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Exchange student from Japan enjoying visit to Lower Valley

From Granger's dinosaurs to Zillah's teapot, Yukiko Kamatani has packed in plenty of sights during her short stay in Sunnyside. Hailing from Kyoto, Japan, the college student is staying with Julia Hart as part of the Lion club's international youth exchange program. Kamatani, one of six Japanese students here in Washington state for the summer exchange, arrived Aug. 2 and leaves next week for Cashmere. She praises the Yakima Valley's natural beauty and fresh produce, and says she's had a hospitable welcome. The exchange adventures have also taken her to Australia and Korea, and she says visiting the U.S. was something she wanted to experience this summer to improve her English skills and experience life here. Kamatani's father is a Lion's Club member in Kyoto and last year served as the chapter's president. When at home, the psychology major says her favorite hobbies include playing basketball, tea ceremonies and karaoke. She says one of her favorite trips with Hart over the past week was a venture to Dry Falls, where she walked on its imposing bridge. There have certainly been plenty of sights both in the Lower Valley and around the state during Kamatani's brief stay in Sunnyside. But she says the folks who call the Sunnyside area home have been among the favorite aspects of her time here. "The people are very kind,' Kamatani says.

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