Information and content from delegation visits between Concord and Nanae

Concord Receives Largest Nanae Delegation in Town History

By Ben Mirin

As seen in The Concord Journal.

On September 23rd, Concord received its largest ever delegation from Nanae, the town’s Japanese sister city. A group of seventy-two delegates filled the cafeteria of Concord Carlisle High School around 9pm to meet their host families and settle in for a week of exchange programs, official sister-city events, and sightseeing.

“We’ve been planning the events for this delegation visit for nearly a year now,” said Dr. Tom Curtin, Concord-Carlisle High School’s former guidance counselor and Concord’s primary coordinator and linchpin for the towns’ increasingly rich sister city history.

“We’ve just finished arranging all the homestays, and the group we’ve got on board to help host and entertain this year’s delegates is incredibly strong. We’re also excited to welcome some new faces from Boston into the sister city program, who have helped organized some exciting trips for us downtown.”

This year Nanae’s delegates will make several time-honored visits to Concord sites, including the Old North Bridge and the Orchard House. Curtin has also arranged tours of Harvard Square, the Japanese wing at the Museum of Fine Arts, and Berklee College of Music, with a special live performance by Japanese faculty member and trumpet virtuoso Tiger Okoshi.

Nanae has been sending its citizens to Concord almost every year since 1993, first informally and then officially after Concord’s Board of Selectmen voted to formalize the sister-city relationship in 1997. Historically, these groups have been on the smaller side, rarely amounting to more than twenty people. Students and teachers from Nanae’s elementary, middle, and high schools have comprised the majority of each delegation, alongside representatives of the local government. Members of the town’s taiko drum ensemble, interpreters, and many other citizens have also been in the mix.

But this year’s group is so large because of a promise that was made early on in the Concord-Nanae relationship, which will celebrate its fifteenth anniversary in October 2012. The Concord-Carlisle High School band director, Alfred Dentino, has been waiting to see it fulfilled.

“We first sent our Concert and Jazz bands to Nanae in 1998” Dentino said. “The trip was a great success, and our students loved having the chance to visit Japan. I’ve been waiting for the chance to host Nanae’s high school band in Concord ever since.” Read more

The Mirin Family Visits Nanae

By Ben Mirin, CIR

As seen in The Concord Journal column, “The Japan Connection.” Stay tuned for pictures on Concordnanae’s Flickr Photostream and Photo Gallery!

July 4, 2011

Hold the bachi at your navel. Is it touching the surface of the taiko? If not, go lower.

With this mantra in mind, I assumed an increasingly strenuous stance alongside the rest of my family as we merged mid-song into the ranks of Nanae Danshaku Daiko Sosakukai, the Nanae taiko drumming ensemble. Before an audience of nearly one hundred Japanese town office workers, English students, and high-school students, the latest delegation from Concord, MA, struggled to keep the beat.

Like every other day in Nanae, tonight was another chance for my family to be a part of something extraordinary. Eight days had passed since their bleary-eyed arrival at Hakodate Airport. Now, at the farewell potluck party in Nanae’s Bunka Center, Japanese friends from every part of my multifaceted life in the sister city had converged in one place, to treat us one final time as special guests in their community.

The days leading up to the farewell potluck were filled with a rich variety of events and excursions. At the center of the schedule were the routine responsibilities of the CIR. My family visited four of my six English conversation (eikaiwa) classes, toured the town office, ate dinner with Mayor Nakamiya, and made origami with the children of Donguri Kindergarten. With incredible help from Koji Teraya and Emi Kimura (International Relations), we also managed to go sightseeing in Onuma Park and Hakodate. We played park golf, went fly-fishing in Nanae’s Ookawa River, and went bird watching in Onuma and southern Kameda. We even attended a big-band jazz concert in Hakodate’s Public Meeting Hall, and enjoyed a fabulous cooking class with my eikaiwa student, Yoko Sato.

Our final day in Nanae began with a visit to Nanae High School, where we arranged to have a special meeting with Principal Kogoshi before attending the Tea Ceremony and English clubs and the brass band rehearsal. Enthralled by the brass band’s final piece, a stellar rendition of the Super Mario medley, we barely made it to the Bunka Center before Nanae’s Vice Mayor, Shuichi Baba, began his official address to open the Mirin family potluck party. Read more

Taiko Drumming at Concord-Carlisle High School

Taiko Drumming at Concord-Carlisle High School

By Ben Mirin, CIR.

Members of the community Taiko club at Concord-Carlisle High School describe witnessing Taiko drumming during a visit to Nanae, Japan, and how that experience encouraged their study of the traditional Japanese art form.  The students featured here are Mark O’Toole (’11) and Nathaniel Ridpath (’13), both of whom were members of the Concord delegation that visited Nanae in April 2010.

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Nanae Students Visit Concord, MA, in October 2010

Nanae Students Visit Concord

By Ben Mirin, CIR.

On October 11th, 2010, eight students from Nanae High School and Middle School began a week-long visit to Concord, Massachusetts.  All were select members of Nanae‘s annual delegation to Concord, and most had never traveled outside of Japan.  Together with the help of the CIR, Ben Mirin, and staff at Concord-Carlisle High School, they produced a 10-minute documentary about their experiences and initial impressions of CCHS and its people.

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