Connecting People Through Plants
Although they’ve only known each other for two days, 16-year-olds Honoka Sato and Olivia Appelrouth have become fast friends. Sato, a Japanese exchange student from Municipal Urawa High School (Saitama, Japan) and Appelrouth, her host student, and a sophomore at Clover Hill High School, say they have learned much from each other already. Appelrouth explains how having an exchange student offers you a new perspective on your everyday life, “I learned that everything here [in the United States] is so much bigger [than in Japan]. It made me really thankful and I feel fortunate about stuff that’s just normal for us — simple things like being able to have cheap produce -– cantaloupe is really expensive in Japan.”
So far, much to Sato’s delight, they’ve been eating fruit at every meal, something, until now, Appelrouth didn’t realize was a treat. Sato’s first impressions of America? “It is very different here. [America] has a lot of trees and I feel like it is living in nature. Japan has lots of buildings. America has lots of trees. I love them.”
Connecting People and Plants
The group of about 20 students, 10 Japanese exchange students from Municipal Urawa High School (Saitama, Japan), and their 10 host students viewed a special plaque honoring the relationship between the sister cities of Richmond and Urawa (Saitama). The plaque commemorates a tree planting on October 18, 1999, when delegations from Richmond City and the Japanese city of Urawa planted a sweet osmanthus (Osmanthus x fortunei) tree. Each autumn the fragrant blooms fill the Asian Valley as the tiny white blooms open in the sun.
Scroll down to see the detailed writing on the sign. (Urawa has since been consolidated to form the city of Saitama.)