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Global Exchange for the Next Generation

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Baseball has grown into a global game and the Boston Red Sox and the Chiba Lotte Marines are working to keep it that way for the next generation. The Japan Society of Boston and the Red Sox Foundation teamed up to bring Japanese youth to Boston in the summer of 2008, and will send Greater Boston youth to Japan in 2009.

The Chiba Lotte Marines will take part in the program this summer and is currently looking for host families for the 12 youths from Boston. If you’re interested in hosting a youth, you may download the application from the website.

Last year, Boston played host to 12 youths coming from Kyoto and Chiba (Kyoto is a sister city of Boston). This program had several meanings as Kyoto and Boston was celebrating their 50th anniversary as sister cities. Another meaning to the exchange program came from the commemoration of the official partnership between the Chiba Lotte Marines and the Boston Red Sox. Those are the reasons behind youth from both Kyoto and Chiba participating in this program.

The participants experienced the whole package of American baseball and the city of Boston in their eleven day program (including travel). Japanese native Hideki Okajima (who is also from Kyoto) and Daisuke Matsuzaka took part in the program as an instructors and for a meet and greet opportunity with the youth (pictures can be seen on the Kyoto City website).

Now the Chiba Lotte Marines will look to return the favor and will welcome the youth from Boston to experience the culture of Japan. The youth will also have the opportunity to attend a Chiba Lotte Marines game and will be interesting what else the team has planned for them.

The world has gotten smaller with the game of baseball reaching to many part of the globe. The kids in Japan are watching MLB at a younger age with their stars going overseas and the American kids are being exposed to Japanese stars on a daily basis. However the youth in each country might not be exposed to anything more than that. Youth exchange programs like this should allow the next generation to understand and experience the different cultures starting from baseball.

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