Mayor Lawrence Chernoff (left) was on hand at the West Kootenay Regional Airport to send off the Castlegar students and sponsors who are part of this year’s Embetsu exchange trip.

Castlegar students off to Japan

A delegation of Castlegar students are currently visiting Japan as part of exchange program with Castlegar’s sister city of Embetsu.

A delegation of eight students are currently visiting Japan as part of the ongoing exchange program with Castlegar’s sister city of Embetsu. The group will be travelling to Embetsu, Tokyo, Sappror, Hiroshima and Kyoto.

Embetsu is located on the northern tip of the island Hokkaido and has a population of 3,000. Its main industries are fishing and agriculture. The student exchange was facilitated by a grant from the Shikano Fund, provided by a Japanese businessman born in Embetsu. The program has enabled more than 60 Castlegar students to visit Japan.

This year’s delegation consists of Caitlin Kellendonk, Seth Cousins, James Marshall, Jessica Zwick, Sian Spiller-Tisserand, Rianna Van Tonder, Grace Woodcox and Jessica Smithies. The students will be learning about different aspects of Japanese culture including food, lifestyle, clothing, sports, religion and festivals. The students will spend a week of their time staying with a host family in order to fully experience everyday Japanese culture.

The students have spent about a year preparing for this trip by studying about Japan and learning a bit of Japanese with program chaperones Kurt and Yuri Kutschera.

Next year it will be Embetsu’s turn to send a delegation to Castlegar.