The committee also runs an exchange program with Incheon, South Korea.
For the first time, students from Korea visited Burbank, and on Sunday, students from Burbank will travel there.
“I love being in Burbank,” said Asato Baba, 12, a student at Gunma Kokusai Academy in Japan, as she gazed at the high school’s football field. “The people here are very positive-thinking and always want to talk to you.”
The campus tour was one of several activities planned for the Japanese students. The week’s activities will also include field trips to the beach, the Burbank Police and Fire Department Headquarters, IKEA and Warner Bros. Studios.
“I loved touring the studios,” said Heanjung Choi, 14, a student at OTA Nishi Junior High School. “I didn’t know anything about animation’s history, it was very cool.”
The students, who range from 12 to 17 years old, are from several schools in Ota, said Vince Ieraci, who graduated from Burbank High in 2007.
Ieraci participated in the exchange program during his senior year.
The experience left such an impression on him that he returned to Japan and Korea last summer.
“I went back and stayed with people I had met along the way,” said Ieraci, who is chaperoning some of the student trips. “It is a great program, and I love helping out with it.”
Some Japanese students are already hooked on popular U.S. cuisine and magazines such as Teen.
“My favorite new thing are hamburgers,” said Ayaka Watanabe, 17, a student at Ota Girls High School. “The one I ordered was so big, but I ate all of it.”
The exchange is a one-of-a-kind experience for students and parents, Kachline said.
“This is our third year hosting a student, and it is phenomenal . . . it is amazing how close you get to the students by the end of the week, they become part of your family,” she said. “I can’t begin to explain how it changes you. You get to show your life and American culture to these students, and you watch their eyes open.”