Guests from Japan visit Hastings for 18th year

Marika Ohtsuka takes a photo of workers at Catholic Social
Services posing with the group visiting from Ozu, Japan
Wednesday morning. The group of 12 visitors is spending
the week in Hastings commemorating the 18-year
relationship between Hastings and Ozu, which are
designated sister cities.

Much like their American counterparts, a group of nine cheerful, curious Japanese girls visiting Hastings this week rarely let their gadgets leave their sides.

While exploring the Hastings Aquacourt, Prairie Loft Center, Eileen's Cookies and other local places this week, the girls have been snapping photos on their cameras and smartphones to commemorate their trip across the world.

The group of nine students and three adults are staying with host families in Hastings — sister city to their native Ozu, Japan — as part of the Hastings International Exchange Organization, which has been organizing trips between the two cities for 18 years.

"It is such a unique tie," said the trip's activity coordinator Cindy Murphy. "It's like a string of friends across the world."

To read more, see Saturday's Hastings Tribune or the Tribune e-edition.>>>

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