People get together under the Angels.

Website of Volunteers for International Exchanges

This Website carries experiences of international exchanges of mine and persons' I have met through various volunteer works, mainly as a volunteer for Japan Australia Society of Joetsu.

People gather beneath the Statues of Peace and Friendship at the Peace Memorial Park.

Sculpture by Tetsuji Okamoto
Photo by Syuji Hikiba

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since September, 2001

Mr. Shoichi Ishizuka, President of JASJ, and Mrs. Yoko Ishizuka, Director, were conferred the Australia Japan Foundation Achievement Award by Mr. Downer, the Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs, at the Australian Embassy in Tokyo. For more details, click here.
(8 October, 2002)

Mr. Jack Mudie was conferred OAM for service to furthering relations between Australia and Japan through the development of the Prisoner of War Memorial and Peace Park at Naoetsu. (January, 2001)

Activities by Japan Australia Society of Joetsu Contribution & Others
Introduction of Japan Australia Society of Joetsu

What's up at the Park? (since 1996)
The chronological table of who has visited the Park for what since 1996. 

Opening Ceremony of the Peace Memorial Park on 8 October, 1995

The former Prisoner-Of-War campsite, where the sad history had been carved during the World War II, revived as the Peace Memorial Park.  From Australia, five ex-POWs, their families, and bereaved families of ex-POWs, who had died right at this place, were present at the ceremony.  Also the Japanese bereaved families of the eight executed guards were attended.

Visit Australia in 1996
    (5-12 October, 1996)

A year after the opening ceremony of the Park, twenty-two members of the Society traveled down to Australia, meeting again in Sydney those who were present at the ceremony.  Afterwards we visited Canberra and Cowra, which has the history of the Great Breakout.

Visit Australia in 1997
    (13-28 August, 1997)

Thanks to Nara Japan Australia Society, which organized a homestay program, two members from Joetsu participated in it and toured around in Australia for two weeks.  Another two and Rod at West Pennant Hills traveled in his car to Cowra from Sydney.  All of them joined to attend the International Youth Forum there.

The First Host Family Experiences for Japan Australia Society of Joetsu
(22-24 April, 1998)

The twelve people, including schoolchildren, from Molong visited Joetsu as part of an exchange tour to Japan.  The impressions of those who welcomed and were welcomed.

Visit Australia in 1998
(31 July, 1998 - 23 August, 1998)

Three essays written by Mr. Hiroshi Matsuhashi, a high school student, Ms. Katsura Kobayashi, a member of the Society, and Mrs. Yoko Ishizuka, who has visited Australia five times, are here.

Mayor Miyakoshi's Visit to Australia
(8-17 October, 1998) 

Mrs. Ishizuka and I accompanied Mayor and visited Sydney, Cowra, and Canberra.

Visit Australia in 1999
(27 July-22 August, 1999) 

Two Yokos' essays here--"My Seventh Visit to Australia" and "My First Homestay Experience."

Visit to Australia for the Premieres of the Film, The Railroad of Love, with Mr. Chiba, its Director
(7-13 October, 1999)

Mr. & Mrs. Ishizuka attended the premieres of the film, The Railroad of Love, held in Canberra and Sydney.

Reunion at the Park
 (25-28 March, 2000) 

Twelve Australians visited Joetsu first time in five years after the Opening Ceremony. We welcomed them, this time, as our friends. 

Visit Australia in 2000
 (21 to 30 October, 2000)

Five of our members visited Australia in 2000.

Helen and her Party's Visit to Naoetsu
 (13-15 April, 2001) 

Six people, including the grandchildren of the late LT./COL. A. Robertson, visited the Park and later on the British Commonwealth War Cemetery in Hodogaya, Yokohama.

Host Family Experiences with BMX Riders
 (1-4 May, 2001) 

Seven BMX riders from Australian and New Zealand had a chance to stay at our members' home.

Neil & Owen's Visit to Joetsu
 (15-16 April, 2002) 

Neil and Owen, two ex-POWs in Nagasaki, visited Joetsu. Why Joetsu? Details are in the article. 

Visit Australia in 2002
 (19 - 27 October, 2002) 

Given a chance to reciprocate Neil and his party's visit in Joetsu described above, four members from Joetsu visited Perth and Sydney.

Corina, Welcome to Naoetsu
 (13 February, 2003) 

First time since 2001, when Helen and her party visited Joetsu, another grandchild of an ex-POW came to pay a brief visit.

The Naoetsu Boys
(15 August, 2004)

Mr. Kevin Nicol, a son of an ex-POW at Naoetsu, sent a message for the 2004 Gathering for Peace held on 15 August. He wrote about the reunion of four Naoetsu Boys.
Neil's Caravan Log
(Uploaded in 2004)

Neil and his brother traveled through many towns and villages in the "Outback," which means remote and usually arid, thinly inhabited inland districts. These towns -- quite different from Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth, which are well known to us Japanese -- are good examples to show us real Australian bush areas.

The Scene of the Mouth of the Ara-kawa River Where Naoetsu Harbour Was Located during the Pacific War--the oil painting that Mr. Kohichi Inomata presented to Mr. John Cook, an Australian ex-POW at the Naoetsu Camp
(August, 2002)

From Mr. Inomata's letter:
I presume the picture, though painted unskillfully and unfinished, makes a very suitable present to you. I hope your children and grandchildren will learn from this picture a lesson in the importance of peace.

The Leaves Changing Red and Yellow
(17 November, 2001)

With Ms. Carmel Ryan, who  wrote the article right below, we went out to the mountainside in a mini bus. Ms. Miyoko Uchiyama, a haiku poet, wrote an interesting essay about it.

Recipe for Peace

Ms. Carmel Ryan wrote an interesting essay about her experience here in Joetsu and the reunion with our friends in Canberra. This is the essay she gave us when she visited Joetsu on 16-17 November 2001.

Prayer for the World Peace
(15 August, 2000)

Ms. Carmel Ryan, a former President of Australia Japan Society ACT (Australian Capital Territory) wrote about her experience to attend the opening ceremony of the Peace Memorial Park Museum.

Ms Katherine Thomson & Japan-Australia Society of Joetsu
(20-21 January, 1999)

Mr. Toshiro Abe, a member of our Society contributed his article about Ms. Katherine Thomson's visit to the Park.

The 5th Asian Junior Table Tennis Championship
(29 April-3 May, 1994)

My first volunteer experience was to support the Cambodian coach and players. This event gave me the joy of serving international exchange programs as a volunteer.

A Volunteer for the Nagano Olympic Games
(24 January-1 February, 7 February, 22 February, 1998)

My experience to participate in the Nagano Olympic Games as a volunteer is here.

"Talking Salon" on Japanese, Australian, and British School Life co-hosted by Joetsu International Association and Japan Australia Society of Joetsu
(20 November, 1998)

Mr. Matsuhashi, a high school student who had joined the homestay program in Australia for three weeks, and Miss Danni Henderson, an exchange student from Australia, talked about their interesting experiences in the two countries.  In addition to them, Mr. Alan Lansdowne, an assistant language teacher from UK, spoke about comparison of the language teaching professions in the UK and Japan.

The Volunteer Academy on International Exchange
(24 October, 1998)

I had an opportunity to talk about my international exchange experiences at the Volunteer Academy hosted by Joetsu City.  Its theme is: "Is knowledge of foreign languages necessary for international exchange volunteers?"

Ruston, Louisiana on My Mind

My essay about my experience of studying in US, originally written for JASJ newsletter, is here.



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