Japanese children experience American school for the day

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Rachel Martinez
  • 35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Dr. Suess once wrote that "a person's a person, no matter how small." After interacting with their Japanese counterparts, school-age children here learned that "a child's a child, no matter where they are from."

More than 40 students from Cummings Elementary School hosted 32 third-grade students from Omagari Elementary School in Rokunohe Town for a cultural exchange May 10.

The exchange program between the two schools started two years ago as the result of a friendship between a Cummings teacher, Mr. Eric Lee, and one of the school's Japanese workers, Mr. Baba. After months of friendship, the two decided to get the Cummings students involved with Japanese students from Mr. Baba's hometown of Rokunohe. The first exchange took place last year when Cummings Elementary School students visited Omagari Elementary School to participate in mochi-pounding activities. This time, it was the American student's turn to host their Japanese friends.

"Because of a friendship, all this has happened," said Mr. Lee. "Big things can happen when you open yourself up and become friends."

The cultural exchange day for the Japanese students included a tour of the American school and four classroom sessions where they had the chance to play American games and participate in other educational activities. The day was topped off with an American-style lunch of pizza and chicken nuggets, followed by recess. Despite the language difference, the children were able to connect with each other and learn that they aren't all that different.