Cedar Rapids students form bonds of friendship with Japanese - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cedar Rapids students form bonds of friendship with Japanese students

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

After spending the day teaching Kennedy High School students about Japanese culture, 24 Japanese teenagers had their turn to learn about Cedar Rapids from Mayor Ron Corbett.

The visit is a part of the Kizuna Project, a Japanese word that means "bonds of friendship."

"One of the really great things about exchanges like this is it brings people really together, even for a short time, to really forge bonds and make friendships," said Dan Carolin, Japanese Teacher at Kennedy.

Cedar Rapids is the second stop of a ten-day trip for the group.

Earlier this week the students got a front row seat as they watched American politics in action in the nation's capital.

"Three days ago Americans saw public action, Obama or Romney, so very excited, very interesting," said Ryoei Shiratori, 18 Years old.

The Japanese visit is actually the second half of the program. Earlier this year students from Cedar Rapids traveled to Japan.

"We were going over to Japan to learn about the earthquake and the tsunami and how it affected them and it was kind of special to us basically because we had experienced the flood in 2008," said Lauren Freeman, Kennedy Senior.

That's one goal of the Kizuna Project, to show Americans how japan is recovering from the 2011 earthquake.  The other is to experience each other's culture.  Friday the Japanese group will shadow Kennedy students at school.

On Friday the students will also give a presentation about recovering from the earthquakes and tsunami at the African American Museum of Iowa.

It starts at 5 p.m. and is open to the public, but you should call 558-4173 by noon Friday to RSVP.

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