2011 Miami-Kagoshima Sister City Exchange Opening Reception
February 2, 2011
Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the reception for the 2011 Miami-Kagoshima Sister City exchange program. My name is Eiichi Kawahara, and I am the new Consul General of Japan in Miami. I am honored and pleased to greet you all at my house. I am fortunate that one of my first official duties as Consul General is to celebrate the union between the Florida and Japan!
鹿児島市の中学生の皆さん、ようこそいらっしゃいました。マイアミ総領事の川原です。今朝は市庁舎で皆さんの元気なお顔を見てほっとしたところです。 長旅お疲れ様です。姉妹都市である鹿児島とマイアミ市は遠く離れ、食事、習慣、文化、言葉が違います。他方で、周りを海に囲まれて暖かい気候にあり、 それぞれのお国のなかで南端に位置しており、南方の国との貿易も昔から活発であったという点で共通するところもあります。マイアミ市内には、 別名鹿児島通りというのがありますが、 鹿児島市にもマイアミ通りというのがあるそうです。 皆さんはご存じですか？
The Sister City network focuses on promoting mutual understanding, friendship, and a sense of family between the two cities. In some ways, Miami and Kagoshima could not be more different. We have different foods, different customs, different cultures, and different languages. But we have similarities too. Both are tropical cities with a strong reliance on their relationship to the ocean. Both are located on the southern tips of their respective countries. Both have histories of being important locations for international trade and communications.
Just like real family members, we can celebrate our similarities and our differences, support one another, and learn from each other. The best way we can do this is through our young people.
I do appreciate the host families for their kind hospitality. For this week, you have a unique opportunity to engage in direct international relations every day. Your home will be a classroom for these young world travelers. Please encourage them every day to enjoy the adventure they are on. If you are patient with them, you will learn as much from them as they will learn from you.
I also want to recognize Mr. Jose Fuentes, Ms. Isabel de Quesada, Ms. Alvares, and the rest of the Miami-Kagoshima Sister City Exchange Committee for your hard work and dedication. You have opened the world to these young people and given them the experience of a lifetime. Thanks to you and your hard work that the Miami-Kagoshima relationship is so strong.
Finally, the biggest recognition of all must go to these brave young people. Despite jet lag and mental stress from speaking English every day, I hope you will manage to find the energy to keep going to each new activity and make the most of this unique experience. It can be scary and difficult, but it can also be one of the most memorable and happiest experiences of your life. I also hope that someday your Miami host brothers and sisters will have the chance to visit Kagoshima and feel as you do now.
Now, I ask each young student to say a few words.
I would like to ask Mr. Jose Fuentes to make toast for the host families, the Sister City Exchange Committee, and these young people for being the reason we are all gathered here tonight.
photo album of the event