High School who participated in the exchange program. "I could have been
left behind by the bus without any money, and somebody would have come
along and helped me. I can't say the same about Hollywood."
Some highlights of Ben's trip include eating o7 okanomiyakif7 , a
sort of batter ball with octopus in the center and wearing o7 Jimbeif7
, traditional summer clothing for Japanese men.
Applegate and the other students stayed with host families, with whom
they ate meals, attended Buddhist and Shinto temples and visited museums
and local schools.
Exchange-program chaperon Julia Vezina thinks traveling provides an
invaluable experience for students by giving them real experiences that
can't be learned from a textbook.
"It's so worthwhile and important to expose our students to
traveling," said Vezina, a world history and economics teacher at John
Burroughs High School. "There are no words to describe how good the
Japanese people were to us. When it came time for goodbyes, people were
crying and hugging, and it was very emotional."
Vezina said each day started out with a traditional breakfast of
vegetables, salad, a bowl of soup and o7 natof7 , or fermented soy
beans. The group was encouraged to eat eel, which locals said was full of
nutrients and especially healthy during hot, summer weather.
"Our students were shocked to find out that Japanese students also
perform custodial duties. After school, they get out mops and brooms and
pick up trash at school," Vezina said.
For more information on the Burbank, USA -- Ota, Japan Student
Exchange Program, call 238-5551.