HomeHaddonfield NewsJapanese students touching down July 24

Japanese students touching down July 24

By ROBERT LINNEHAN | The Haddonfield Sun

Barring another exotic disease stirring up worldwide fears, the Haddonfield Japan Exchange is expecting another successful year with 15 Japanese students arriving in Haddonfield on July 24.

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After one of the most trying years the exchange has ever had — it was cancelled last summer due to fears of Swine Flu — Director Bill Brown said an exciting docket of activities has been planned for the students of Kasukabe Girls High School from Saitama, Japan. Brown has been the point man of the program since he created it in 2006.

Brown and his wife have been hosting Japanese visitors for the past 35 years. He has visited the country more than 14 times going back to 1991.

“The people of Japan have been so gracious and kind to us,” he said. “My wife and I have hosted people from Japan for the past 35 years. They’ve all been very kind, very good to us.”

Fifteen girls and two chaperones will be touching down in Philadelphia on July 24, Brown said, and will immediately come to Haddonfield Memorial High School to meet their host families. Refreshments will be provided to the hungry — and most likely tired — visitors.

The next day will be more of a jetlag recovery day, Brown said, as the host families will get to learn more about their visitors and show them around Haddonfield.

The relationship between the host families and their exchange students is paramount to the program, he said.

“The host families are the real framework of this exchange. Without the host families we wouldn’t have the exchange. They’re very gracious, they’ve opened up their homes, and it’s a great opportunity for the students to host someone, learn of their culture and have the opportunity to go to Japan in the future,” he said.

The visitors will explore Haddonfield, Philadelphia and quite possibly the White House. Brown has sent in an application for a tour on Aug. 3, but the group won’t know if it has been accepted until a week prior to their date.

On July 27 the group will travel to Philadelphia and tour Independence Hall, see the Liberty Bell and possibly take a Duck Tour if the service is operational again.

The students will also volunteer for a day at the Haddonfield Home, teaching seniors about the fine arts of calligraphy and origami. The last time the students came to Haddonfield, Brown said, they did a similar day of service at the Haddonfield Home. Many of the senior residents at the home still have their pieces of calligraphy hanging in their rooms, Brown said.

The students will also attend a Rotary Club Concert in the borough on July 30 and will perform for the audience, Brown said.

After their near two week stay, the students will return home to Japan on Thursday, Aug. 5.

Next year, Brown said a group of Haddonfield students will go to Japan as part of the exchange.

“I did this initially, hoping to do it for two years, but here I am today. I hoped to have someone step in and take over. Nobody has hinted at taking it over yet. It is time consuming but I enjoy it,” he said.


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