THE usual calm and quiet of the Raja Tun Uda Library in Section 13, Shah Alam was interrupted by lively banter and animated exchange.
The library played host to a group of students and teachers from Ikubunkan Institute of Education Japan through its Foster Friendship Programme, an initiative under the Selangor Public Library Corporation (PPAS) and Tourism Selangor.
Involving more than 350 students from Malaysia and Japan, the event saw students exchanging cultural information at the library’s discussion rooms.
They discussed everything from food to clothes to even traditional games like congkak, teng teng and batu seremban.
Some of them tried on the baju kurung and baju Melayu brought by the students of SMK Seksyen 18.
Tengku Permaisuri Selangor Tengku Permaisuri Norashikin was present to launch and witness the friendly exchange.
Selangor Cultural Tourism, Malay Tradition and Heritage Committee chairman Datuk Abdul Rashid Asari said the programme aimed to give the young generation, especially secondary school students, new experiences across countries and cultural boundaries.
He also said the event was part of an ongoing effort after their second visit to Japan this year for the JATA Tourism Expo 2018 in Tokyo.
“To enhance the hospitality in Selangor, Tourism Selangor is working together with PPAS to promote libraries as one of the tourist destinations in Selangor and to highlight our education tourism products through this programme today,” said Abdul Rashid.
He said the initiative was expected to provide an opportunity for education tourism offerings in Selangor to promote their institutions internationally while industry players in Selangor could learn about Japanese culture.
Selangor has received more than 200,000 Japanese tourists in 2017, an increase of 200% from the 57,000 tourist arrivals in 2016.
Abdul Rashid said the increase in the number of Japanese arrivals into Selangor was very encouraging.
“We look forward to working closely with all our partners to improve the facilities and develop tourism, especially education tourism in the state,” he added.
In recent years, Tourism Selangor organised trips for foreign students to visit schools, and tourism attractions as well as engage in corporate social responsibility programmes across the state.