UNK Today | August 2014 - page 60

Hub Staff Writer
KEARNEY — More than 20
years had passed since Teryuki
“Terry” Nagai had seen his
college host family John and
Shirley McCammond, but that
changed this week when Terry
returned to Kearney with his
family in tow.
Terry still remembers the
path that he took from his
native Japan to
Kearney more
than 30 years ago:
flying from Japan
to Los Angeles,
then Denver, and
finally to Kearney
in a 12-passenger
“When we
landed — nothing was there,”
Terry said.
Terry — who attended Kear-
ney State College from 1982 to
1985 — received his master’s
degree in English.
“When I was in Japan, I
heard that people who live in
the Midwest speak standard
English,” Terry said.
Terry chose KSC because of
the mild Midwestern accents,
cheap tuition and the small
international population at the
time. He wanted to attend a
university where he would have
to speak English.
Before his arrival, he
wrote to the university and
requested that it arrange a
host family for him. The
McCammonds — who have
been hosts for other high
school and college students
— eagerly accepted Terry.
“It was a chance to know
something about people from
other cultures,” John said.
“I think it expanded our
outlook on life,” Shirley
Shirley remembers how
quickly Terry adapted to his
new surroundings.
“He learned very fast to
smile and say ‘hi’ to everyone,”
she said, noting that in Japa-
nese culture this
was not common.
One of few
students, Terry
quickly became
known on campus
and earned his
nickname “Terry”
from Ameri-
can friends who pronounced
“Teryuki” as “teriyaki” too
many times.
Terry and the McCammonds
fondly remember the time he
spent with them during holiday
“At that time, the dormito-
ries closed over the holidays,
and they didn’t make any
arrangements for the foreign
students like they do now, so
every holiday he would come
and live with us,” Shirley
Following his return to
Japan, Terry became an English
teacher. He worked first in a
private language school for
adults before moving on to
teach in a public junior high
Over the years, Terry and
his family maintained contact
with the McCammond family
and exchanged Christmas cards
and emails. Terry and his wife,
Sachi, even ventured back to
Kearney more than 20 years
ago to visit the McCammonds.
Terry and Sachi were without
children then, now they have
returned to take their children
— Ryuta, 20, and Ayumi, 15 —
to NewYork City and Wash-
ington, D.C., but the family
made sure to schedule a stop in
Kearney as part of their vaca-
tion plans. During their brief
visit to Kearney, John gave the
Nagai family a tour of the city
and campus.
“The whole structure of the
campus is different,” Terry
Though he remembers some
landmarks — such as the
Centennial Towers — Terry
was surprised by how much
the campus has changed and
grown. Even the name has
changed, from KSC to the Uni-
versity of Nebraska at Kearney.
Happy to reconnect with
their former host student, John
and Shirley hope one day to
visit Terry and his family in
their hometown of Nagoya,
“Our next big trip abroad
I think has to be to Japan,”
Shirley said.
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An Overdue Reunion
After more than 20 years, Nagai reconnects with his Kearney host family
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from left, Shirley and John McCammond reunited with the Nagai family after more than two decades. Seated front row
from left are Ryuta, Sachi, Ayumi and Terry Nagai. The history between the two families began in 1982 when the McCammonds were
a host family to Terry when he studied at Kearney State College.
“It was a chance
to know something
about people from
other cultures.”
John McCammond
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