Arizona Teacher Reunites with Japanese Host Family

After Japan’s 7.6 earthquake on January 1st, Anne Hanson, a veteran educator, urgently sought information about her former host family in Uozu, near the quake’s epicenter. Unable to reach them through old email addresses, she filled out a form on Uozu City Hall’s website.

Anne, recognizing the slim odds, hoped someone would be able to locate Akihiko Kiyokawa, her host from 22 years ago. She included her Fulbright Memorial Fund alumni status in her email’s subject line. Knowing the community’s respect for American teachers from the program, hoping it might increase her chance of reaching her former host family.

Miraculously, within 24 hours, she received an email when friend of Akihiko, who spoke English happened to have seen Anne’s message and forwarded it to her.

The Japanese woman and her relatives had lost their homes, but nevertheless reported good news from the disaster.

“Fortunately, there were no injuries and my life was saved,” she wrote. “Under these circumstances, I never expected to receive a message of sympathy from America. I believe this is a truly miraculous event that should make it onto the news. I would like to cherish it.” Akhiko said.

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