agreement, originally forged in November 1989.
Reciprocating a visit of Kasai officials to Pullman in February 2014, Pullman Mayor Glenn Johnson will be traveling Kasai for the May 2015 anniversary celebration of the 1300th commemorative year of Harimanokuni Fudoki-- ancient records of Japanese provincial culture, geography, and oral tradition.
The Pullman leg of the visit ends March 31, when the group flies to LAX for a southern California sightseeing adventure through April 3.