Families show U.S. culture to Japanese boys

July 30, 1996|By Sherry Graham | Sherry Graham,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

IMAGINE traveling to a foreign country where you're not very comfortable with the language, you're not with your family and you're only a high school student. That's how it is for a group of young Japanese exchange students visiting our area.

Nineteen students from Buso High School, a private boys' school in Yokohama, Japan, are spending four weeks here. The program, sponsored by International Training and Exchange Inc. (Intrax), provides the students with the opportunity to improve their English and experience American culture.

Through Intrax, the students spend mornings attending English classes at Deer Park Middle School, where conversational skills are the focus. Afternoons are filled with field trips to various places in the Baltimore-Washington area. An Orioles' game, bowling, tours of Washington and Annapolis, and shopping trips have been popular.

To give the students a taste of a truly American holiday, a traditional, though early, Thanksgiving meal is being planned for nearly 80 people at the Eldersburg home of Bruce and Dori Mayer.

The Mayer family has housed a student for the past several years but couldn't this year. Instead, the Mayers offered to play host for the Thanksgiving meal. Turkey and all the trimmings will be a first for many of the students.

Finding host families for 19 students was not as easy as area coordinator Elizabeth Masturzo had hoped. With just a few students left to place, she resorted to drastic measures.

"I put signs all around the area and even approached people in the local grocery stores to ask for their help," she said. "I did find a family or two that way."

The Quattlander family of Eldersburg was one that responded to a sign along the road. They are playing host to 16-year-old Makoto Yoshida, whose family runs a Chinese restaurant in the Chinatown section of Yokohama.

Makoto enjoys playing basketball, American television and American food, especially chicken. He is eager to make American friends and to practice his English. Makoto is looking forward to riding a horse for the first time since he was a little boy.

Makoto shared some of his culture with me through his origami skills. I now have a beautiful paper crane and a decorative ball to remember him by.

This is the third year that the Pittman family has taken in a Japanese student. Robert, Donna and daughters Elise and Kelli Anne find that they gain as much from the experience as the students do.

"We really have enjoyed the students. We love talking with them and learning about their country and their culture while sharing ours with them," said Donna. "The boys are all so gracious and happy to have a taste of Western culture."

The Pittmans have planned a trip to Flags Pond in Calvert County to hunt for fossils and a camping trip to Virginia to visit Washington's birthplace. Shinya Honuchi is looking forward to his first camping experience.

Also staying in Eldersburg are: Fumitoyo Tsushima, with the Ingrahams; Norihisa Shiiya, with the Macintyres; Eiji Onoki, with the McNurlans; and Manabu Chiwaki, with the Smiths.

Future Olympians

With all the excitement and interest in the centennial Olympic Games, I thought we should focus on some of our area's young people who might be future Olympians.

The Freedom Dolphins swim team has had an outstanding 1996 season. The team of 107 swimmers was coached to a 3-2 season by Tara Harbold and Melanie Hancock.

Several long-standing Freedom Pool records fell this year. Amy Hancock broke 10-year records in three events and a five-year record in another. Amy also qualified for the Junior Nationals.

Matthew Latham broke a 14-year-old pool record in the 25-meter backstroke. A girls' relay team of Jackie DelGiorno, Samantha Kruger, Amanda Jarboe and Anna Novak set a record in the 200-meter freestyle.

Competing in Division IV of the Central Maryland Swim League for the first time, the Dolphins sent 22 swimmers to the Straehle Invitational Swim Meet at Padonia Park. Swimmers had to beat specific times to participate in this meet.

Swimming at Padonia in the 8 and Under division were: Deanna Edwards, Jason Rawlings, Lauren Tabor, Stacey Krebs, Matthew Latham and Kevin Pugh. In the 9-10 division: Amanda Jarboe, Jackie DelGiorno, Samantha Kruger and Anna Novak.

The 11-12 division included: Leslie Edwards, Matt Reese, Justin Waagbo, Brooke Bennett, Emily McConville and Alyson Latham. Swimmers in the 13-14 division were: Amy Hancock, Stephanie Ryder, Jennifer Dick, Laura Moreau and Carrie Albright. Bill Marriott competed in the 15-18 division.

Nature center reunion

The Nature Center at Piney Run Park is sponsoring a reunion of sorts.

In celebration of 15 years of the "Mother Nature, Mom & Me" program, the nature center has scheduled a gathering at Pavilion No. 1 at the park.

Everyone who has ever participated in the program is invited to visit with past instructors and fellow students. There will be snow cones, games and awards.

There is no cost, but an R.S.V.P. by Aug. 9 is appreciated. Information: 795-6043.

Sherry Granahm's Southeast Carroll neighborhood column appears each Tuesday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

Pub Date: 7/30/96

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