Menlo Park Housing News
2016 Bizen Trip

Menlo Park teens invited to apply for cultural exchange trip to Japan


Menlo Park invites residents between the ages of 12 and 15 years old to apply for the Student Cultural Exchange Trip to visit the town and families of Bizen, Japan, a Friendship City with Menlo Park. The trip is for 10 teens and three parents/related adults. It is tentatively scheduled for one week in late July/early August 2018. The application is one (1) full-page written essay on your interest in visiting Bizen, Japan and what impact this cultural exchange would have on your life and community. Food and lodging is provided, each participant must only purchase the round trip fight to Japan.

In 2016, Menlo Park students were matched with Japanese host families for a full Japanese-immersion experience. During the trip, the students lived with Bizen families and experienced many of the wonderful things their community offers: a Japanese tea ceremony, clay modeling class with a Bizen-yaki master sculptor, origami class, kimono dress and etiquette class and visit to two working middle schools where the students played games and attended a cooking class with Japanese students. In addition, the group had a welcoming ceremony with the Bizen City Council, a visit to the Shizutani School, Japan’s first public school dating back to the 17th century, and a day trip to Hiroshima to visit with a son of two survivors.

Bizen City in Okayama Prefecture is a traditional fishing village, the home of Bizen-yaki pottery, Osafune Japanese swords and a soy sauce factory. The Bizen ware pottery is a traditional art more than 1000 years old that is created with earth and fire and has a simple texture achieved without glaze or ceramic painting. This is one of the most famous potteries in Japan. Bizen is also home to the Shizutani School, the oldest public school in Japan and established in 1670, which provided education on farming and forestry activities. Its Lecture Hall, containing contrasting reddish-brown Bizen ware roof tiles and white walls, is the only national treasure in Japan that is a school structure.

For more information on the program, please visit the Student Cultural Exchange Trip webpage or contact Meghan Revolinsky, with the City of Menlo Park.


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