Valuable exchange | AspenTimes.com
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Valuable exchange

Dear Editor:(This letter was originally addressed to the city of Aspen).Following our first week back from Katsuyama City, Japan, we are still in awe of the tremendous experience of living with the people of that tucked away community surrounded by beautiful green mountains. In order to comprehend and appreciate the grace and generosity of the people of Katsuyama City, you have to see it and live it for yourselves; and to my fortune, that is what we were able to do.The Katsuyama Aspen Club, Mayor Masahiro Yamagishi, city officials and host families let nothing fall between the cracks when it came to welcoming us to their community. They untiringly provided two-and-a-half weeks of attentive care, overflowing tables of food, and a myriad of Japanese cultural experiences. And they made sure that if there were sights that we wanted to visit, they got us there.Living with Japanese families was definitely the highlight of our cross-cultural experience. Their kindness, manners of etiquette and attention to our well-being were most pronounced. We felt as though we were high-ranking dignitaries in their presence. They are the blessed ones.We am most grateful to you, Mayor Helen Klanderud, and to all those who sit on the Aspen City Council with you, for your most generous gift of making it possible for me to chaperone the six wonderful and inspiring students from Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley. This experience will go down in our memory banks as one of the most valued moments in our lifetime.May we encourage you to applaud, treasure and nourish this friendship link with Katsuyama City, Japan. They are certainly one of the greatest communities on Earth, and they deserve our continued efforts of friendship and exchange of students, ideas and culture.Jim BakerBen BakerDylan BontempoRachel HaftelSarah RichardsonBrandon RichardsonRueben Sadowsky


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