Charles DeBenedetto ’16 and Zachary Grattan ’17 were recently invited to attend Technos International Week 2014 as guests of the Tanaka Ikueikai Educational Trust in Japan where they had the opportunity to explore Japanese culture.
From June 8 through 21, DeBenedetto and Grattan visited Technos International College and interacted with its students and faculty, accompanied by Sarah Meyer, community outreach coordinator for the Finger Lakes Institute. The aim of the program is to promote international exchange and understanding on the campus of Technos International College, as well as offer groups the opportunity to experience and appreciate Japanese life and culture.
“On the whole, it was absolutely amazing and life-changing,” says DeBenedetto. He notes how friendly and welcoming the Japanese students and faculty at Technos College were and how many close friends he made while he was in Japan.
“Although of course the sights and attractions were fascinating, it was the people that made this program so incredible,” DeBenedetto says. “I have never felt so humbled and amazed by the generosity of others before, and it has motivated me to be a better person. I already cannot wait until I return to Japan, hopefully someday soon.”
Both DeBenedetto and Grattan had to complete a special application and interview process before they were selected.
Just prior to returning home, Meyer wrote, “The trip has been amazing, with full exposure to the people, food and culture.” As the HWS staff representative, she met many faculty from around the world, including from Taiwan, New Zealand, and England. As part of the program, Meyer presented a lecture to Technos College students on the subjects of visual comparisons of food systems, sustainable agriculture, urban forestry and sustainable design.
Among the events the group took part in were a red carpet welcome ceremony and visits to Kamakura and the Edo-Tokyo Museum. They also had the opportunity to meet Dr. Kenji Tanaka and present him with a glass bowl made in Corning, N.Y., as well as a cookbook, “The Complete Kitchen Garden: An Inspired Collection of Garden Designs and 100 Seasonal Recipes,” by Ellen Ecker Ogden ’76.
The Colleges’ relationship with the Tanaka family dates back to the late 1980s when Tanaka visited the campus with his daughters, Makiko and Kimiko. A friendship was forged on that visit between the Tanaka family and the Colleges that not only has continued, but has flourished ever since.
Technos International Week began in 1992, thanks to the generosity of the Tanaka family and the Tanaka Memorial Foundation, whose gifts established the Tanaka Asian Studies Endowment and annually supports the Asian Studies Program, the Tanaka Lectureship in Japanese, and other programming at HWS. In addition to the endowment, 1992 marked the beginning of two initiatives with Technos International College (sponsored by the Tanaka Ikueikai Educational Trust), the International Prizes for Academic Excellence and International Understanding, and the Technos International Week.
The photo above was taken on the campus of Technos College. With DeBenedetto, Grattan and Meyer are college students studying hotel and airline services at Technos.