A group of visiting Japanese high school students is in the Bay Area this week, speaking to their American counterparts about Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami, which marked its second anniversary Monday. Joe Rosato Jr. rerports
A group of visiting Japanese high school students is in the Bay Area this week, speaking to their American counterparts about Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami, which marked its second anniversary Monday.
Dressed in crisp blue uniforms, the group of 25 students spent the day at San Francisco's George Washington High School. Many of the visiting group lived some 400 miles away from the main devastation. But some, like Japanese student Ninomiya Nozomu, lived in the midst of it.
"My house is only 10 kilometers away from Fukushima nuclear power plant," Nozomu said. "We don't know when we can go back there."
Despite limited English, the students narrated a series of slides showing the worst of the disaster; cars swept from roads, the Fukushima power plant in meltdown.
"Approximately 20,000 lost their lives," one student presenter said. "What happened was a tragedy which must not happen again."
Japanese teacher Tsune Akisasaki said the students also delivered presentations in Seattle. "I want all my students to know everybody in the states is concerned about Japan," Akisasaki said.
George Washington High School sent a group of students to Japan last year in a cultural exchange. "We went to the beach and there's a lot of debris," junior Shirry Ten said. "It wasn't cleaned so we volunteered there and cleaned."
The Japanese students' presentation wasn't all business though.
One of the visiting teens demonstrated a dance and chant, and then summoned the Americans to join in. As the classroom thundered with a bi-cultural hoedown, it became clear that high school students didn't require a translator or visual aids to communicate.