Sister City Celebration Postponed

The planned November 13th Salem-Ota Sister City celebration has been postponed due to restrictions on indoor live performances that are expected to still be in place on that date. We are looking forward to celebrating our 30th anniversary in the spring!

Support for the Asian and Pacific Islander Community

The Salem-Ota Club would like to state our support for the Asian and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community here in the US and abroad.  We reject racism, injustice, and violent acts against all in the AAPI Community.  There is no place in our community for this hate.  We empathize and stand with you!  No one should feel unsafe, devalued, or alone in their community for any reason.

Salem’s friendship with Japan, Asia, South Asia, and the Pacific Islands goes back hundreds of years. More recently, the Salem-Ota Club has supported the Sister City program between Ota-Ku, Tokyo, Japan and the City of Salem for the past 30 years.  We have been fostering understanding, cultural and personal connections by hosting and exchanging students and adults in each other’s homes. We will continue to work harder to bring all of us together in peace and understanding. 

When faced with racism, we need to look to the humanity in all of us. We encourage all to reach out to your friends, family, and community to help to bring the end of hate in America in all forms.  Therefore, we challenge all of you to do at least one act of kindness to support our AAPI community.  Moving forward, continue to focus on making our community safe for all.

Learn more at advancingjustice-aajc.org and www.stopaapihate.org and #StopAsianHate #StopAAPIHate

Salem Film Fest

Dear members of the Salem-Ota Cultural Exchange,
We are pleased to be partners this year with Salem Film Fest, and invite you to participate in their 14th annual, virtual, film fest this year. Full information and tickets are available on https://www.salemfilmfest.com/
Of particular note to the group is the film Son of Fukushima, which will be shown starting March 19. The director, Beth Balawick, is from Salem and is a story of the nuclear disaster in Fukushima.
“Live action and animation combine to tell the story of a Japanese farming family whose life is impacted by two unthinkable nuclear tragedies. Patriarch Saichi Ouchi was a victim of the Hiroshima bombing in 1945, and the Fukushima nuclear disaster contaminated the family’s farmland in 2011, destroying their time-honored way of life. Aging oldest son, Hidekatsu, bound by duty and honor to his ancestral land, struggles to reclaim all he holds dear.”

Check out the trailer for the film here: https://vimeo.com/229619835
This, and many other films, will be available March 19-28. Please take advantage and support this program and the amazing films they bring to us every year!

2021 Scholarship Offering

Are you a senior going to college who has participated in The Salem-Ota Cultural Exchange? We have an opportunity for you!

What has this program meant to you? Tell us about your involvement in the program hosting a middle-schooler, or traveling to Japan with us or both. How have you been impacted? The form is available below. A panel will select the winning applicant who will receive a $500 scholarship.

Applications must be submitted by Friday, May 7th, 2020

Applicants fill out an online submission form here.

Messages of Hope from Ota to Salem

Our friends in Ota have created a lovely video message to share with the Salem Ota Exchange and all of their friends here in Salem.

It is wonderful to see these heartfelt messages, and knowing that the friendship between our two cities goes on, and is great to see many of the familiar faces of our friends over in Ota who miss us as we miss them! 

2020 Scholarship Application Deadline Extended

Are you, or do you know a high school senior going to college who has participated in The Salem-Ota Cultural Exchange? 

We have an opportunity for you!

What has this program meant to you? Tell us about your involvement in the program hosting a middle-schooler, or traveling to Japan with us or both. How have you been impacted? The form is available below. A panel will select the winning applicant who will receive a $500 scholarship.

Because of the effects of the pandemic on schools and students, the application deadline has been extended to Monday, June 1st, 2020

Applicants fill out an online submission form here.

*If you submitted your application already by mail, please email us so that we can verify that it was received.

Regarding the 2020 Exchange

Dear Host Families and Members of the Salem Ota Student Exchange Community,

First and foremost, I hope this finds you and your loved ones doing well during these most difficult times. It is truly a surreal time we are living in these days.

This is about the time that we would be beginning to scramble trying to recruit host families. However, much to the disappointment of the organizers both in Tokyo and here, the students from Ota will not be coming to Salem this July. With so much uncertainty and challenges, really, everywhere in the world, it is no time to be planning for this annual event. 

As you know, we greatly appreciate your interest and support for the program so much. We hope that you will continue to communicate with the students you have hosted as we look forward to July 2021. 

Most of all, please stay well and we will all have to get together for a giant gathering once this is all behind us.

Please take care.
xoxo to all of you,
Best,
Connie Arlander and Midori Oka