Rikuzentakata, Japan and Crescent City, Calif, were united by nature rather than design.
The devastating tsunami that hit Japan close to 5 years ago ricocheted back, washing ashore the United States northwestern coast and in the process destroying dozens of boats in the Crescent City.
Two years after that, a souvenir in the Japanese tsunami came: Kamome, whose name refers to “sea gull.” Rikuzentakata Takata High School had used the small blue-and-white boat to carry out scientific classes. This had been swept by the tsunami and in the process resulting in the death of 22 students and 1 teacher.
The boat was swept to the beach close to Crescent City.
Students from Del Norte High School in Crescent City set on a mission to clean the boat and take it back to the owners on the other side of the Pacific.
Students on either side have now been united by the Japanese tsunami.
They will spend this week in the brilliant Takata High School complex that overlooks the ocean. The March 11th 2011 disaster destroyed the original buildings.
The U.S-Japan Foundation funds the exchange which will be graced by eight members of a “junior Rotary” club located in Del Norte High.
The vice principal of Takata High said that the bonds being created are special. “The earlier covering of the boat was dirt and shells and it would have been so easy for anyone to chuck it away upon its emergence. But this people saw that it was important to us and thus cleaned it and brought it home.”
The American students are being taught on how Japan is prepared to handle disaster, Japan in general and the similar factors that are common to them. They have so far played basketball and practiced martial arts together. They have also taken English class and the Japanese calligraphy jointly.
The principal to Del Norte High School said that the notion of sister school is not a new idea but theirs was a special case. “Each person we have come across was affected by the tsunami but they still hold on strongly. They are focused to rebuild, rebuild stronger and better.”
Observing from the surface, the students did not look any different. The American high school students blended equally well with the Japanese students.
During class, the Japanese students all wore blue blazer uniforms. They later on would change into regulation coveralls to attend the cooking class and regulation tracksuits for the gym class.