Athens Review, Athens, Texas

April 5, 2013

Japanese visit local clubs

Kathi Nailling
The Athens Review

Athens — Rotary District 5830, which includes Athens and Cedar Creek Lake Rotary Clubs, is hosting a Group Study Exchange Team. The GSE program is a unique cultural and vocational exchange opportunity for business people between the ages of 25 to 40 who are in the early stages of their careers.

The GSE Team here in the U.S. consists of six professionals from Japan. The group will be in Texas, or within the Rotary District 5830, which includes part of Arkansas and Oklahoma,  until April 22. They leave for New York to spend three days before returning to Japan.

The group currently here in Texas consists of four men and two women, each unique in their own way.  Their business backgrounds include a business owner, disaster manager, nuclear fuel researcher, hotel clerk, research and marketing worker and office worker.

The six Japanese nationals spent Thursday and Friday nights in Athens. Charles Tidmore, Chris Russell and Tamara Ingram hosted the group in their homes.

On Thursday, the Athens Rotary Club took the group to the Texas Freshwater Fishery and the Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility in Palestine. They were provided lunch at the Rotary Club's weekly meeting.

Before attending the Rotary Club of Cedar Creek Lake meeting, the GSE team took a tour of the lake area on Friday. They were welcomed to the lake by Gun Barrel City Manager Gerry Boren.

Boren presented the team a key to the city. Each member was provided Gun Barrel City souvenirs. 

Katsuyoshi Onose, the business owner of the group, said “Very friendly people in Texas.  Texas is very big.”

They were somewhat overwhelmed with the name Gun Barrel City. Onose said “Gun Barrel means big fight.”

While visiting Gun Barrel City, they wanted to go into the Lowe’s Store. The group had visited the Lowe’s Distribution Center in Mount Pleasant, but before that, had not been in any Lowe’s stores here in the U.S.

The group who said that most of the cars in Japan  are Honda, Toyota or Nissans, were fascinated with the big pickup trucks found at Tri County Ford in Mabank.

Next week the team will be hosted by the Tyler Rotary Club. Eventually, they will make their way to Arkansas.

The team will be attending the Rotary District 5830 Conference in Texarkana before leaving for the big city lights of New York.

GSE  is an exchange program. On April 22, Rotary District 5830 will be sending a GSE Team to Japan. The USA GSE Team will be staying with host Rotarian families in Japan for about a month.