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The Japanese students gave a presentation of their culture to the Bishop Luers student body on Thursday, March 22.
The Japanese students gave a presentation of their culture to the Bishop Luers student body on Thursday, March 22.
A little known fact about Fort Wayne, is that it is a sister city to Takaoka, Japan. Takaoka became Fort Wayne’s sister city when a program was established in 1976. Since then, hundreds of American and Japanese students have been able to travel to their respective sister city to learn about and experience a different culture.

Bishop Luers is one of the four area high schools fortunate enough to have a sister high school in Japan. Bishop Luers also participates in the Koshimae program, which allows Japanese students to travel to Bishop Luers for a week, and through a special grant, allows Fort Wayne students to travel to Japan for three weeks during the summer.

Each spring, Bishop Luers hosts about twenty Japanese students from Fushiki High School for a week. The students can be seen following their “host sister” or “host brother,” which is what the Bishop Luers student who is hosting is called. The Japanese students can also be found at sports practices and other extracurricular activities.

Hosting a student is not as much of an inconvenience or difficulty as one may think. In fact, there are many benefits to opening one’s home to someone from another culture.

According to freshman Toni Gasnarez, whose family hosted a student last spring, “one positive of hosting was the fact that we always had a fun time and made tons of jokes. Also, we got to learn so much about Japan and the Japanese culture.”

As Gasnarez stated, much can be learned. The Japanese students bring with them photos of their families, trinkets from their daily lives, and gifts (just another bonus!). They also bring what is called a Yukata, which is a robe-like garment that is worn on special occasions and celebrations. As many Bishop Luers upperclassmen can recall, the students wear this special, colorful outfit (complete with a large bow for the ladies!) during an assembly in which they tell about themselves and perform a native dance.

The students are fun to host, as Gasnarez pointed out. A host sister or brother simply has to take their student with him or her wherever he or she goes. It is a lot like having a little brother or sister, only more fun. Showing a student around is actually very easy because the Japanese are really into American culture and like many of the same things American teenagers do, such as bowling, movies, sports, and Johnny Depp.

Yet another benefit of hosting a Japanese student is the experience itself. A host brother or sister can learn so much. For example, if one hosts, during the student’s stay, he or she will prepare a meal from Japan. Japanese food is not all seaweed, rice, and fish, and is quite delicious! By hosting a student, one can step outside one’s box and learn about another culture.

Opening one’s home to someone who is an ocean away from everything he or she knows is a fun and enlightening experience. When one becomes a “host sister” or a “host brother” it establishes a friendship and memories that will last long after the plane carrying the Japanese students has departed.

The Waynedale News Staff

Janae Meyers

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