Thirteen students from Nelson’s Japanese sister city, Izu-Shi, are touring our region this week, taking in a true Kootenay experience.
The group of 13 and 14-year-olds, accompanied by three adult chaperones, arrived Monday afternoon. On Tuesday morning they met Mayor John Dooley at City Hall to learn about the municipality.
Dooley, with the help of a translator, told the students about our local schools and recreational activities, and showed them the municipal flag and the chain of office that he wears for formal occasions.
The students snapped pictures of each other sitting around the council tables, and signed the city guest book before heading to the next stop on their tour — the fire hall.
Izu-Shi Friendship Society president Brent Cross said the students will also visit Slocan, Creston and Balfour during the week.
“Every year the day trips and activities are a little different. We want them to see the area and try some of the things we enjoy in this part of the world,” Cross explained.
They’ll hike Pulpit Rock, paddle kayaks, play mini-golf and roast hot dogs over the fire.
They also have an opportunity to share their culture with their local homestay families. One night the students will cook them a Japanese dinner to thank them for their hospitality.
“Everyone involved gets a lot out of the exchange,” Cross said. “We place these students in homes where they start out as strangers and by the end of the week, they’re family.”
A farewell party for the students will be held in Gyro Park on Sunday, and they fly back to Izu-Shi on Monday morning.
Izu-Shi (population: 33,000) is a farming-based community located 140 kilometres south west of Tokyo on the Izu peninsula. It is an amalgamation of four cities: Toi, Nakaizu, Amagiyugashima — and Shuzenji, which was Nelson’s original sister city.
See more pictures from the students’ visit at nelson-izushi.blogspot.ca.