Hadano visitors explore life in Pasadena

Hadano visitors explore life in Pasadena
Posted on 01/22/2020
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Hadano visitors explore life in Pasadena

Story by Maria Mata
PISD Communications

Pasadena ISD hosted visitors from its sister schools in Hadano, Japan on January 6-11. 
Comprised of middle school and high school students, teachers, school district officials and city officials, the delegation toured their sister campuses – Teague Elementary, Sparks Elementary and Thompson Intermediate. The delegates also toured the district’s Lewis Career and Technical High School.

Sparks Elementary has been the Sister School to Nishi Elementary since 1987; Teague Elementary is the Sister School to Honcho Elementary since 1984; and Thompson Intermediate is the Sister School to Shibusuwa Intermediate, which started in 2009.  

During the elementary school visits, the principals at Teague Elementary and Sparks Elementary took the Hadano visitors on a tour of their classrooms, music rooms and school gyms.

Thompson Intermediate students were paired up with the junior high Hadano students and toured their classes for half a day. The visitors ate lunch with Thompson students in the cafeteria, where they got a taste of the American school lunch experience.

When the Hadano delegation arrived at the Lewis Career and Technical High School, they were impressed with the school’s unique contemporary architectural design, along with the many career opportunities offered at Lewis CTHS. The visitors toured almost every pathway, including cosmetology, floral design, childcare, collision repair, construction technology and veterinary technology. The visitors also toured the maritime pathway, where they were surprised by the realism of the vessel simulator used to train students for Maritime and Port operations.

The visit was part of a 55-year-long tradition started by the Pasadena Sister City Association, in conjunction with the City of Pasadena. To commemorate the special visit, the Hadano delegates shared 55-year-pins with all the principals at the Pasadena ISD schools they visited. 

Gayle Holder Carter, president of the Pasadena Sister City Association, who has been involved with this partnership for over 30 years, said the planning process, while intensive, has always been one of the highlights of her experience with the association.

“It is always a joy to host visitors from Hadano,” said Carter. “We had a really packed six-day schedule.” 

A couple of teachers from all three Pasadena ISD sister schools opened up their homes to students to teach them about family life in Pasadena. From playing video games, to ice skating and family dinners at the local restaurants, the Hadano students got a glimpse of American culture. 

City life in Pasadena

Hosted by representatives with the City of Pasadena, the Hadano visitors had the opportunity to learn about Pasadena culture as they visited museums and frequented establishments, including the San Jacinto Monument, NASA, the City of Pasadena City Hall, a fire station, Dairy Queen, and at their request, Buc-ee’s convenience store. The group also toured San Jacinto College’s Maritime Technology and Training Center and the LyondellBasell Center for Petrochemical, Energy, & Technology.  

The Hadano delegation also toured four homes in Pasadena during a progressive dinner party. During the visit, they enjoyed a course at each location, starting with appetizers at the first home, dinner at another, an ice-cream bar at the next home, and dessert at the last home. The four homes were owned by local business owners, ex-city officials, and Pasadena Sister School Association members. 

The last night of their stay, the City of Pasadena held a “sayonara” or “good-bye” dinner filled with food, music and laughter for the Hadano visitors. The entertainment included dancers, musicians and ended not with “goodbyes” but “until we see you again.”   

Norio Hara, a school official with the Hadano delegation, thanked everyone for being part of the Hadano visit. 

“We are very grateful for this visit,” Hara said. “Your hospitality is beyond any of our expectations.” 

Hara encouraged everyone in attendance to continue to keep the partnership strong. 

“The important thing is to continue this exchange,” said Hara. “Two-thousand fourteen was the 50th anniversary of the sister cities and the celebration was held in Hadano. Hopefully, for the 100th anniversary, we will be able to hold it here in Pasadena. We hope to see you all again.”

The City of Pasadena and the Pasadena Sister City Association continue to organize visits to Pasadena and Hadano every couple of years. Hadano is similar in size to Pasadena and is located 45 minutes southeast of Tokyo. 

For photos of their visit, please visit our Facebook page.