Shaler Area students travel to Japan in special exchange program
Shaler Area High School students, upcoming junior Jacob Aluise and senior Evan Lysko, are two of 10 Pittsburgh students to travel to Japan this August to take part in a special exchange program.

Jacob Aluise and Evan Lysko were the only two Shaler Area students chosen to participate in the TOMODACHI Ties Through Taiko project through the Japan America Society of PA. The students left on August 5 for Mihama, Aichi Prefecture, in Japan, to engage in a cultural exchange and joint taiko Japanese drumming performances with students from Nihon Fukushi Daigaku Fuzoku Koto Gakkou’s taiko club, “Rakko.”

In August 2015, the Japan America Society of PA welcomed high school students from the Nihon Fukushi Daigaku Fuzoku Koto Gakkou’s taiko club as part of the TOMODACHI/ National Association of Japan America Societies Grassroots Exchange Initiative. The theme of this program was “Leadership in the Arts,” which helped students to get engaged in cross-cultural communication about art and the leadership skills necessary to create a thriving cultural environment. At the same time, this program enabled musical exchange and a joint taiko drumming performance at the end of the exchange week.

Jacob Aluise and Evan Lysko were introduced to taiko drumming through Shaler Area High School’s Japanese program and Shunji Iwasaki, of Osaka, Japan, who co-taught the Shaler Area Japanese classes in the 2015-16 school year through the Japanese Language Education Assistant Program, or J-LEAP.

The 10 students from Pittsburgh will be staying with host families, visiting cultural sites and practicing taiko drumming with their Japanese counterparts. Students will return to Pittsburgh on August 14. The students’ adventures are chronicled on the blog: www.japansocietypa.org/TOMOblog.

Jacob Aluise and Evan Lysko also were featured in the local newspaper:

English translation:
American High School Students Come to See Japanese Taiko
Performance on the 13th at Nihon Fukushi University Mihama Campus

Ten high school students from Pittsburgh, USA, who came to learn taiko, met with Mayor Nobuyuki Kamiya on the 8th.

The students are staying for 9 days beginning August 6th with members of the National Taiko Competition winners from Nihon Fukushi Affiliated High School, and want to deepen their ties.

Representatives Evan Lysko (17) and Jacob Aluise (16) greeted the Mayor's office, saying "We want to make friends through taiko." Mayor Kamiya hoped that the students will make wonderful memories.

During their stay, the students will practice with members of the taiko club for a performance at the Nihon Fukushi University Mihama Campus's Culture Hall on the 13th at 2:00 PM. Admission is free.
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1800 Mt. Royal Boulevard     Glenshaw, PA. 15116     P 412-492-1200     F 412-492-1236
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