Wednesday, June 30, 2010

My Stay in Nagayo

After Kyoto, Sue and I boarded a train bound for Nagayo, Japan, the sister-city of Wethersfield, CT.  Susan is going there to establish a sister school relationship with Nagayo Elementary School.  I accompanied her as a fellow educator from Connecticut.  Nagayo Town, is a part of the Nagasaki Prefecture and is located on the island of Kyushu.  Kyushu, is the third largest island of Japan and the most southerly island of the four main islands.  It has a population of just over 13 million.  The island is very mountainous with Japan's most active volcano, Mt. Aso located on Kyushu.

We were welcomed whole-heartedly by Mayor Hayama, the Deputy Mayor and Superintendent Kuroda and enjoyed a wonderful welcome dinner when we first arrived.  We enjoyed our stay in Nagayo immensely.  Everyone at the Town Hall was so gracious and welcoming.  Nabuko and Ayaka were are our translators for us during our stay.  We became good friends very quickly!

The next day we toured Nagayo Town.  Nagayo Town is located in Nagasaki Prefecture and has a population of about 42,000.  It has has a long standing sister city relationship with Wethersfield, Connecticut.  As part of our tour of the town we visited "Wetherfield Street" and saw the tree planted by a past visit by the Mayor of Wetherfield.  Later that day we drove about 10 miles to Nagasaki and toured the Peace Park.  Nagasaki was the site of the 2nd Atomic Bomb that was dropped on the city August 9, 1945.  It was a very somber afternoon but one that we will never forget.  My prayer during that afternoon was "Never Again."

Later that day we also visited _________ and had dinner at a __________.

Before leaving the Nagayo, we were warmly welcomed by Superintendent Kuroda and the Nagayo Elementary School staff.  We toured the school and took part in their Closing Cermony.  They were ending school for their month long summer break and Mrs. Kopecki and I were the guests of honor!  The students were told by their principal to have a safe summer vacation and to remember to keep up with their studies during the break. Mrs. Kopecki and I then each gave a speech about how happy we were to be there to be a part of their closing ceremony and how we can't wait to go back to the United States and tell our students all about our warm welcome by Nagayo Elementary School Staff and students.  The students sang a song welcoming us to their school and then a group of 6th graders gave a special performance that left both Mrs. Kopecki and I speechless!  It was truly a morning I will never forget!

Before boarding a train for Tokyo, we had lunch with the Mayor once again at Nagayo Town Hall and took a tour of the Town Hall.   I was amazed at how large the town hall was for a town of 42,000.  We were then given a royal send-off with many Town Hall employees as well as the mayor and deputy mayor escorting us to the door and waving good-bye as we drove away to the train station.

My short time

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