Surely you have your own abiding memory of your experience(s) with the Sister City Program – send us your essays, comments, poems, songs or pictures “that speak a thousand words.” We hope you will feel sufficiently encouraged to send us your own submission.
COMMENTS BY “WING” MEMBERS
What impressed me the most through the exchange activities with Greenfield citizen was the difference with Japan. Language, culture, people, everything are all different with those of Kakuda, and those of Japan. I did feel so.
However, incredibly, after thinking over my stay in Greenfield, and my experience of being a host family member at Kakuda, I understood that these differences were no more than relative differences. And I also realized that both sides had their own good points and it was difficult to say which is better.
“Your friendship means the world!” This is the word my best friend said to me at the end of my home-stay. Although it was no more than two weeks home-stay, to me its meaning was countless. This is one chance made me more confident with myself, and even now the people that I have met through this are still a great support of my heart.
As the first step forward to observe the world intently, I hope this activity will further develop.
Even now, I still have a strong and vivid memory of the magnificent land, and host family members who welcomed me cheerfully, and so many people. Needless to say how wonderful those ten days were. Through those ten days, I was able to enjoy English, able to make friends with each member of Wing, able to have a family in U.S.A. For my whole life, I will never forget every happy days I had with the host family who took me in as one of their family members. I’m sure that I will make the most use of this experience in the future.
Participation in the Sister City Program stimulated my interest in the Japanese culture, and I have continued to study and experience the Japanese language and culture with fascination ever since. May the program continue to prosper and influence the lives of many citizens as is it has in its years of existence!
In the summer of 2000, I had the great opportunity to travel to Japan. The experience taught me many things about the Japanese culture. From my trip, I am culturally strengthened, and my view of the world is much more educated. I am blessed to participate in the sister city program, and I hope many others will have the opportunity to gain similar experiences.
Prior to my trip to Kakuda, I had never been outside the USA. Going to Japan provided me with a glimpse of another way of life and living. I saw things similar to the USA, but I also saw things that were much different. Overall, the week I spent in Kakuda expanded my views and appreciation of another culture.
I spent one week as a member of a family in Kakuda. I experienced the customs and food of Kakuda. I learned a little Japanese. In summary, I love things Japanese. I was truly affected by the kindness and compassion shown to me.
Although the time I spent in Kakuda was very short, my memories will last for my lifetime. I hope to return one day. My trip to Japan was a great gift. I will always be grateful to my host family, who opened their home to two boys from America.
I highly recommend the sister city exchange with Kakuda. My trip was the best experience in my life. It is difficult to adjust to a different culture, but it is great fun. There were many great experiences during my visit to Kakuda. The best experience is to homestay with a Kakuda family. It is a valuable experience.
Communication is a little difficult, because I speak no Japanese, but the host family was very patient with me. My host family made me very happy!
Mt. Zao was a wonderful trip. I highly recommend the sister city exchange to everyone in Greenfield. It is a great experience. I tell them, Kakuda is a beautiful city, full of friendly people. They have a rich culture. It is a great sister city for Greenfield. Thank you for your kindness.
COMMENTS BY HOST FAMILIES
There are three members in my family, my wife, my son, and me. Since my son was in the fifth grade of elementary school, we have accepted being a host family. Since then, one girl and four boys have home-stayed at my family, each of them left us a wonderful memory. When foreign students came, my son always invited his friends to our house and enjoyed very much the night being together, and we were able to make lots of domestic and foreign friends, too. Because of this activity, our family members even challenged Eiken (English Proficiency Examination) together. We wish that more people will take part in international exchange activities, and we expect international exchange activities will have further development.
From the first time we accepted being a host family, we have welcomed five foreign students at our house. From the very beginning, because we couldn’t speak English well, we were really worried about whether we were able to have the foreign students feel comfortable at our family. Everyday we were absolute altruistic and absorbed in it. However, as and old Japanese proverb says, “An attempt is sometimes easier than expected!!”, the word is true. If our hearts are linked to each other, it is for sure that we can understand each other. I visited Greenfield and joined the ceremony for the 10th anniversary of the formation of the sister city relationship. Everything that happened in the visit was like a dream. Having been a host family member, I felt that there were strong bond of friendship between foreign friends and me. For me, there is nothing happier than this experience. I do hope more people will join and help out in this home-stay activity.
I hope and pray that the friendship between Kakuda citizen and foreign friends, including Greenfield citizen, will last forever.
The Riley Festival celebration and 10-year festivities were very special to us. It was good to see alumni of this program gather to celebrate friendships that will never die. Memories from all of sister city experiences have changed our lives forever. We hope that all of our Japanese friends- Ayaka Ota, the Masaaki Sato family (Ryosuke), the Ken Sato family (Kuniko, Aya, Tohru), the Kobayashi family (Natsu), and the Hiroyuki Sato family (Etsuko and children) will feel forever welcome to visit with us in our home in Greenfield.
We have hosted four wonderful students from Kakuda. Our family will cherish the experience forever! It has brought our family a new understanding of cultures. Nothing is more rewarding than opening our home and lives to your children. We enjoy seeing our own city through the eyes of your children.
We are always excited to receive news from our host children. Now, we listen carefully to news of Japan.
My husband was the first deaf person to enjoy our exchange. My daughter went to Kakuda in 1996. My two sons visited Kakuda in 2000, with their father.