Sara Swanson

Two special visitors from Japan to call Manchester home for the month of August

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At the airport (L to R) Aoi, Peggy, Arisa, Barry. Photo courtesy of the Allens.

At the airport (L to R) Aoi, Peggy, Arisa, Barry. Photo courtesy of the Allens.

Manchester has two very special guests this month from Japan, Aoi Maruta is from the Osaka area, is 17 and in her last year of high school. Arisa Yoshiba lives near Tokyo, is 16 and has two years to go in high school. They are here with the Lions Youth Exchange Program. As this is a cultural exchange, students come here during their summer vacation, normally 4 to 6 weeks, but Aoi and Arisa only have about 3 & 1/2 weeks which is the extent of their summer vacation. And even at that, they have homework every night which they must turn in on the first day of school. The two girls are being hosted by Peggy & Barry Allen. Barry Allen explained that before their arrival, they exchanged emails, and got to know each other. They arrived on Wednesday night, August 3rd, and will return home on August 28th.

The Allens have hosted 31 students from 9 different countries since 2008. Over the last three years they have endeavored to visit with some of their previous Youth Exchange students. When they were enroute to Hamburg, Germany for Barry Allen to be installed as District Governor, they took a side trip to Finland to see six of the students they had hosted. In September, last year, they did a tour of Australia & New Zealand and visited with six of their students and their families, staying with one family for a week in Australia, and another week with a family in New Zealand.

“This past Lions International Convention was held in Fukuoka, Japan,” Barry Allen stated, “so was an excellent opportunity to visit our Japanese students.” After five days at the convention, they went to Osaka for five days, meeting up with eight of their twelve kids. While there, Aoi and her mother Yukari spent the day with them which helped them all to get to know each other better, and lessen the worry about travel to a foreign country and staying with strangers. After the visit, they were both excited about the trip.

“It’s wonderful to see them all growing up, continuing their education and beginning careers,” Barry Allen stated, “Our boy Kensuke is a High School English teacher, Yukiko has her dream job as a flight attendant for ANA (All Nippon) Airways, and Kim is a university student. All have success stories which make us proud.”

The Allens ask that if you see them around town at Kellie’s, Frank’s or on the street, stop and say hi so the girls can practice their English and meet the friendly folks from Manchester.

At the hotel (L to R) Aoi's mother Yukari, Kim Sugiyama (2014), Aoi, and Yukiko Miyachi (2010). Photo courtesy of the Allens.

At the hotel (L to R) Aoi’s mother Yukari, Kim Sugiyama (2014), Aoi, and Yukiko Miyachi (2010). Photo courtesy of the Allens.

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