PENDLETON- After spending two weeks earlier this summer in Pendleton's sister city of Haramachi, Japan, six Pendleton High School students welcomed six Japanese exchange students from Haramachi to the Round-Up City this weekend.
The six Japanese students - Wakana Yamaguchi, Miho Niitsuma, Marie Sato, Hirokazu Gorai, Hironori Oishi and Michiaki Kanno - will be in Pendleton until Sept. 19, attending events such as Round-Up and taking in other sights.
"I've been looking forward to this for a while," said Pendleton senior Celeste Hull, who will host Niitsuma.
Pendleton welcomed its sister city students Saturday with a reception at the Community Room of City Hall, complete with signs, balloons, flowers and plenty of food. The Haramachi students flew into Seattle from Japan on Saturday morning and then drove to Pendleton.
"I want to show them Round-Up, of course, since they showed us all their horses, which are really important to them," said Pendleton senior Matt Prowant. "I just want to show them everything."
Sunday, the Pendleton and Haramachi students spent the day at McNary Beach in Umatilla, with a picnic and boat rides. The Pendleton host students have special nights each week planned at each of their homes. Some of those nights will include a fiesta, a southwestern barbecue, tie-dyeing and a bonfire, complete with s'mores.
The Pendleton students raised the money for their trip to Japan, which occurred in July. Each student received $566 from the fund-raising efforts and gave $100 of that back to the Pendleton Cultural Foundation, which helped organize the exchange.
Students used some of that funding to purchase gifts for their exchange students, including hats and T-shirts.