What is a Sister City? – August 24th, 2018
Hey readers! It’s Rachel.
Hope everyone is having a fun Summer! On my third day of working at visitSI, I headed over to Kokopelli Golf Club with my coworkers to welcome visitors from Marion’s sister city, Kanie Town, Japan! Have you ever heard of a sister city or know what it is? I had not until I started my job in tourism. Google defines a sister city as “a city that is linked to another, usually for the purposes of cultural exchange”.
Each year, city employees from either Marion or Kanie Town, will travel to its sister city to learn and experience the culture of the city. This year, my CEO along with other city employees traveled over to Kanie Town, Japan for eight days! A special part of this trip was that visitSI was able to sponsor a student from Marion High School to join them on their journey.
What is a Sister City – Noah’s Journey
We sponsored 17-year-old Noah Cash, who just started his senior year. Noah is very involved in sports and groups, and is a flight commander in the Marion High School Air Force JROTC unit. He is also in the Civil Air Patrol unit out of Herrin. Noah hopes to go into the Air Force after he graduates. When I interviewed Noah before the trip, he said that he was most excited to fully submerge himself in Japanese culture and see how it differs from his day-to-day life in USA.
Noah stayed with a host family in a household of five people while in Kanie Town. He was a little nervous about meeting them as well as how different the food would be in Japan. Overall, he loved staying with his host family. Fumiya (20-year-old brother) was very fluent in English so he was able to act as the translator for everyone. Noah had a traditional Japanese breakfast of miso soup, rice, and salmon one of the mornings, which he enjoyed. He noticed that their meals at breakfast are a little heartier and more like things that you and I would eat for lunch or dinner.
Post Trip Interview
Upon Noah’s return, we sat down and he told me all about his adventures while in Japan. He said that the flights were his least favorite part of the trip; who can blame him on that one though? Furthermore, Noah’s favorite part of the entire trip was a “Nagoya Dragons” baseball game that him and Fumiya rode the train to go watch. They also went to an airplane/aviation museum as well.
The biggest difference he noticed culturally, was that the people he interacted with in Nagoya (a larger city) had a small-town friendliness. They were very hospitable versus Noah’s experiences in large cities in the USA. If Noah could do anything differently, he said that he would take time to learn more of the Japanese language if he were to do the trip over again.
Kanie Town 2020
So, if you’re a parent or student in Marion, stay tuned… We will be sponsoring another student to attend the next trip to Kanie Town in 2020!
Thanks for reading another one of my ramblings! Check back soon for my next blog about my favorite season! I will share all the fun things to take advantage of in our beautiful area. As always, you can reach out to me via email or in the office at 618-997-3690. If you have something you’d like to see me blog about in the future, let me know!