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Arlington Educator Selected to Visit Fukushima, Japan

Amy Yamashiro will be a part of the Japanese American Leadership Delegation that will visit the country in March.

For Amy Yamashiro, the thought of viewing human perseverance in Fukushima, Japan, is inspiring.

Fukushima is home to a nuclear plant that experienced three meltdowns in 2011 after an earthquake and tsunami hit the area. Its severity has since been likened to Chernobyl.

Yamashiro is heading to Fukushima in March. She'll be there for the second anniversary of the meltdown.

“It’s always impressive to see the resilience — how people just get through every day and maintain their dignity through whatever they need to do to express their emotions,” Yamashiro told Patch.

Yamashiro, a data specialist at the Arlington Partnership for Children, Youth and Families, learned in December she would be one of 10 Japanese Americans to visit the country as part of the Japanese American Leadership Delegation.

The trip will include visiting Fukushima, which is still recovering from the damage it sustained in 2011, and meetings with the prime minister, business people and possibly a member of the imperial family.

She earned the trip for being active in cross-cultural awareness activities and for being in a mid-career position with potential to rise in leadership.

“There’s a positive future in the terms of the relationship between the U.S. and Japan, and for our role as Japanese Americans in helping to deepen that relationship would be the measure that we were successful," Yamashiro said.

Yamashiro has experience with overseas and U.S. education systems. Her first teaching position in Japan, at a school targeted toward students hoping to improve their English skills in order to attend universities all over the world, initially started out as a way to get an immigrant's experience.

“I was going to be responsible for these kids and their dreams?” Yamashiro said, recalling her first encounters teaching young Japanese students eager to further their education overseas. “I was afraid to be a teacher.”

Since then, she worked to formulate the international placement tests at the University of Michigan, as an adjunct professor at George Mason University, and as a board member for the Dream Project Inc.  

Yamashiro joined the Arlington Partnership for Children, Youth and Families in 2009 after moving to the county a year prior with her husband and young son.  

“For me, when I would look at the convergence of good government and good schools, Arlington was a clear choice,” she added.  “If (people) want to help the community, I do, too.”

The Japanese American Leadership Delegation began in 2000 and has 146 past attendees. Yamashiro will participate March 8 to 16.

The delegation "provides Japanese American leaders with the opportunity to become acquainted or re-engaged with Japan and participate in discussions related to the role that Japanese Americans can play in addressing key issues that face both countries, now and in the future," according to its website.

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