Aug 5, 2010
On Tuesday, July 20, 2010, a Donation Ceremony was held at the APU cafeteria to acknowledge the donation of 150kgs of Hinohikari-brand rice by Hiji Town, one of APU's affiliated municipalities. The rice was grown in Hiji Town at the "international exchange paddy", a rice field set up and managed by Hiji to allow for greater exchange with APU.
Mayor of Hiji Town, KUDO Yoshimi, addressed the audience before presenting APU President KORENAGA Shun with part of the harvested rice and said, "I hope that we can enjoy even deeper exchange and interaction in the future". Upon receiving the rice, President KORENAGA said, "Rice growing is a major part of Japanese culture and I am sure that this has been a great learning experience for our APU students". Through the cooperation of the APU Co-op, the rice was provided for half of the menu price. Mayor KUDO, Hiji Town representatives, students, faculty and staff sat down for a meal made with the donated rice. Many people also enjoyed the Hiji Town PR booth set up in the cafeteria with display items and pamphlets.
The donated rice was planted in June last year by members of the Hiji community including Mayor KUDO, town representatives, members of the Ogami Ward Noki Farming Co-op and paddy field maintenance staff, together with approximately thirty local family members and ten APU international students from Vietnam, China, Taiwan, Myanmar and Mongolia. The rice was also harvested as part of an exchange initiative in September, last year.
Through the cooperation of the Noki Farming Co-op, the "international exchange paddy" was begun in 2008 after the conclusion of a Friendship Agreement in February, 2007, between Hiji Town and APU. This initiative is one of many projects designed to provide APU students with opportunities for local interaction through projects such as this.