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Wrapping Up the 2020 Asian-Pacific Children’s Convention

The Asian-Pacific Children’s Convention (APCC) is an annual homestay and summer camp in Fukuoka that welcomes delegations of 11-year-old Junior Ambassadors (JAs) from regions throughout Asia and the Pacific. JASH has the honor of serving at the liaison office for the Hawaii delegation, and since December we’ve shared about the selection of our 2020 delegation; their hard work preparing for their international adventure; and most recently, their dedication to learning more about Japan and their incredible resilience and optimism as we shifted to virtual culture and history lessons following the cancellation of this summer’s APCC trip.

In July, JASH welcomed our delegation back to our office for two final workshops. Following social distancing protocol, our JAs had their temperatures checked, were spaced at least six feet apart from one another, wore masks, and frequently washed their hands. During the first workshop, our JAs worked on the APCC’s “BRIDGE Question Exchange” as part of the organization’s BRIDGE Summer <WEB> Camp. For this project, delegations were assigned to groups with four other regions and submitted questions they wanted to ask the other groups. Each JA then answered the questions using text, drawings, or photos, and their posters were uploaded and shared on the Summer <WEB> Camp website. Our talented JAs illustrated each of their answers!

(L-R) JAs Jackie Furuta, Loch Moorman, and Rhegen Villarimo answer the question: “What is the most important festival in Hawaii?”

For our final workshop, we began with a special lesson about Sadako Sasaki, Hiroshima, and the significance of the thousand paper cranes by retired Punahou Japanese Language Faculty Naomi Hirano-Omizo-sensei. The JAs learned about the bombing of Hiroshima and subsequent aftermath, were inspired by Sadako’s story of compassion and perseverance, and learned how to fold their own orizuru folded cranes. After the lesson, the JAs then met several members of Bridge Club Hawaii, the APCC alumni group, through a Zoom meet-and-greet. We ended the morning with a snack party as we learned about the other delegations through the APCC BRIDGE Summer <WEB> Camp materials.

(L-R) Naomi Hirano-Omizo-sensei; JAs Loch, Rhegen, and Jackie; and chaperones Sandy Takeda and Rich Kiyabu with their cranes

(L-R) JASH Staff Takako Miyazawa; JAs Jackie, Rhegen, and Loch; and chaperone Sandy have a virtual meet-and-greet with members of Bridge Club Hawaii

While we at JASH wish we could’ve given the JAs the international experience for which they were so eager, we nevertheless enjoyed learning about Japan with everyone. Since March, we’ve talked about food etiquette and the Japanese perspective of nutrition; sports and exercise; anime, manga, and drawing; summer festivals; and Sadako Sasaki and her thousand paper cranes. We were also very fortunate to welcome guest teachers including manga artist Kazuo Maekawa-sensei, origami swami Ashley Nishihara-sensei, and Japanese teacher Naomi Hirano-Omizo-sensei. Even without the physical trip, it is our hope that our JAs were still able to learn about Japan and Japanese culture through our virtual workshops. We hope that we’ll continue to see more of our 2020 JAs at future Bridge Club Hawaii activities and other JASH events, and we’re excited to watch them grow into kind, mindful, global citizens.

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