The Japan-America Society of Hawaii’s (JASH) six Junior Ambassadors (JAs) attended the 30th Anniversary of the Asian-Pacific Children’s Convention (APCC) in Fukuoka, Japan from July 11 - 23, 2018. The Junior Ambassadors spent 6 months with JASH staff to train and prepare for their role as representatives from Hawaii. In addition to the six delegates and chaperone Sandy Takeda, Bridge Club Hawaii President Garrett Cho, JASH President Reyna Kaneko, and Educational Program Director Liz Barrera took part in the 30th Anniversary commemorative events in Fukuoka.
The APCC has been hosted by the Fukuoka City government since 1989. Now in its 30th year, the APCC has hosted over 11,000 students from all across the Asia-Pacific region and other countries across Europe and South America. The mission of the APCC is to promote international relationships among children so they will become adults with a sense of social responsibility for the world. In addition, the APCC is intent on helping to build a bridge between the people of Japan and the international community. This program gives children the opportunity to experience family life in Japan through a homestay and to introduce traditions from their home country to other participants and the people of Fukuoka. It is their hope that by taking part in activities such as the exchange camp, school visit and performance event, these children will build a network of mutual understanding as they meet and make friends with others who look and speak differently from themselves.
Upon their arrival in Fukuoka, the JAs stayed at the Marine House Camp, where they were able to meet students from over 40 different delegations from across the world. They participated in a number of exchange programs and team-building activities in order to bridge the gap between people and cultures. These activities helped to deepen the JAs’ understanding of cultural diversity and the need to show compassion towards those with different ideas and perspectives.
After leaving the Marine House Camp and having made new friends and precious memories, the JAs visited Kamo Elementary School, where they performed a hula for the entire school. That afternoon, the JAs then met their host families and began their one-week home-stay and experienced a number of fun and new activities including enjoying a summer festival, visiting Hakata Port Tower, eating nagashi somen (flowing somen through bamboo), playing with fireworks, visiting local amusement parks, and participating in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony.
As the JAs enjoyed their camp, Bridge Club Hawaii President Garrett Cho, JASH President Reyna Kaneko and Educational Program Director Liz Barrera, along with nearly 100 other Bridge Club presidents and liaison officers, spent time working to further foster the mission of the APCC and build relationships together.
JASH would like to thank all of the wonderful staff and incredible volunteers of the APCC. JASH would also like to thank all of the volunteer host families and hopes that, through Bridge Club Hawaii, JAs can stay connected with their new friends and continue to be global citizens.
If you know of a student who may want to participate in this program in future years, please visit the JASH website at www.jashawaii.org or contact APCC Program Coordinator, David Nakanishi, at email@example.com.