Okinawan and Sri Lankan students meet on Tokashiki

Okinawan and Sri Lankan students meet on Tokashiki

On September 15, students from Sri Lanka and Matsushima Junior High School made curry at the camping site at the National Okinawa Youth Friendship Center in Tokashiki.

September 19, 2013 Hideaki Yoneda correspondent of Ryukyu Shimpo

The Asian Bridge Project between Sri Lanka and Okinawa was held from September 12 to 20 on Tokashiki Island. The National Okinawa Youth Friendship Center hosted this project commissioned by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. The project aims to deepen friendship under the theme of “Peace and Life” through exchange between groups of students.

Sixteen junior high school students from Sri Lanka, four staff, four Sri Lankan students studying in Okinawa and four Japanese tutors took part in the project, which was held for the fourth time this year. On Tokashiki Island, they enjoyed a variety of experiences and exchange activities held mainly at the National Okinawa Youth Friendship Center from September 15 to 17.

Sri Lankan students homestayed in the homes of students of Matsushima Junior High School in Naha. They visited Tokashiki with 13 students from Matsushima Junior High School. Both groups of students cooked Sri Lankan curry at the beach for lunch. In the evening, 10 students from Tokashiki Junior High School took part in the exchange meeting at the center.

They enjoyed the cross-cultural exchange, introducing their own schools and performing their own traditional dances. That night they stayed together. On the second day, in order to learn how precious human life is, they visited the site of a mass-suicide that occurred during the Battle of the Okinawa. After that they enjoyed marine sports at Aharen Beach and visited sightseeing spots on the island.

They experienced a lesson and interacted with students of Matsushima Junior High School during their homestay in Naha. On September 17, the Sri Lankan students also visited Shurijo Castle Park, the Peace Memorial Museum, Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium and looked at U.S. military bases. They returned to Sri Lanka via Narita on September 21.

A fifteen-year-old student said, “I am impressed with the kindness of the local people and the natural beauty of the blue sea and white sand of Tokashiki. When I return to home, I want to tell everyone about the culture of Okinawa.”

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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