Students exchange culture, gifts with sister city 

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Ben said they have long school days, sometimes going from 8:30 in the morning to 5 in the evening. For 25 minutes each day the students have to clean an assigned area. There are no janitors.

"Let’s keep the janitors here," joked Ben.

Podborski said that looking back on their experience, all the students agreed that they could have used more language lessons and more information about the culture, which is very socially structured, before their trip.

"It’s nice to know what you should be doing instead of blundering along," she said.

This is the second successful student exchange between Whistler and Karuizawa, giving kids from both cultures a chance to see beyond their regular boundaries.

"The things we know now," joked Podborski.

The exchange also promotes the relationship between the sister cities.

"The kids did a really good job of being ambassadors for Whistler," said Podborski.

A new group of Japanese kids are expected back in town in the winter.

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