PORT TOWNSEND — Konichiwa. Arigato. Tomodachi. The Japanese words for welcome, thank you, and friend were heard frequently in the halls of Mountain View Elementary School on Thursday.
The occasion was the first school visit by members of the Ichikawa sister-city delegation.
In town for a two-day visit, the visitors were greeted by a banner in Japanese Kanji characters, made by students Tristan Minnihan and Andy Hu, on the outside of the school, and more welcome signs inside.
In the office, they were presented with tulip bouquets, each topped with a paper crane made by Mikayla Gibson, and also with Mountain View notepads and pencils.
Then, the visitors walked down the main hallway, where students lined up to greet them.
Students in Leslie Schroeder’s class made “Welcome Ichikawa Visitors,” signs in Kanji, while other classes bowed to the visitors or waved colored streamers.
“I have never seen a greeting like this,” said Norma Wieman, a member of the Port Townsend Sister Cities Friends.
The visitors had lunch, while sitting at student desks, with Mary Manning’s fourth-grade class.
Manning visited Japan in 2004 as the recipient of a Fulbright Fund Teacher Program, which was designed to promote educational and cultural exchange between Japan and the United States.