A delegation of about 20 Japanese students, teachers, city officials and school officials from Sister City Rikuzentakata will visit Crescent City Jan 9-14.
Crescent City and Del Norte County officials met via Skype last Thursday with officials from Sister City Rikuzentakata to iron out the details and schedule of a Jan. 9 visit
During the video conference, Supervisor Lori Cowan, Supervisor Chair Chris Howard, Mayor Blake Inscore, County CAO Jay Sarina and City Manager Eric Wier spoke with Masayuki Okamoto, deputy mayor; Kenji Kin, superintendent; Fuminori Sekito; and Kiyoshi Murakami, senior executive advisor for the City of Rikuzentakata about the upcoming visit.
Also at the Dec. 20 Del Norte County Unified School District board meeting, Superintendent Jeff Harris said eight teachers would arrive, along with Sekito.
“They’re very interested in seeing our second language program and our special education programs. They don’t have special education in Japan as far as an embedded educational process,” Harris said. “First time we’ve walked them through this ... everything from how we serve students with special needs.”
Students from Takata High School will arrive in Crescent City and depart earlier than the rest of the group, which will travel to Sacramento before returning to Japan.
Wier said delegates will meet with Humboldt State University’s Redwood Coast Tsunami Working Group, which researches and works to reduce earthquake and tsunami hazards.
Delegates will visit Del Norte High School, to hear presentations from the Japan Club, speak to teachers and students and attend a reception/ barbecue. The day will conclude with a basketball game at Del Norte High School.
Delegates will also visit local elementary and middle schools the next day, but students will leave on Jan 11.
While in Crescent City, delegates will also visit SeaQuake Brewery and Rumiano Cheese.
Delegates will then return to Oakland for other activities and some will accompany Howard and Inscore to Sacramento, where they will meet with Sen. Mike McGuire, Assemblyman Jim Wood and a representative from the governor’s Office of Emergency Services. It’s hoped the delegation will be able to see a meeting of the California Assembly meeting in progress.
Murakami said an international television station will be covering the visit and meetings and will be meeting up with the delegation at various points to shoot footage and conduct interviews.
When it was mentioned that Deputy Mayor Okamoto is a loyal Star Wars fan, a small detour was discussed.
“We will drive you out to where part of Return of the Jedi was filmed,” Inscore said.
The 2x2 Rikuzentakata committee was created by consensus at the most recent Crescent City Council and Del Norte County Board of Supervisors’ meetings. It consists of Inscore, Howard, Cowan and Mayor Pro Tem Heidi Kime, who was unable to attend Thursday.
Aside from scheduling, 2x2 members discussed incorporating two school board members into the committee and possibly bring in community and non-profit members.
Howard suggested a nonprofit entity could help ensure that the sister city program endures.
Murakami said he hopes the visit will also create more personal connections between teachers.