Feature / News

Sano-Gresham Japanese student exchange

Sano High School students present “thank you” and introductory speeches in the cafeteria. A total of 23 students came from Sano, Japan, and all were hosted by a student here. There were 13 male students and 10 female students. With them came five chaperones including vice principal Shigeyuki Funatogawa, Yuki Hashimoto and Tetsuya Kataoka, the English and homeroom teachers, and Tomoko Yaguchi from the Japan Travel Bureau. (photo 1)

After formal greetings, Sano students broke the ice by performing their abilities with the kendama, a traditional Japanese toy. These students captivated the viewers, getting great responses from the audience with “oohs” and “ahhs”. When they did not make the ball stay on the stand, the watchers sighed. (video 1)

Sano students prepared a small traditional song that they sang to the audience. It was a traditional Japanese folk song called “Sakura Sakura” depicting spring or the season of cherry blossoms. (video 2)

A small group of the Sano students were assigned to be in science teacher Steve Scannell’s physics class for second period. Harumichi Tanaka and Daisuke Shiraishi (left to right) worked on a hand out made by Scannell. (photo 2)

On Oct. 9, after lunch time, the students went on a field trip to Intel. They were fascinated by all the cool gadgets and technology that can be found throughout the building. Sano students also received lanyards decorated with the Intel logo. The students were then led on a tour of the building and heard presentations from Japanese Intel workers. According to Tsubasa Emura, he had fun and good time. (photo 3)

Also on Oct. 9, Sano Japanese students went with their host siblings to an evening party hosted by the Chau family at the Gresham Skate World. For many of them this was their first time skating, while others were skating experts as soon as their skates touched the rink. Many friends and family showed up to the event and had a great time. (photo 4)

On Oct. 10, all the Sano students, their host siblings, student volunteers and staff came in early in the morning to the Japanese room, so that the Sano students could present their science project. Due to the number of people that showed up to the presentations, the staff had to split everyone up into two classes. One group went to the Japanese room, and the other one in the next door science class. A breakfast of donuts, coffee and juice was provided by Andeo, the exchange program. Afterwards, they had a certificate event for the Sano students. (photo 5)

The first stop on the group tour of the Gorge on Oct. 10 was at Crown Point (Vista House). Here, everyone had a fun time taking in the scenery and the beauty of the Willamette Valley in autumn. This section of the tour gave a bonding vibe that seemed to connect everyone together as an entire group. They all posed together and enjoyed the time spent there. Friends pointed out beautiful sceneries and used that as an excuse to do a group picture session along with a few dozen “selfies”. (photo 6)

The next destination of the tour of the Gorge brought everyone to Multnomah Falls. Many of the students climbed up to the bridge crossing the falls, but some tried hiking to the very top of the falls. Some students challenged themselves by taking the trail up to the top of Multnomah Falls, but they trekked back down moments later because of the limited time. The group also used this stop to take photos, eat lunch and relax with their peers.(photo 7)

After lunch at Multnomah Falls, the tour of the Gorge took them to a fish hatchery where they found Herman the Sturgeon. Everyone spent a good time together touring the area and found many areas where they took photos again. They laughed, played and roamed the entire fish hatchery. From extremely huge fish to baby fish, they saw it all and with photos they were able to keep a clear memory of those days stored away in their cameras. (photo 8)

Instead of going to Bonneville Dam like the other years, the group went to a different location. The bus left the fish hatchery and crossed the Bridge of the Gods to arrive at a privately owned museum called Columbia Gorge Interpretation Center. Here, everyone learned from a tour guide about how the early settlers of the Gorge lived and what they did for a living. After the tour, the group members got time to go explore the museum by doing a scavenger hunt of the items found in the museum. Tanaka and host student Gem Moore got to do an example of how a fish wheel worked. (photo 9)

On Friday, Oct. 11, Sano students and their chaperones took a trip to downtown Portland to the Lloyd Center Mall and OMSI. During the bus ride, the chaperones divided the group of students into three groups for activities including a tour of the submarine and watching Starry Nights in the Planetarium at OMSI. They gave the students free time at Lloyd Center to do their shopping and exploring of an American mall. Here, the students divided up into their own mini groups and went off to see all the attractions that Lloyd Center could offer them. Many of them stopped by the “Made in Oregon” store for souvenirs that can only be found in Oregon. (photo 10)

When the bus arrived at OMSI, name tags that said “ANDEO International Homestays” were given to everyone from the bus show that their OMSI tickets were pre bought. Each student went to their designated groups to do OMSI activities. In one group an OMSI educator took them to a back room of the Earth science room and let them look around as he prepared for a cow eye dissection lab. Each student worked in a small group of two to three to dissect the eye while the educator described everything they cut out. Some students disliked the thought of touching the cow eye while others thought that cutting up an eye was interesting. (photo 11)

On the last day all the students and host families arrived at the Portland International Airport at around 10:30 a.m. to say goodbye. Chaperones and ANDEO staff helped the Japanese students to check in and get their baggage checked. The Chau family distributed cupcakes in celebration of Sano student Shunya Kanai’s  birthday. Besides cupcakes, Sano students were also given a survey about how their week in America was and their thoughts about the program. Many families and friends lingered around to say goodbye and create their last memories. Students and friends took it as another event to take pictures and “selfies” with each other. At the very last moment, host families and friends could only send the students and chaperones to the security gate. It was a bittersweet goodbye. (photos 12 and 13)

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