Menlo Park invites residents between the ages of 13 and 15 years old to apply for the Student Cultural Exchange
trip to visit the town and families of Bizen, Japan, a friendship city with Menlo Park. The application
involves a brief essay and is due by 5 p.m., Friday, April 1. The trip is open to up to 10 teens and four parents/related adults.
Bizen City in Okayama Prefecture is a traditional fishing village, the home of Bizen-yaki pottery, Osafune Japanese swords and a soy sauce factory. The Bizen ware pottery is a traditional art more than 1000 years old that is created with earth and fire and has a simple texture achieved without glaze or ceramic painting. This is one of the most famous potteries in Japan. Bizen is also home to the Shizutani School, the oldest public school in Japan and established in 1670, which provided education on farming and forestry activities. Its Lecture Hall, containing contrasting reddish-brown Bizen ware roof tiles and white walls, is the only national treasure in Japan that is a school structure.