Emiko & Kent Christensen
Title: Please support the Japanese participating in the Rose Parade!
Readers are familiar with the Rose Parade in Pasadena on New Year's Day. Has anyone noticed that a marching band from Japan participates there every year? My name is Emiko Christensen, and I am the President of the US branch of the Japan-America Green Band Association.
Green Band is a non-profit organization founded in Sendai in 1998 to carry out environmental conservation activities in Japan and overseas through music. We have performed in various styles, such as selected bands recruiting members from all over in Japan , and prestigious brass bands such as Kyoto Tachibana High School, Toho High School, and Gifu Commercial High School. Up to now, nearly 3,000 students have performed abroad, including in the United States and France, through the Green Band.
Since 2008, we are continued to participate in the Rose Parade as a representative of Japan. Some of you may have seen the Japanese band walking through the streets of Pasadena playing proudly on TV. About 170 people, mainly university students in Gifu, participated in this year's parade, which was the first in three years for the green band due to the influence of the corona.
Students participating in the Rose Parade will stay in Orange County from the end of December and practice at the Angels Stadium. In addition to the Rose Parade, they also perform at band festivals at Disneyland and Pasadena City College. They have become one of the notable bands in the Rose Parade with their selection of music that matches the trend, dynamic performances with movement, and production that incorporates Japanese culture.
As a member of the Green Band, the warm cheers of tens of thousands of spectators in the entertainment of Southern California inspired some participants to aspire to study abroad and dream of working in the United States.
For such participants, one of the great pleasures is the homestay where they spend one or two nights with a local family. The short but intense time spent with the local people will be an irreplaceable memory for the participants. It is not uncommon for them to keep in touch with their host families for years and then meet them again in Japan or the United States.
However, due to the increase in the number of participants and the impact of COVID-19, finding a place to accept everyone has become a source of trouble. This year, too, I reached out to various parties, and with the help of about 50 families, mainly in Orange County, I managed to find a place to accept all applicants.
The Green Band strongly hopes to continue this program because we are aware of the impact homestays have on individuals and on cultural exchanges between Japan and the United States. If you are interested in accepting Japanese students for a few days at the end of the year, please contact Emiko san.
Before the Rose Parade, the Green Band performed a free charity concert at Kennedy High School in La Palma, Orange County, inviting homestay families and others. If you are interested, please join us for 2024 project.