August 24, 2012 (Glen Rose, TX) — North Texas has been named the site of the 2012 Japan-America Grassroots Summit. The event will bring 160 visitors from Japan to participate in tours, programs and homestay visits with 15 communities all over the DFW Metroplex. The half dozen visitors who will be hosted by Glen Rose will establish relationships with their host families and see the wealth of attractions in the area. The centerpiece of the visit will be a concert held in their honor.
The Concert on Saturday, September 1, at 7pm will enjoy the outstanding acoustics of the First United Methodist Church. There will be a reception at the Pie Peddler after the concert. Japanese-born, Dr. Asakura, Tarleton State Professor of Music, will sing a selection of traditional American songs. Lending his baritone voice to Spirituals, he will be accompanied by TarletonState colleague Dr. Leslie Spotz. According to Dr. Spotz,”The invitation to participate in such a far reaching international exchange right here in north central Texas is exciting and inspiring! Dr. Asakura and I were delighted to be included. It seems especially appropriate that he and I continue a Japanese-American cultural exchange in Glen Rose, since we already have that every day in the music hallways of TarletonStateUniversity’s FineArtsCenter.”
The visit begins in Fort Worth on August 28, with the Opening Ceremony at Billy Bob’s Texas and closes in Dallas on September 3. While the visitors are in Texas, they will take in sights all over the Metroplex including the iconic Fort Worth Stockyards sites and a favorite Japanese pastime, watching baseball. The Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, TX will observe Japan-America Friendship on Tuesday, August 28, when the Texas Rangers take on the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Glen Rose Homestay program kicks off on Thursday, August 30 with a welcome reception at Barnard’s Mill at 3:00 PM. “I was so excited to be asked to coordinate this event,” said Pie Peddler proprietor Rhonda Cagle, who is also the Host City Coordinator for Glen Rose. “I am a retired teacher and learning about different cultures is so intriguing to me. I look forward to showing them around my unique home town of Glen Rose. We have so much to offer a visitor to our small town.”
On Friday, August 31, the visitors will visit Fossil Rim Wildlife Preserve and DinosaurValleyState Park. In the evening, they will take in a slice of life (Texas-style) when they watch the Glen Rose Tigers take on Ranchview in the season opener high school football game. Following the football game, the visitors will be treated to a hayride at the Hideaway Ranch and have dinner at its new Silver Dollar Steakhouse.
”Immediately upon learning of the 2012 Japan-America Grassroots Summit, we knew we wanted to be involved,” said Jason and Traci Niedziela, the owners of the Hideaway Ranch and Silver Dollar Steakhouse. “We enjoy cultural exchange and we’ve both lived in Japan. As a result, we have a profound interest and love for this country. We look forward to helping any way possible.” Jason and Traci Niedziela are also helping conduct the cultural training for the Glen Rose host families in anticipation of the three-night homestay program.
The Summit honors the life-long friendship between Captain William H. Whitfield, an American whaler, and John Manjiro Nakahama, a Japanese fisherman and the first Japanese citizen to be educated in America. Manjiro’s knowledge of America faciliated the opening of Japan to trade with the western world following the arrival of Commodore Matthew C. Perry in 1853. Manjiro taught English, navigation, ship-building and American ideas, such as democracy, to young Japanese samurais who led Japan to modernize and join the developed world.
“The friendship between these two men is unique in that it has continued for more than 170 years between their descendants,” said Hiroko Todoroki, CIE Secretary General. “The purpose of the annual Grassroots Summit is to encourage new friendships between Japanese and Americans that will last a lifetme and beyond. Members of the Whitfield and Nakahama families play a pivotal role in each Summit, and serve as a reminder of the enormous potential of grassroots exchange.”
The 2012 Japan-America Grassroots Summit in North Texas is being presented by the Japan-America Society of Dallas/Fort Worth and the JohnManjiroWhitfieldCommemorativeCenter for International Exchange (CIE) in Japan and the U.S. in cooperation with the Consulate-General of Japan in Houston, community organizations and the host cities.
Sponsors are Fujitsu Network Communications, Inc.; Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America, Inc.; 7-Eleven, Inc.; Sumimoto Corporation of America; and Gulf States Toyota, Inc. Additional support is provided by Brounoff Communications; The Trammell & Margaret Crow Collection of Asian Art; Dallas GiveCamp, and Suzuki Graphic Design Studio.
For more information on the 2012 Japan-America Grassroots Summit in North Texas, visit the website at: www.NorthTexasGrassrootsSummit.org.
About the Japan-America Society of Dallas/Fort Worth (JASDFW)
The JASDFW has a 42-year history of contributing to mutual understanding betweeen the United States and Japan through educational, cultural, business, and exchange programs.
About the Center for International Exchange (CIE)
The CIE, a foundation formed in 1992, aims to contribute to global peace and stability, by promoting the mutual understanding and friendship between citizens of Japan and America and throughout the world.