ANC Ambassadors visit Japan
"It was amazing," said Blake Carr after his return from 14 days of traveling and visiting the beautiful country of Japan. As one of this year's ANC ambassadors to Japan, Carr of Manila joined Aaron O'Neal of Gosnell, for the trip sponsored by the Yamato Kogyo Company of Japan and the ANC Foundation.
Aaron echoed Blake's enthusiasm about the trip. "It was such a great experience, and I am very thankful for the opportunity to go. I would recommend applying for the ambassador program to anyone who was interested in Japan."
This marks the 16th year for the ANC Ambassadors to Japan Program, which was created by Mr. Hiroyuki Inoue, President of Yamato Kogyo. This trip provides an opportunity for ANC students to travel to Japan for a two-week stay to learn about that country and bring that knowledge back to share with the people of this area. The trip is totally paid for by the Yamato Kogyo Company with the ANC Foundation paying the airfare.
Carr and O'Neal spent time in Japanese hotels, the Yamato Kogyo Dormitory, and the homes of Yamato Kogyo employees--which both said was one of the best parts of the trip. "I had a lot of fun with my host family, and meeting all the different people was awesome," said Blake who added, "They were very interesting and tried very hard to speak English."
Their travels began with a city tour of Himeji including Himeji Castle and the Kohko-en Japanese Garden. They then visited Miyajima and Hiroshima before spending a day at the Minami-Ohtsu Elementary School. They visited the ancient city of Kyoto where they saw the Golden Palace. The boys were able to take advantage of the bullet train on several occassions such as when they traveled to Tokyo where they were treated to a day at Disney Land and Disney Sea.
Each ambassador spent the weekend with a different host family. Blake stayed with the Kumagai family and Aaron stayed with Ishita family. Both indicated that this portion of the trip was a special time.
"My host family was great. They worked to make my visit a wonderful experience. It was neat to see how the Japanese live and share stories about my home with them. I'll never forget the Kumagai family," said Blake.
Aaron also commented on the hospitality of his host family. "The Ishita family provided me an unbelievable homestay while in Japan. They're wonderful people and I really enjoyed getting to know them."
While in Japan, the boys also had the opportunity to meet Mr. Hiroyuki Inoue, President of the Yamato Kogyo Company, Ltd. where they were given a tour of the steel mill in Himeji.
"We got to see so many things. It was just such a great experience. The people were so nice and friendly and the places we visited were amazing," said Aaron.
Both Carr and O'Neal expressed their appreciation to the Yamato Kogyo Company for its support of this program and for the wonderful hospitality they received while in Japan. Both said that they made wonderful new friends in Japan and were very happy to have had the opportunity to represent ANC abroad.