Thursday, October 21, 2010

Dreams of our Children

Monday 10/18

Our first for the day is to visit the Police Station and take a tour.  We arrived at the station with officers waiting outside ready to receive our group.  We went inside and sat down with the Police Chief and some of his top officers.  He gave us the statistics of his department.  They have 190,000 people in the district that he covers and has about 3,000 calls per years for the police department.  We asked if they have any female officers and he said yes, they have 3.  Then the Plymouth Police Chief, Mike Boteri spoke about the Plymouth Police department and gave some of our statistics.  It was quite the comparison.  We asked if they had officers in their schools, and they responded no, that their schools were safe.

We took photos at the police department with our delegation and the Japanese police officers.  As we walked outside we noticed a police car and Chief Boteri asked if he could see inside of it.  Within minutes, another officer appeared with the keys and Chief Boteri was allowed to sit in the drivers seat and turn on the lights.  The lights actually rose and were elevated so the people could see the car better when approaching.  The lights were set up to only make noise when the car moves, so we did not get to hear the sirens.

Next stop town hall.  We visited with the mayor and vice mayor again and took a tour around the town hall offices.  We met our DPW, Board of Education, Planning, Accounting counterparts in the town hall.  It was interesting to see how their offices were designed.  I did not see any desk top computers.  Each desk had a lap top.  There were no frills in the offices.  Basic grays and whites.  Some of the desks had personal objects on them such as photos, etc.  Other than that, it was pretty stark.

After our visit in town hall, we were invited to observe an event that happens twice a year.  Middle school students take a problem, try to find a solution, and then present it to the mayor.  We were able to observe two presentations of the assembly. 

The first one was, "Disaster Shelters--Raising Disaster Awareness by Training in the Evacuation Guidance Procedures.  The students wanted to have a full experience and did a practice evacuation that lasted all school day.  They described how they went down to the gym and spent the day there in their 1 meter allowed space.  They talked about the challenges and what they thought could be improvements.  Then there was an opportunity for the Mayor to respond to the project.  He was very impressed by their efforts to raise disaster awareness.  He also said he was "very impressed by their ability to look back on the past evacuation exercise and use those mistakes to make innovative improvements."

The second presentation was, " Increasing  Eco-Friendly Activities in the Community". The students recognized that there was a need in the community for recycling awareness.  They focused on two items, plastic bags and plastic bottles.  They came up with great ideas and solutions after surveying students.  The mayor responded by thanking the children for the efforts in recycling and said, " we are all depending on you to continue our proactive efforts".

Back to the hotel to relax for 1 1/2 hours.

Rotary meeting.

BBQ dinner party at the Kokusaimura International Center.  More speeches.  We were presented with a beautiful framed photo of our delegation and our counterparts from Sunday night.  The Frame is a beautiful crystal frame with the dates and 20th anniversary info on it.  At the party I met Mr. H. Susuki.  He explained that he was the postmaster for the area, and was giving out stamps as gifts.  I was wearing my scarf that has a USA Love stamp on it.  I showed it to him, and with the help of the interpreter I was able to let him know that I collected stamps when I was a child.  He was impressed.

We went to an after party at some place in town.  It was a karaoke snack shop.  We were only there for about 2 hours.  Took a cab back to the hotel.  Early morning tomorrow.

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