Dec 19, 2011

Semboku City will Host An American Student Program Next Year!

A big step towards Semboku City’s internationalization! Next summer Semboku City will host a large group of American high school students in a home-stay program!

The program is called People to People Student Ambassador Programs. It is by an American organization called People to People, whose aim is to achieve world peace through educational opportunities to understand cultural and language differences. The programs send Student Ambassadors abroad to represent their home community and share their diverse backgrounds with the hosting community.

This program normally sends about 40 students over 4-5 times during a certain period. However, because next year will be the first time in Tohoku, about 120 students will be sent at a time. 80 of them will be home-staying in Semboku City.

Earlier this month, two persons representing the People to People Ambassador Programs visited Semboku City to meet with the Japanese side of coordinators for this program.

A reception party was held at Tazawako Beer Restaurant. There they met our mayor of Semboku City, other government officials involved in Tourism division and Green Tourism farmers in Nishiki town. They were warmly welcomed with cheerful singing and dancing by some Warabi-za theater company’s actors. Although many of the farmers did not speak English, they expressed their overflowing excitement through the interpreters.

Each host-family member gave a short welcome speech at the reception.
The two stayed at a farmer’s inn called Taizando, which is the very first noka-minshuku (farmers inn) registered after the law was revised in 2005.

Taizando (泰山堂)is the first registered noka-minshuku (Farmers Inn) of Akita Prefecture.

The owner, Ms. Fujiwara represents the local Nishiki Town’s Green Tourism association. Her house is full of warm, rustic atmosphere! Her energy and hospitable spirits transcends language borders. The students will have an amazing time with host families like her. The Program coordinators were impressed by hospitality and heartfelt welcome by the hosts!

The group toured around Semboku City to learn about the environment where their students will be exploring for the Japanese rural cultural experiences: Lake Tazawa, about 10-15 minutes away from Nishiki Town, is a beautiful lake that cannot be missed; Ando Jyozo is a soy sauce and miso brewery in Kakunodate Town, which is closed to the Nishinomiya Residence, an old samurai house that turned into a museum and shop; Bukeyashiki-dori is a stree of samurai houses where to time-travel; also, a local Elementary school is where they will have cross-cultural experiences with eager children.

The two remained in high spirits for the entire time! They seemed impressed how friendly and happy the local people are. In the end of the trip, they were certain that the participating American students will have an unforgettable time there.

Semboku City is a perfect place for any rural cultural activities of Japan. From June to July is when the local farmers are restless and cheerful about the new life cycle in their field and mountains. That’s when the hiking season begins in the local mountain, Akita Komagatake.

The program can be applied through the organization, People to People Ambassador Programs. We are looking forward to meet you and your children here!

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