Students from Japan Tour Honda Facilities

Twenty students from Japan visited Honda facilities in America recently as part of a 12-day program to develop global leadership skills and experience a cultural exchange between the U.S. and Japan.

Now in its second year, the TOMODACHI Honda Global Leadership Program, which follows the preceding Honda Cultural Exchange Program, guides Japanese high school students to develop global leadership skills and experience a cultural exchange between Japan and the U.S.

As part of the trip, the students met Honda Japanese racing champion Takuma Sato, who shared his motto with them: “No attack, no chance.”

“If you take action, you have a better chance to get an opportunity, and that’s how you achieve your dream,” Sato said. “Challenge yourself and believe in yourself.”

Sixteen-year-old Yoshito Kawano wants to be a racecar driver, so meeting Sato was one of the highlights of the trip for him. “It’s great that Honda provides this opportunity, so we can challenge ourselves to take initiative in our dreams and leadership in our lives.”

After listening to Sato’s words of inspiration, the students got to experience some of Honda’s best-known products, including the performance-driven NSX, the speedy Civic Type R, the rugged Pioneer side-by-side and the innovative UNI-CUB.

“It’s a lot of fun to talk with the students and find out what their interests were,” said American Honda Motor Co. (AHM) associate Katrina Bisetti, who helped out with the drive experience by driving the NSX during the event. “They are truly amazed by the NSX and how fast it can go.”

During their trip, the students also stay with Honda associates and their families to be further immersed in American culture.

“We try to speak as much English as we can, and we learn a little bit of Japanese with them,” said AHM associate Ruth Tsuji, who has hosted students since the launch of the TOMODACHI Program in 2014. “You give so little and get so much in return. It’s really an experience that everybody should want to try one time at least.”

Throughout the trip, the students toured American Honda’s Torrance, California, campus, interacted with local high school students and visited UCLA. Prior to arriving in California, the students started their trip in Marysville, Ohio, where they had the opportunity to visit Honda’s East Liberty Auto Plant, Honda Heritage Center and Honda R&D Americas.

“I applied for the program to hear other people’s dreams,” said 15-year-old Yuko Shimokado. “In the future, I want to be a doctor, and Honda’s corporate motto is The Power of Dreams. I wanted to get inspired to chase my dream.”

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