Birmingham Seeks Host Families for Japanese Sister City Visit

BoysGirls_trait_01Birmingham Seeks Host royal_servicesFamilies for Japanese Sister City Visit

(City of Birmingham Press Release, March 24, 2016)

BIRMINGHAM, MI – The City of Birmingham is seeking host families for a unique cultural experience as part of its sister city relationship with the City of Ritto in Japan’s Shiga Prefecture. Since 1976, the City of Birmingham and Ritto have enjoyed this relationship as part of the larger Sister State program between Michigan and Shiga. A central part of this program is the annual Goodwill Mission, which promotes cultural understanding and affords participants from both countries the opportunity to build life-long friendships.

During the 2016 Goodwill Mission, delegates from Shiga will visit Michigan and stay with POWELLad_01local host families from August 25 – 29.  Past host families have enjoyed planning their activities during this home-stay portion of the trip. The 2016 hosting schedule is as follows:

Thursday, August 25: You will meet your Japanese guest(s) at a mid-morning Welcome Ceremony in Lansing. During the ceremony, guests are officially welcomed by the Michigan-Shiga Sister State Board. Following the ceremony, your guest will return home with you.

Friday, August 26—Sunday, August 28: During this time, the guests from Shiga will do a homestay with you. As a host, you are responsible for providing lodging and food for your guest, and introducing them to your home city and the State of Michigan. In the past, delegates from Shiga have enjoyed participating in all kinds of activities. Here are some ideas:valentine ad

Food: Food is a great way to bring people together! Introduce your Japanese guest to American food culture by cooking and eating popular American meals. You can also learn about your guest’s culture by cooking a traditional Japanese meal together.

Local Tourism: Be a tourist in your own town! Things that you see and do every day are new and exciting for your visitor from Japan. Visit local sites like the town hall, museums, parks, farmers markets, police and fire stations and schools. Share activities that you enjoy attending like sporting events, movies, family gatherings, church and other community events.

State Tourism: While it is not necessary to take your guest to other cities in Michigan, some hosts enjoy visiting popular Michigan sites like Lake Michigan, local universities, state/county fairs, the ctechadDetroit Institute of Arts, the Henry Ford Museum, Greenfield Village, Meijer Garden, Tigers Stadium, etc.

Monday, August 29: After a fun filled weekend with your guest, it will be time to bring them back to East Lansing for an evening Farewell Banquet at the Kellogg Center. You and your guest will enjoy dinner and entertainment provided by the Michigan-Shiga Sister State Board before saying your final goodbyes.

Those interested in volunteering to host a delegate from Japan may contact Joellen Haines at (248) 530-1807 or The deadline for submitting interest to be a host is May 1, 2016. For more information about the program and hosting opportunity, visit


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