GREENFIELD — From the roads to the meals, everything is bigger in the United States.
That’s one conclusion drawn by students Aya Endo, 13, and Yume Hirota, 14, who recently traveled to Greenfield from Kakuda, Japan. Ten students age 13 to 15 and three chaperones from Kakuda arrived in Greenfield late last week and will remain in Indiana through the weekend as part of the Sister Cities of Greenfield cultural exchange program.
As students explored downtown Greenfield early this week, they talked about the differences between their home country and the U.S.
Aya, speaking through an interpreter, noted that roads are much wider here than in Japan.
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Mayumi Nishi, who teaches English at Kakuda Junior High School and accompanied the students, said Greenfield is a beautiful city, and everyone has enjoyed the trip so far.
“The people are very kind, and we have had great experiences on this trip,” she said.
Auto supplier Keihin Corp. serves as the connection between Greenfield and Kakuda, located about 150 miles northeast of Tokyo. The Japanese city serves as Keihin’s headquarters, while Greenfield is home to Keihin Indiana Precision Technology. The Sister Cities agreement was penned in 1990 as a measure of goodwill between the cities, shortly after Keihin established a manufacturing plant in Greenfield; the partnership eventually grew to include a foreign-exchange program, with area students and chaperones traveling to Kakuda, and Kakuda youths and chaperones traveling to Greenfield.
The Kakuda students started their day Wednesday by helping paint the Sister Cities mural on the side of the Inman’s Towing building near Center Street. The mural is an effort among the parks department, Greenfield Main Street, Hancock County Arts Council, Greenfield Sister Cities and the Pennsy Trail Art Group.
The students then toured downtown, starting with Greenfield City Hall. They exchanged gifts with Mayor Chuck Fewell, giving him a colorful mobile. In turn, Fewell handed out Greenfield T-shirts, a city flag for the Kakuda city chambers, pens and coins bearing the city logo.
The students and chaperones also toured the second-floor courtroom of Judge Dan Marshall, where they learned about the judicial system at the local level, before they stopped in to look around downtown businesses.
“The Sister Cities program is a great culture exchange,” Fewell said. “These kids wouldn’t have this opportunity without the program.”
As they conclude their visit, the students and chaperones from Kakuda will be the guests of honor at the annual fundraising walk benefiting the Sister Cities organization.
The fourth-annual Sister Cities of Greenfield 5K Run/Walk, slated for 9 a.m. Saturday, begins at the Sister Cities Park next to the Greenfield Police Department, 116 S. State St., Greenfield.
The fourth annual Sister Cities of Greenfield 5K Run/Walk will be 9 a.m. Saturday, beginning at the Sister Cities Park next to the Greenfield Police Department, 116 S. State St., Greenfield.