On Wednesday, August 17, 2011, Acting Consul-General Takahiko Watabe hosted a reception commemorating the 2011 Houston-Chiba Sister City Exchange. Mr. Watabe welcomed four Japanese Junior High School students and their chaperone from Chiba City. Braving the summer heat, about sixty people, including the students’ host families and students of Johnston Middle School, attended the reception in support of the Houston-Chiba partnership.
The evening began with Acting Consul-General Watabe delivering remarks,highlighting nearly forty years of sister city ties between the two cities.
Mr. Greg Crowe, President of the Japan-America Society of Houston (JASH), spoke of the importance of the cultural exchange for the personal and professional development of students.
Next, Mr. Gary Nakamura, Chairman of JASH’s Sister-City Committee, made congratulatory remarks on the program’s growthover the forty years, and thanked the people that have made the Houston-Chiba City partnership successful.
After the speeches concluded, the four visiting students performed the Chiba soran, a traditional folk dance of the Chiba region, wearing bright and festiveyukata.
The evening was enjoyed by all and ended just before 9:00 p.m. Some of the activities planned for the students during their time in Houston are visits to the mayor’s office, Schlitterbahn Galveston, and both the NASA and JAXA Space Centers, among other activities with Johnston Middle School students and host families.
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