Flashback Friday: Japan 2004...

My girlfriend, Lynne, and I led a group of middle schoolers on a ten day adventure to Japan. It was an exchange with Temecula's Sister City Daisen-Nakayama. What an adventure indeed. 

Our guides were our brave friends, Kozo and Yuko.
We began the trip staying with host families and touring the City. This is a photo with the Mayor at the time, and yes, he is standing up. My high schooler was a head taller than anyone we met. He was definitely visible when in a crowd.
We had hosted many exchange students over the years, but this was our first opportunity to visit them, at their school. Everyone came for an amazing welcoming.
After several days of experiencing life living with a Japanese family, we moved into our hotel in Osaka and spent our remaining time, touring various highlights, and utilizing various means of transportation. The Bullet Train was certainly the coolest.

We even went to the film studio where they had recently filmed The Last Samurai which happened to be shown on our flight home. It was one of those trips whose memories filled two large photo albums, so this is merely a glimpse.
I bring it up now because this week, a delegation from our Sister City is here in Temecula to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the relationship. We were suppose to host and since we can't,  I am beyond touched that Yuko and Lynne found the time in their über busy itinerary to visit me. We reminisced and for a brief time, I felt a part of the celebration. Next year!

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