The August temperatures were no match for the warmth of feelings generated between the delegation of Japanese teen-agers and our host families during their recent sister city visit. Many people in Lawrence were involved in one way or another, and all deserve a big thanks.
As host families, our rewards came in many ways. The curiosity, eagerness and genuine friendship shown by all the delegates from Japan quickly won everyone over. From an old-fashioned picnic to roasting marshmallows over a campfire, we came to know each other and found we shared many things in common.
Even the differences in language did not keep people from communicating as we realized children of that age enjoy doing pretty much what our teen-agers do: shopping, eating ice cream and pizza, laughing and playing tricks on each other.
But we also learned from our visitors. To be able to come on this trip to Lawrence, the Hiratsuka kids had to apply to the city (over 100 did). Then they had to write an essay and go through a series of interviews telling why they wanted to visit Lawrence and how they would share their experiences when they returned.
One Japanese student is a "youth leader." His job is to teach younger children, 5-7 years old, how to play games and obey rules. He also takes them to movies and other public places to model proper behavior.
As we toured Lawrence with our guests, their genuine eagerness to absorb everything American and their unending politeness deeply impressed us all.
Much was packed into their three days in Lawrence. We can be proud that the group from Japan will return home with praise for our city. And it is no small fact that strong friendships were formed between adults and teen-agers from both cultures. As one Lawrence teen-ager said, "If our ambassadors were kids, we'd be a lot better off."
Louis and Phyllis Copt,
3002 Lindley Dr.,
for the local host families.