Japanese students visit Atholton High WEST COLUMBIA

October 15, 1992|By Sherry Joe | Sherry Joe,Staff Writer

Japanese students on a daylong visit at Atholton High School yesterday were directed to classes in government and politics, American history and art.

But those subjects were quickly dismissed as Japanese and American students quizzed each other about classes, hobbies, clothes and ethnic diversity.

After frowning intensely for a moment, Kazue Yamakado offered one observation.

"American classes have more discussion," the 16-year-old told a group of Atholton High School students over lunch.

Japanese students are not allowed to speak in class unless acknowledged by a teacher, she said.

Kazue was part of a seven-member delegation from the Kanagawa Prefecture in Japan.

The group included an English language teacher, school administrators and three high school students.

The delegation celebrated its sister-school ties with Atholton High yesterday during an hour-long assembly that featured the school choir, pompom girls, and an exchange of gifts, including a traditional Japanese bride doll and a classic Kamakura-bori lacquered wooden saucer. Atholton students offered several gifts, including a book about Maryland and Atholton High School pins.

Kazue was joined by students Mika Takemoto and Hitomi Nishihara. All are 11th-graders at Kamakura High School in Kamakura, a city of about 174,000 residents, 37 miles southwest of Tokyo.

They attend school six days a week, from Monday through Saturday.

Classes contain about 45 students. Instead of changing classrooms, students remain in the same room while the teachers rotate.

The three students wore identical navy blue blazers, pleated skirts, and white socks.

The diversity of the United States was not lost on the Japanese students. "It's many kind of people in Washington, D.C.," said Kazue, who visited the capital last Saturday.

At Kamakura High School, the only non-Japanese students are two exchange students from Australia, the students said.

The school has about 1,500 students, they said.

But there were some similarities. The Japanese students said they play American football and have a school choir.

The delegation will visit the Inner Harbor today and Annapolis on Friday.

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