Story by Jack Brockley
Photos by Tetsuya Miura
A convergence of cultures brings together teens from three nations
for two days of cooking, stargazing, camping and river rafting.
he heavens, as they always do,
put on a show for Saitama, Japan, on August 12, 2013. There,
in the firmament above, the moon presented a waxing crescent as it neared its
first quarter. Nearby, Saturn, a prominent fixture in the sky since early spring,
had increased its tilt for a majestic display of its rings. The annual Perseid me-
teor shower cast scores of shooting stars
across the Northern Hemisphere.
Down to Earth, 33 teens gathered
near the mountains of Chichibu, Japan. They came from China and at Nichigo
Gakuin language mix and
test their Japanese with youth from
Jyakkoen, a local orphanage.
For two days and one night, they
cooked together, camped together and
studied the universe together, compliments of the Kiwanis Club of Saitama.
Their cultural differences became evident from the beginning.
As coals glowed in the grill, the Chinese youths surprised their hosts by
rinsing the pork in water.
are you washing the
they were asked.
normally fry one visitor
answered. we frying it
today, we thought we should wash
The three cultures collaborated in
fixing a meal of pan-fried noodles with
pork and bean sprouts, accompanied
by grilled onion, carrots, green peppers, potatoes and sausages.
Next on the agenda: stars.
Japanese, Chinese and one Vietnamese
teen work together to prepare their meal at
Ohtaki Genki Plaza in Chichibu, Japan. The
secluded retreat offers permanent tents, a
gymnasium, baths, lecture rooms and an