Visit to Mizuhashi High School

IMG_1680This blog entry forms part of the “Toyama-Oregon Friendship Project”, in conjunction with the series of outreach lectures conducted by Abram Leon, Coordinator for International Relations with the International Affairs Division of Toyama Prefecture. The primary goal of the lectures is to raise awareness about the Toyama-Oregon sister state relationship by introducing information about Oregon and the history of exchange to students of Toyama Prefecture.

The blog entries aim to encourage students and members of the community in Toyama and Oregon to become more personally involved in the relationship. After each school visit, I will write an entry and encourage students and other readers to leave their questions and thoughts in the comment section, as well as respond to the questions and comments of others. In this way, I hope to get a new generation interested in cross-cultural communication and the wonderful friendship between Toyama and Oregon.

Visit to Mizuhashi High School

On Tuesday, December 8th, I made the short trip over to Mizuhashi High School to speak with 1st and 2nd year students about Oregon and the sister-state relationship. It was a beautiful day, and during the 25-minute drive from Toyama City, I enjoyed some stunningly clear views of the mountains. The previous month, Mr. Goto, one of my co-workers in the International Affairs Division of Toyama Prefecture, had told me that Mizuhashi was his alma mater. I had learned that Mizuhashi was well known for its strong sports programs, and many students come to pursue athletics in addition to academics. Mr. Goto had also been part of the sports course, on the baseball team. Talking about the school on our drive over, my supervisor and I decided to ask the teachers if they remembered him!

IMG_1675My class was scheduled to start at 3 p.m., after the school day had finished. We arrived a couple of minutes early, and I was greeted by Ms. Nakasai, the teacher I had been in contact with regarding the class. We proceeded on to the computer lab, so that I could hook up my laptop and make sure that everything was working correctly. I arrived to find the students ready and waiting, their faces partially hidden behind the computer monitors at each seat on the table. As I prepared, some students moved their seats out from behind the tables, and came right up to the front so they could see. I was in a playful mood, so I walked around and shook everyone’s hand before starting, and tried to get everyone involved right away, asking questions and encouraging them to react. I switched back and forth between using Japanese and English as I introduced information about the sister-state relationship and Oregon’s geography, people and food. During a quiz section, I asked students to answer multiple choice questions about the year that Oregon became a U.S. state, and Oregon’s area and population. Some students responded that they didn’t know, and I jokingly told them that it cannot hurt to guess; there is no penalty for a wrong answer! I got the feeling that some students were not accustomed the interactive style, so I explained that there is no problem with not knowing, but that the lecture would be more interesting if they tried to participate. Later on, I saw that the students became more interested as I showed pictures of Oregon food. Everyone seemed to get involved when I put up pictures of Voodoo Doughnuts and Blue Star Donuts, and asked them which one they would rather try. Food is a powerful motivator!!

IMG_1671By the end of the class, I felt that students had opened up more. I certainly have a lot of respect for them, considering that they stayed after school to listen to my class as an extra activity. I hope that by using this lecture as a chance to interact with me and each other, they could have fun with the learning process. Thank you to everyone for listening! I hope that all of you will be able to go and experience Oregon for yourselves!



IMG_1683このブログは、富山県国際課の国際交流員アブラム・リオンによる出前講座とともに、「富山オレゴンFriendship Project」の一部となります。講座の目的は主に、富山県とオレゴン州の友好関係についての認知度を上げるため、オレゴン州の情報や友好関係の歴史、交流に貢献している人たちを紹介することです。