20th Anniversary for Ketchikan-Kanayama!
By Dan Patton
March 13, 2007
Konnichiwa Ketchikan! It's that marvelous time of year again
when our little town becomes a showcase for multinational cross-cultural
understanding and exchange. On Thursday evening twenty wide-eyed
and curious (though slightly nervous) Kanayama Jr. High students
will step off the plane and enter our world for a short two weeks,
in the process developing immensely as citizens of the world
and allowing us a unique glimpse into what it means to be Japanese.
Ketchikan is truly blessed to have such a program in place!
For 20 years now groups of middle school students (and teachers/chaperones)
have been making the annual pilgrimage across the vast Pacific
and forming lifelong friendships/partnerships with our neighbors
to the East. Can you believe over 300 of Ketchikan's best and
brightest have become intimately aware of life in Japan? This
is big deal! It is made even more significant by the recent
news that, once again, Japan was Alaska's biggest trading parter.
Let the numers do the talking:
$ 1,189,666,446 2004 Trade with Japan (that's billion with a
capital B!). That reprresents a whopping 12% year to year increase.
$ 416,639,623 2004 Trade with South Korea (our second largest
foreign trade partner)
The very first students to go on the echange are turning thirty
two this year. What this means is that the future leaders of
Ketchikan are in a position to take advantage of their experiences
to strengthen our ties with Japan. Can you see non-stop flights
from Tokyo to Ketchikan? I see plane loads of Japanese tourists
visiting and spending time (several days) in Ketchikan for the
wealth of nature and fish (both extremely high on the Japanese
value system). Why not? Fairbanks does it. How about a 200
million strong market for Alaska Rainforest water? Did you see
the recent Ketchkan Daily News article about Hawaiin pure water
exports? This is a growth industry with a capital G, especially
with a state of the art port facility coming online in Prince
Twenty years ago some incredibly forward thinking indivuals
on both sides of the exchange began something that has the potential
to revolutionize our mutual economies. Let's do all we can to
vitalize and grow this amazing program!
Received March 12, 2007 - Published March 13, 2007
About: "2004-2005 Kanayama
Exchange English Teacher"
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