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Okinawa Students Are Filled with Hope through Kakehashi Project

• Three high schools from Okinawa visited Chicago through Kakehashi Project, which has promoted deeper mutual understanding among the people of Japan and the U.S. The 69 students and six teachers from Okinawa Shogaku H.S., Naha H.S., and Naha Kokusai Senior H.S. arrived in Chicago on November 10 and visited local schools, Chicago Architecture Foundation HQ, Navy Pier, Adler Planetarium, Art Institute of Chicago, and Millennium Park.
• The Consulate General of Japan at Chicago hosted a welcome reception at Japan Information Center on November 14, and the students introduced their schools and Okinawa’s charms. A number of people from various fields such as business, education, and Chicago Okinawa Kenjinkai attended the reception, so that the students could have an opportunity to talk with those people.

• In her welcome remarks, Deputy Consul Keiko Yanai said, “For Japan, Okinawa is a key part of the project, and its rich culture and wonderful cuisine offer a unique window to Japan. We are all eager to learn more about Okinawa from you and to hear your impressions of Chicago.” She also thanked the attendees for making an unforgettable evening for the students, and encouraged them to share their experience in Chicago with their families and friends when they return to Okinawa.

• The students made a brief introduction about their activities in English.
• The students of Okinawa Shogaku H.S. visited Lane Tech College Preparatory H.S., Whitney Young Magnet H.S., and were going to visit Henry Gunn H.S. in San Francisco.
• A student of the high school said, “The four days in Chicago were a lifetime experience. The most memorable one was to attend American high schools and learn the differences in education between Japan and America.” He also said, “We want to keep in mind that we are all representatives and use this opportunity for our future and for Okinawa, Japan, and the U.S.”

• The students of Naha H.S. visited Wells Community Academy H.S., Steinmetz College Preparatory H.S., and were going to visit San Dieguito H.S. in SanDiego.
• A student from the school said, “We hope that we can combine the attractiveness of Okinawa and its culture to American people through our presentation.” “We saw now things which we’ve never seen in Okinawa,” she added.

• Naha Kokusai H.S. visited Northside College Preparatory H.S., Streamwood H.S., and was going to visit Patrick Henry H.S. in San Diego.
• A student from the school said, “We shared presentations about Okinawa, Japanese culture, food, school life, sports, music, and other things. When we exchanged our information with each other, we became friends, tomodachi.”

• Some students from the three schools demonstrated Okinawa’s sanshin (three-string instrument) and introduced its history. They also explained the difference between the Western music scales and Okinawa’s. For example, Western scales are consisted as C, D, E, F, G, A, and B; on the other hand, Okinawa’s sanshin uses C, E, F, G, and B.
• All the students got together and sang Okinawa’s song “Tinsagunu Hana (Flower of the Balsam Garden)”.

• Kakehashi Project not only deepens mutual understandings between the two countries, but also enables future leaders to form networks and help young people develop wider perspectives to encourage active roles at the global level in the future.
• The project is promoted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. Commissioned by the Japan-U.S. Educational Commission, the Japan Foundation organizes the project in cooperation with the Laurasian Institution.
• According to Asami Ono of Japan Foundation, about 3,000 Japanese students and a similar number of the U.S. students have visited each other’s country in one and a half years.

• (Full story is available in the Chicago Shimpo’s December 5th issue.)

All the students get together and sing Okinawa's song "Tinsagunu Hana (Flower of the Balsam Garden)"

The students from Okinawa perform sanshin, Okinawa’s
string instrument.

A scene from the students’ presentation about Okinawa’s

Deputy Consul Keiko Yanai welcomes the students from three high schools in Okinawa.

From Left: Yuri Matsuda, Yuki Nagamine, Rimi Higa, and Saku Nakazato