PP STEVE DAY led the Pledge. Next was the Invocation, by PDG ANDY ANDERSON. This was a collection of sayings by people we’ve all heard of, as follows:
“Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn’t” - Erica Jong.
“An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind” - Gandhi. “By the time you’re eighty years old you’ve learned everything. You only have to remember it.” - George Burns.
“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” - Mark Twain.
Good choices, ANDY Thanks. After telling us he had fallen into a rosebush and didn’t recommend it, LENNY took us through God Bless America.
The FRIEDMAN’s were well represented today, with SUNNY accompanying LENNY, and DAVID’s two daughters, Risa and Jordana, home from college. Roberto was with PEGGY. Marsha was there with PP STEVE DAY, in support of their son, Steven. PP CHRIS BRADFORD brought along Helen Isaacs, who is on the staff of State Assembly Member Mike Feuer, who represents the 42nd Assembly District. Assemblyman Feuer will be our Speaker shortly. TODD SINGLETON was there to hear his son, Kevin, report on the trip. Seated at the Head Table were PP JOHN SINGLETON, PP ED GAULD, and PP MIKE NEWMAN, plus PP STEVE DAY on the other side. PP ED, who looked innocent to me, was nicked for ten bucks by President GORDON. This may have been due to ED’s announcement that he would be one of the performers at a Disney Hall Concert on Sunday August 22nd sounds like a good program. And on the subject of fines, TERRY DE SOUSA got 5 big ones from PEGGY BLOOMFIELD for not wearing her pin.
Membership Chair PP MIKE NEWMAN reminded us all that August is Membership Month in Rotary. We all have friends we can bring aboard, but of course it starts with asking. He also noted that TODD SINGLETON really should be a member, and suggested that we institute a fine (paid by JOHN, of course) for each week that TODD continues to resist our blandishments (that means all the good offers we continue to make to him). This suggestion was very well received by the attending membership. Is Board Action possible? As a response, PP JOHN suggested that he could transfer to the Carlsbad Rotary Club, but PP MIKE reminded him of the existence of a large exit fee!
PP DON NELSON pitched the upcoming Fun Party, set for August 28th at the home of PEGGY BLOOMFIELD. Cost is $40, and checks go to MARGIE DOWNIE, please.
PP CHRIS GAYNOR was pleased to report that he is almost overwhelmed with sign-ups for the coming Host-Hostess Program. There is still time to come aboard give him a call.
The BROUSES saved the day with a rendition of their latest Rotary Song, entitled Our Youth Exchange. “We send our students to Japan, to learn about our friends”…and ending with “This youth exchange builds fellowship, binds countries across the sea.” And to cap it all, President GORDON made it a threesome, adding his voice to their already dulcet tones. The capstone of all this is that next week, the 12th, our Speaker will be Paul Wineman, a former member and real expert on the Middle East. It’s a great meeting to invite prospects to. And the week after that the 19th we will “toot our own horn” by outlining all the important things we have done, as reasons for others to join Rotary.
One joke was offered, which I hereby dutifully repeat. A new minister, noted in their bulletin that the subject of his next sermon, the sin of lying, would be taken from Mark 17. The congregation was urged to read that particular chapter beforehand. As he was about to deliver his sermon, the minister asked for a show of hands of how many had read Mark 17. Almost every hand went up. He then announced that Mark was the shortest of the gospels, contained only 16 chapters.
JAPANESE STUENT EXCHANGE
PP STEVE DAY introduced our program on the Japanese Student Exchange. He noted that the leader of the group was Steven Singleton, who along with Kevin Day would report on some of the events that took place. I feel compelled to report that my daughter, Andrea, was one of the first participants in this program that was only 42 years ago! Since then, my step daughter, Jennifer Bennett, has also participated, so you can depend on the fact that I’m a long-time fan. PP STEVE asked all those who had sent a relative to Japan on this program to stand, and quite a few of us got up. PP STEVE then made a pitch to those who haven’t yet participated and I have to add that I don’t know of any other program which has a complete 100% satisfaction rating! An important point here this is the ONLY Rotary program in which family members can participate without any tax liability. As you probably know, this is quite an unusual benefit, and it shouldn’t be ignored.
A quick bit of history: Last year the Program was cancelled, because of the H1N1 swine flu situation. This year there were five participants, and THREE of them came from WVRC! Besides Steven Singleton and Kevin Day, Juliana Peterson-More, granddaughter of ELEANOR MORE was chosen. Speaking for all five of those who went, Steven expressed their gratitude to Rotary for this opportunity. He then asked the five Japanese students who were with us all dressed in traditional costumes to come forward and introduce themselves. I must here confess that I couldn’t always understand what they said, but each one gave their name, age, and where they were in school. There were four girls and one boy in the group and part of the responsibility you accept as a participant is that you will in turn host the Japanese who come back with our students. They stay with each family for a week and the time flies. We exchanged flags with the students after they introduced themselves.
Kevin Day began his report by telling us that his brother had been an exchange student two years ago, but he really didn’t have any idea what to expect once he got there. The trip included one week touring several cities, Osaka, Kyoto, Hiroshima and Nara - and then staying with three different families for a week at a time. While with the families, they visited many shrines and temples - and Kevin found time to take in a lot of electronic stores. He felt it gave him a real opportunity to grow as a person and a member of the team.
Steven Singleton also thanked us for the chance to see Japan, not as a tourist. They also took in many Shinto and Buddhist temples, and the families were very friendly and helpful. They were taken anywhere they wanted to go the families couldn’t have been more cooperative. Steven had a long-time interest in Japanese comic books, and he was able to see a lot of them.
PP CHRIS GAYNOR reported that his daughter had gone on this trip eight years ago. She was very nervous about going. One interesting experience was when she called home from a telephone booth and then forgot her wallet when she left the booth! No problem it was right there when she returned sometime later. CHRIS was curious as to what experiences they had while staying with the various families. And the meals? Both Steven and Kevin replied that the honesty they encountered was the same everywhere, And everything was so clean no trash anywhere.
The families always offered their guests first choice on everything. They also enjoyed typical Japanese food, in addition to American dishes. The families were outstandingly nice we got first choice of everything. Remembering to take off your shoes before entering the house was a bit hard to remember at first. They were asked what Okanomia was it’s fried food octopus, sometimes a mixture of shrimp, somewhat like a Japanese pizza. And flavored with mayonnaise and BB sauce, sometimes. MARCIA BROUS came in with a bunch of questions, some of which were answered. Was there a training program in advance of arrival? Are the students who come back to America the same ones you stayed with in Japan? Steven responded that they had three Orientation program before they left. They each stayed in separate homes.
The first week they did things together, but after that, with the families, they did separate things. The last family they stayed with had the students who came back to the U.S. with our kids. While there, our students participate with the families, but over here, each Rotary Club handles the group as a unit. It was fun participating with the families, and we should do more of this here.
What was the visit to Hiroshima like? It was heavy a huge shrine, and very moving, but their hosts didn’t focus on blame, or anything like that. Does a typical Japanese household have pets? Yes, similar to Americans, with dogs and cats. Did you have any problem communicating with the families? In almost every case there was at least one family member who spoke English, so this was all OK. There were no deep conversations.
I asked if they gave a talk in Japanese, and they each memorized a talk and gave it when visiting the various Rotary Clubs. We were even treated to an example of one of their talks! GORDON then asked which one of the Japanese students wanted to translate what was just said! No takers. Their program for the rest of today was a visit to UCLA and the student store, and then downtown. They planned dinner at Phillipes, and on to the Dodger game.
Our thanks to all who helped to make this program both a reality and a success.