《TAIPEI TIMES》 Kaohsiung, Japan students exchange gifts and insights
Children at Tomioka Elementary School in Japan’s Kumamoto Prefecture signal their thanks via video link while wearing earthquake hoods made for them by children at Kaohsiung’s Jhongsiao Elementary School. Photo courtesy of Jhongsiao Elementary School via CNA
By Liu Tzu-hsuan / Staff writer, with CNA
Undeterred by the COVID-19 pandemic, an elementary school in Kaohsiung and its counterpart in Japan have formed a friendship, with the Taiwanese students gifting their Japanese peers with handmade disaster prevention hoods.
Students at Kaohsiung’s Jhongsiao Elementary School chose the material, made the template and sewed the hoods, which were sent to students at Kumamoto Prefecture’s Tomioka Elementary School.
Classes on textile art creation and international cultures are part of Jhongsiao Elementary School’s core courses, the Kaohsiung Education Department said in a news release yesterday.
As the students master their craft, the school hopes to inspire them to understand the potential disasters their foreign friends face and offer practical help, it said.
The school usually arranges a learning trip abroad for students every year, the news release said.
While the COVID-19 pandemic prevented the students from interacting face to face, they were able through video calls to share their insights into their cities and the environmental problems their hometowns face, the news release said.
During the exchange, nine sixth-graders from the Japanese school took turns making presentations in English, followed by a discussion in which they answered questions posed by the Taiwanese students, it said.
Students from both sides named earthquakes as one of the disasters their cities face, and the commonality stimulated a lively discussion on preventive measures and personal experiences, it said.
Tomioka Elementary School students made huge lithographic prints of the nine participating students to commemorate the exchange and thanked their Taiwanese counterparts for the cute gifts, it added.
Tomioka Elementary School vice principal Kakumoto Masaki said that Taiwanese are passionate and friendly, adding that it was a pleasure to conduct exchanges with the Kaohsiung school.
Japanese student Taisuke said he hopes to continue the exchanges with Taiwanese students in junior-high school and promised to visit Kaohsiung when the pandemic is under control.
Jhongsiao Elementary School director of academic affairs Yang Chih-wei （楊志偉） said that students can put what they learned into practice through these international exchanges to create a better environment.
The Taiwanese students said they appreciated the opportunity to befriend their Japanese peers without traveling abroad or learning Japanese, adding that they would be more courageous in interacting with foreigners in the future.
Children sew padded earthquake hoods at Jhongsiao Elementary School in Kaohsiung’s Yancheng District in an undated photograph. Photo courtesy of Jhongsiao Elementary School via CNA