8th grade Japanese students to return home


What can be more American than bowling and pizza? It's the exact experience these the families in Livermore want these visiting students from Japan to leave with.

Everyone here knows the eighth graders are returning to the unknown. They're from Yotsukaido, which is roughly 200 miles from the leaking nuclear power plant.

"I get choked up thinking about anything happening to them," said host parent Barbara Kai.

"I just want to ensure they're safe, I mean, we've grown very attached to these two," said host parent Dennis Kai.

The group of 20 left Japan Saturday, one day after the tsunami and earthquake. Their parents specifically asked their host families to limit how much information these students had access to.

"We've been warning them about the lack of electricity, possible interruption in transportation, we really haven't talked about the nuclear power plant," said host parent Laura Peterson.

And the Fukushima nuclear power plant is on top of mind for most.

When asked if chaperone Takahiro Inoue would rather stay in the U.S., he said, "Yes, I would like to stay here."

"Some parts of Yotsukaido is not too good, I heard," said chaperone Machiko Tsuruoka.

Problems with rolling black outs and food shortages are just about everywhere. But now help is coming. A donation drive started on Wednesday night after an exchange student got an e-mail from his mom in Japan telling him to pack as much bread, flash lights and batteries as possible.

"Support them best we can, if they need food we want to transport food," said Livermore resident Karen Powell.

Each student will take home a box filled with supplies. With the hope, that the content will bring comfort to families on both sides of the world.

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