MAYOR John Burt welcomed nine Japanese students to Ballarat this week in the traditional way – a thumbs-up, a high five and a resounding “G’day”.
“When you go to Sovereign Hill or the Wildlife Park or wherever you go, when people come up to you, and they will, just say G’day,” Cr Burt told the students, who spent the next few minutes delightedly practising their new phrase.
The students and two teachers, from three junior high schools around Inagawa, will spend the next week visiting local landmarks and the Great Ocean Road to celebrate Ballarat’s 25th anniversary with its Japanese sister city.
Students from the region have been visiting Ballarat for the past 17 years, and this year’s delegation also visited Urquhart Park Primary School, which has a Japanese language program.
A formal welcome from Cr Burt, during which he also asked the group’s interpreter if she could “follow my Aussie drawl”, was finished with a traditional Japanese dance and an enthusiastic version of If You’re Happy And You Know It Clap Your Hands, which both Cr Burt and Cr John Philips joined in.
Students Daijirou Takebe and Miho Tsuchiya said everyone had been very kind to them and had “beautiful natures”.