March 2012

For a week Bulgaria had the honor to be a host of a special group of visitors. 16 Japanese children and four accompanying persons from Naruse Second Junior High School in Higashi Matsushima – a town in northern Japan that was heavily affected by the March 11, 2011 Tohoku earthquake and the subsequent tsunami, visited Bulgaria by invitation of the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The program for the children's stay and the journey realization were supported by Geotechmin OOD.

The week-long visit included an introduction to Bulgarian arts and crafts, a visit to a rose plantation and a rose distillery, Bulgarian folk dance lessons, several meetings with Bulgarian students, tours of Koprivshtitsa and other cities.

One of the visited places was Belogradchik, where the children spent three days. The group joined the town’s holiday by participating in the parade along with local high school students. Their friendship with the Bulgarian students was strengthened with games, cultural exchange and an improvised sports tournament. On departure from Bulgaria the Japanese students said that they would never forget the warmth and hospitality of the Bulgarian people and all of them would like to come back again.

On the TV show "Panorama" the principal of Second Junior High School "Naruse" Yuko Takahashi said: "Although the children seem happy and calm, the wounds they carry in their hearts are immeasurable. It is important to monitor in the future their recovery to take care of their souls. After the disaster people from all over the world helped us. Even in this hard moment we realized the connection between people, which in Japanese is called "kidzuna". This is the shortest path from heart to heart. When we set out on this trip to Bulgaria, I told the children that this is a chance to have a "kidzuna" – to connect their hearts with the Bulgarian people, who showed compassion and supported us in this difficult moment."



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