S. California Japanese Chamber of Commerce president and wife visit Ashinaga office, reconnect with Japanese orphans
Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Southern California president Mr. Toshio Handa and his wife =pictured at left= paid a visit Oct. 27 to the Ashinaga office in Tokyo, where they held talks with the president of Ashinaga, Mr. Yoshiomi Tamai, and three former participants in the “Japan-America Orphaned Students Short-term Study Program.” The program has been jointly implemented since 1984 by Ashinaga (including its forerunners) and the chamber, which is based in Los Angeles, California.
Ayumi Nakamura, a senior at Seitoku University who was a program participant in the spring of 2009, expressed gratitude for her experience. “I had a homestay [at the chamber president’s home], but it was not until the last three days that I was able to call him “Father,” and really feel it. I regret that it took me so long—if I had been able to get to that point earlier, I think I would have been better able to take advantage of his kindness. I still correspond with them as my ‘second’ father and mother, and meeting them again today has made me incredibly happy.”
As of 2009, some 142 Japanese orphans have been hosted by the Southern California chamber, while 23 orphans from the U.S. have visited Japan.