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June 25- 2014 - Three high school students from Midland’s Sister City of Handa, Japan flew to Midland on Tuesday to start a three-week exchange program. Keitaro Mase (16), Riho Kawai (16), and Eri Matsumoto (15) were chosen to represent Handa in this reciprocal exchange program that is now in its 32nd year.
Nine area families have volunteered to host one of the students for a week, sharing their usual summer activities and providing a taste of American life.
“It has been a very pleasant and rewarding experience for us,” said Mary Bassett, whose family is hosting Eri Matsumoto during her first week in Midland. “I am surprised how much Eri and my teenagers have in common, but she is also appreciating many new things, such as the wide open spaces and beautiful greenery everywhere, plus the large size of American houses. We are grateful to have the opportunity to open our home to such a wonderful student.”
The visit is being coordinated by the Midland-Handa Sister City Committee, under the auspices of the City of Midland. Group activities include a welcome picnic at Dow Gardens, a tennis clinic at the Midland Community Tennis Center, a Great Lakes Loons game, a Chippewa Nature Center-led canoe ride, a Midland High School tour, introduction at a City Council meeting, and a farewell dinner at City Forest.
During the July 28 Council meeting, the coordinator of the sister city program in Handa will also be introduced. Takehito Adachi, representing the Handa International Association, is visiting the U.S. for business and will be staying a few days in Midland.
For more information on the Midland-Handa Sister City relationship, visit http://www.cityofmidlandmi.gov/sistercity or call 837-3307.