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June 02, 2005

Little Ambassadors

Elementary school students are working as "tourism ambassadors" for Gifu Prefecture. The project involved 79 sixth graders from Saigo Elementary School on a 2-day school trip to Nara Park and Kiyomizudera temple in Kyoto. Working in groups of four or five and using English-language pamphlets, the youngsters had to spend about 30 minutes explaining about their home prefecture to any foreign tourists who would listen. They used phrases practiced during five hours of weekly English lessons, such as "Gifu is in the center of Japan" and "We have traditional ukai (cormorant fishing)." One student said, "I was nervous on the first day, but on the second day I could look people in the eye and speak naturally." Another added that she was delighted when foreigners listened attentively to her.

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