The seventh group of junior high school students from the three disaster affected prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima arrived in Hawaii on July 29th for the Rainbow for Japan Kids (RFJK) program. These fifteen students make a total of 150 students who have been brought to Hawaii under this project since its inception in July 2011.
As in previous visits, the students stayed at YMCA Camp Erdman on Oahu’s North Shore engaging in outdoor activities with local youth. The visitors then traveled to the Big Island to learn ocean resources conservation while snorkeling at Kahaluu Bay. While on the Big Island, the students stayed at Kilauea Military Camp in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park where they hiked around the craters, heard stories about the Polynesian discovery of the Islands, and did stargazing at night while guided by an astronomer from Subaru Telescope on Mauna Kea peak. This time, several Bridge Club Hawaii students joined the Japanese kids. Back on Oahu, the students again engaged in water activities to include stand-up paddling and canoe races at Hilton’s Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon, courtesy of Hilton Grand Vacations/Waikiki Beach Activities, and made their own ukuleles at KoAloha Ukulele, courtesy of the KoAloha staff. The students returned to Japan on August 7.
Earlier in July, eight Bridge Club Hawaii members visited Tohoku to renew friendships created with previous Japanese students who visited Hawaii under the Rainbow for Japan Kids project. JASH intends to take opportunities in the future to reconnect Bridge Club Hawaii students with these Japanese students who visit Hawaii to continue building friendships and promoting mutual understanding in line with its mission.
RFJK is a proud partner with TOMODACHI, a private-public partnership led by the U.S. Embassy and the U.S.-Japan Council that aims to invest in the next generation of Japanese and Americans in ways that strengthen cultural and economic ties, and deepen the friendship between U.S. and Japan over the long term. TOMODACHI also funds the return visits of Bridge Club Hawaii students to Tohoku under the TOMODACHI-Rainbow Initiative. More information on these programs can be found on the JASH website at www.jashawaii.org/, or by calling JASH at (808) 524-4450, and on the U.S. Embassy website at http://japan.usembassy.gov/.