Five Japanese high school students from Districts 2550 (Tochigi) and 2620 (Shizuoka/Yamanashi) visited the Rotary Club of Downtown Los Angeles at their dinner meeting Aug. 15, after a day-long tour of downtown sites led by club members Jennifer Usyak and Brando Parada.  The students gave lively self introductions (with two clad in traditional Japanese yukata) and club members enjoyed hearing their impressions of the local area.  The day began at Olvera Street, followed by a visit to the Japanese American National Museum and a walking tour of the colorful murals of the neighboring Arts District.  We were proud to share the rich cultural heritage of our city with the visiting students!    

District 5280's youth exchange program with Japan began in 1960 and resumed this year after a two-year hiatus after the March 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami, under the leadership of Past District Governor and Club Advisor Vicki Radel.  The Japanese students returned to Japan on Aug. 18 after three weeks of homestays and sightseeing.  Their visit to our district had been preceded by the visit of four students from our district to Japan.  The nine students formed invaluable friendships and deepened their international understanding.  Many remarked it was a life-changing experience, and judging by the tearful farewell at LAX, were not ready for it to end!  

The Rotary Club of Downtown Los Angeles was thrilled to be a part of this special exchange!   




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