(Photo: Mayor Charmaine Tavares is pictured with members of the Maui Youth delegation)
On May 27, 2010, Mayor Charmaine Tavares announced that Maui's first youth delegation to visit Sister City Fukuyama, Japan left on May 30, 2010 for a 10-day cultural exchange tour. The delegation includes 22 students from Baldwin High School, Maui High School, Seabury Hall, King Kekaulike High School, Maui Waena Intermediate School and Tao Intermediate School.
Mayor Tavares met recently with the students, who said they are looking forward to a home-stay with Fukuyama families, a visit to the local high school, Fukuyama's renowned Rose Garden, the Hiroshima Peace Park and the first festival of summer: the Tokasan Matsuri in Hiroshima City.
The students will be making origami cranes with peace poems attached to them to add to a display at Sadako's Monument at the atomic bomb site. They will also experience traditional "Noh" drama and try their hand at making chikuwa and okonomi yaki, two famous food products of the Hiroshima region.
"This is an exciting 'first' for Maui County, as this is the very first group of Maui students to participate in a cultural exchange trip with our newest Sister City, Fukuyama City," Mayor Tavares said. "Maui County has enjoyed hosting groups of students from Fukuyama, and I am pleased that a Maui delegation of students will be able to continue this global friendship by visiting Japan. Our community can be proud of this group of students who will travel abroad and share our aloha with a Sister City."
The Maui students will be interviewed at a radio station in Fukuyama City about their visit to Japan, and will meet with Fukuyama Mayor Akira Hada and Deputy Mayor Kazuhiko Kaihara. University campus visits are included as well as a final stop at Disney Sea in Tokyo.
The Sister Cities Youth Tour is sponsored by the Maui Japanese Chamber of Commerce, with support from the Maui County Sister Cities Foundation through the County of Maui Office of Economic Development.