On Wednesday I spent the morning with a group of International Relations students from Nihon University, the largest University in Japan. They were on Saipan to study, well, Saipan.
Their tour guides were Aya and Willie Matsumoto. Aya asked me to help them participate in a Beautify CNMI cleanup. They were staying at the Aquarius hotel in Chalan Kanoa, so we cleaned up the beach fronting there hotel from 7 AM - 8 AM.
After the cleanup, Aya presented their teacher with a MINA t-shirt and Cinta, Marites, and I presented each student with an RC&D turtle bag and Restoration t-shirt.
Then we took a million pictures!
After the cleanup, we took the students to NMC to join in on one of Sam McPhetres CNMI History classes. We watched a video form Boston PBS called, "The Columbian Exchange," and then had a discussion on how Columbus' "discovery" of America affected the Marianas and Japan.
Then you know what we did afterwards?
We took a million pictures!
After the class we were given a tour of NMC by Dean Danny Wyatt. He showed us all of the classrooms and buildings, including the gymnasium, where the students played an impromptu game of barefoot basketball.
After the tour we had lunch at a restaurant in Oleai called Mitsue. It was my first time eating there; the food was pretty good. I tried sitting with Aya, Willie, and the teacher, but they made me go and sit with the girls in the group.
After lunch we drove up to Hachiman Jinja, the shinto shrine that I've been wanting to visit ever since I came to Saipan. The owner, Mr. Guerrero, invited several lawmakers and aspiring lawmakers to meet the students. Ray Yumul, Justo Quitugua, Clyde Norita, and Cinta Kaipat were all there to greet the students.
Governor Fitial was there, too.
It was overcast and raining, so my pictures of Hachiman Jinja didn't come out very well. I'll have to go back and take some more when it gets sunny again. In the meantime, this is what you see as you walk from the outer, to the inner shrine. Notice the broken concrete torii lying on the ground right after you go up the stairs:
The shrine is a very special place. When I post the pictures that I will eventually go back and take, I'll explain. If you can't wait for me, Aya and Cinta already posted some pictures.
The students went back to Japan today. I gave some of them this website url, so I hope they leave me comments!