A Hawaiian Experience: Miyazaki Students Welcomed To Mililani

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By Taylor Ann Ono
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(Jannah Kalai | Trojan Times) Alyanie Jennings (11) was one of many who performed a hula dance for the Miyazaki students in a welcome ceremony showcasing Hawaiian culture.

On Feb. 27, students from Miyazaki School in Miyazaki, Japan, visited and toured the MHS Campus with the help of ASMHS officers and student volunteers. Miyazaki School, a maritime school, teaches and prepares students how to be a part of the fishing industry. They travel to Oahu on their very own fishing vessel for three weeks and when they arrive, they (will) sell the fish that they caught and go sightseeing with MHS being one of their destinations.

 I’ve always been interested in sharing about Mililani, (and) being able to share the aloha or Trojan spirit. I think it’s a really neat opportunity to showcase all the good things going on at our school, so personally that’s where (I’m passionate). It’s really cool to learn about what life is like in other places (the Miyazaki students) did things that we are not used to seeing and experiencing. It’s nice to realize how vast the world is, but at the same time realize we’re all connected in many other ways,” expressed Student Activities Coordinator Leilani Ward-Riehle.

The students got a tour of campus and experienced what high school is like in Hawaii. “When they arrive we welcomed them with kukui nut leis, (and brought) them into the cafeteria. (We had) a welcome ceremony, and that entails some Hawaiian treats. We gave them a taste of papaya, mango, macadamia nut, a taro cookie and passion orange guava juice. Then we (gave) a welcome speech about Mililani High School,” explained Ward-Riehle. “They got to visit the different classrooms. We tell them to go to the Japanese language classes, but (we also) bring them to our hands on (classes like) woodshop because their school is such a hands on trade type of school. We (also) had lunch with them together so they got to go through the cafeteria lunch line.” Junior Cassidy Asato added, “I felt like a tour guide because these people are coming in, they’re unfamiliar with the campus, and I feel like when they ask me questions I was able to help them, which made me feel good. I get to actually provide (them with) information that (they) didn’t know so that was really cool.”

Even though the Miyazaki students came here to learn, the visit was a learning experience for the hosts as well. “Doing something new, taking on new opportunities, it’s good for you and it’s good for everybody else as well. I feel both of us, we all have a good time conversing and practicing and just trying to get to know each other, despite the differences. We were still able to connect,” stated Asato. Ward-Riehle added, “It’s funny because there’s so many things that end up being the same (between the students). Initially, they seem quiet, they seem timid, but I think that’s normal to be a guest somewhere. But by the end of the day, the jokes or the interest in music or those personalities seem to arise, and that’s kind of what makes us notice that although we are (from) two totally different countries, there (are many) similarities.”

Even after the students left, there are still connections that bind everyone together. “I feel that just because you’re in totally opposite places of the world, that doesn’t matter. Friends are friends and they’re really really nice people. I love to keep in touch with them,” explained Asato. “When I met them, they were so open and I was pleasantly surprised because I felt like when I was adjusting here, I had a hard time coming out of myself. But they were just instant and they were so comfortable. I really like that about them, (and) it wasn’t awkward at all.” Junior Isaac Goshay added, “Talking to the students and seeing what they enjoyed (was my favorite part about being their tour guide).”

The Miyazaki students have been visiting MHS for nearly a decade. When they leave, they sail across the ocean to Japan, the same way they arrived, and continue to learn about the world of the fishing industry.