A group of Japanese students recently kicked off a three-week visit to the U.S. by cooking pizzas with the owner of Rocco's Tuscany Grill, visiting Hartley Dodge Memorial and playing bocce at the Madison Area YMCA.
The visit was part of a Rotary exchange program that saw American students from Rotary District 7470 in New Jersey visit Rotary District 2670 in Shikoku, Japan, in July, and then brought Japanese students to New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania in August, according to a Rotary Club of Madison news release.
The Ross Redmond Short-Term Youth Exchange Program, which started 35 years ago, is directed by former Madison Borough Administrator Jim Allison.
The day after the Japanese students' Aug. 1 arrival, they went to Rocco’s Tuscany Grill in the borough, where Rocco Iossa taught them how to make their own pizzas for lunch.
Then, they met Madison Mayor Bob Conley and Councilwoman Jeannie Tsukamoto in the municipal building and played bocce at the YMCA, the news release said.
Subsequent stops on their trip included Dorney Park, Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, Martin Guitar, the Sussex State Fair and places in New York City, including the United Nations, the Intrepid, Yankee Stadium, Google's New York office and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. They also toured the Newark Cathedral for an organ demonstration and concert, and the Prudential Center.
The last leg of the trip included visits to Point Pleasant Beach, the Thomas Edison Museum, Liberty Science Center, Statue of Liberty and 9/11 memorial.
In July, 27 American students were hosted by four Rotarian families in Shikoku, where they toured the island and the Hiroshima and the Osaka area. The group was led by Jim Koons and his wife Dr. Janice Smiell.
For more information visit www.RotaryDistrict7470.org