Boonsboro School honors Japanese visitor

October 31, 1997


Staff Writer

BOONSBORO - Atsuko Yasui's visit to Boonsboro Elementary School was meant to educate students about her Japanese culture, but it was as much of a learning experience for her.

The teachers she met during her month stay took her to big U.S. cities like Washington, D.C., and New York City, where she took notice of fast-driving cabbies and other nuances of metro life.

Yasui is a housewife in her hometown of Tumba, but student Crosby Blair said he kept emphasizing that Yasui didn't have to worry about those kinds of chores while she was living with Blair and his parents in Boonsboro.


Yashui was often washing dishes and doing other house work while staying with Blair.

"I'm telling her, don't work so hard," said 9-year-old Blair.

Yasui came to Boonsboro Elementary through a Japanese organization that helps U.S. schools learn about Far East culture, said Principal Richard Reynolds. To participate in Sowing Together for Earthly Peace, or STEP, schools only have to pay for the visitors' lodging, said Reynolds.

It has been a total Japanese experience at Boonsboro since Yasui arrived. When she was not in the classes introducing students to Japanese culture like origami and a three-line form of poetry known as Haiku, teachers were leading their own Japanese lessons.

In social studies, students studied the culture of the country, its population and other subjects, said teacher John Miller.

Trappings of Yasui's visit were scattered throughout the school Friday, when students honored her in preparation for her departure back to Japan Monday.

Paper Japanese lanterns, used in ceremonies and festivals, were taped to windows and draped from coat racks in the school. The schools 575 students then participated in a Japanese play for Yasui.

"This is quite a thing to pull off (with) the whole school," said teacher Bob Kann.

Yasui is the mother of two children, and her husband manages several bookstores in New York and Japan.

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