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Adult Exchange

The Oakland Fukuoka Sister City Association (OFSCA) celebrated its 40th anniversary as sister cities in 2002.  One of the outcomes of this milestone event, was the formation of a volunteer group in Fukuoka, Japan called the Fukuoka Oakland Friendship Association (FOFA).  The organization is composed of over two hundred members, many of which are former students who have traveled to Oakland on the annual high school exchange and/or their families.  The original officers of this group were the first high school students to come to Oakland in 1970 when the exchange was first established.
 
In 2004, FOFA invited OFSCA for the first adult exchange.  Fifteen members of OFSCA visited Fukuoka during their Hakata Dontaku Festival in early May.  Both groups celebrated the exchange with visiting City Hall - Mayor Yamasaki, Hakata traditional folklore museum, shopping, attending a Hawks baseball game, and participating in a round table discussion on a variety of topics – education and business etc.  We also took a train and visited Nagasaki.  Some of the Oakland participants spent a couple of days with a home-stay family.  OFSCA officers met with Fukuoka City officials to kick-off plans for the 2005 Greenery Fair.
 
In 2005, OFSCA invited FOFA for the second adult exchange.  Since this was the first time to come to Oakland, FOFA broadcast this to the general citizens of Fukuoka.  OFSCA received twenty-five guests.  Highlights of the exchange were Napa Valley wine tour and tastings, outlet shopping, round table discussion featuring volunteerism and business, local farmers market, walking tour of downtown Oakland, visiting City Hall and meeting with Council Jean Quan, Oakland Museum, and participation in our annual Otsukimi/Moon Viewing Festival.  In addition, participants were invited to a Halloween party and encouraged to wear costumes!

In 2009, nine participants went to Fukuoka for the third adult exchange.  They had a round table discussion with FOFA and JET members to discuss “going green” (green solutions/energy efficiency ideas).  They visited the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum and Fukuoka tower.  FOFA planned an overnight excursion to an onsen and toured the restored Kumamoto castle. The banquet dinner at Kumamoto castle was fit for a shogun.  On the way back to Fukuoka, they stopped at Mt. Aso but were unable to view it up close due to toxic gasses that were erupting.

In 2010, eleven adults and eight high school students visited Oakland with the America Japan Grassroots Summit (250 total participants from throughout Japan visited the Bay Area).  Eighteen of them were from Fukuoka and many were FOFA members or family.  They attended a San Francisco Giants baseball game to celebrate Japanese Heritage Day.  The students home-stayed with OFSCA families he entire 10 days.  The adults stayed in hotels for the first two days and then participated in home-stays for three days.  Highlights for the adults were visiting Alice Water’s Edible Schoolyard Garden and touring her famous Chez Panisse restaurant.  They were able to experience a trip to Berkeley Bowl and were especially taken with “green tomatoes”.  The group also went to the Torii Gate garden at Lakeside Park Garden Center, Chabot Space & Science Center and the Oakland Museum, where there was a special Pixar exhibit going on.

View our online photo album of the Adult Exchange.

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