On Thursday morning, September 21, 2023, Mayor Milligan and City Manager Bowsher welcomed six guests from Japan as a part of the Japan-America Grassroots Summit. The travelers arrived at City Hall at approximately 10:30 a.m. on Thursday via charter bus from Columbus.
Japanese guests and local host families included:
• Yasuko Watanabe hosted by Jean and Orville Borgert
• Kazue Suzuki hosted by Naomi and Randy St. Julian
• Hiroyo Kawakatsu hosted by Mardie and Tom Milligan
• Keiko Murakami also hosted by Mardie and Tom Milligan
• Tsutomu Yagi and his granddaughter Nanami Mito hosted by Mollie and Charles Johnston
During their three-day stay, the guests were treated to local tours and activities including a guided tour of the downtown Sidney architecture, along with Tawawa Park and the Canal Feeder Trail on Thursday. On Friday, the guests travelled to Jackson Center for a tour of the Airstream factory and Heritage Center, followed by a private tour of the Shelby County Historical Society Innovation Center. Friday was capped off with a private tour of the Johnston Farm in Piqua, along with a canal boat ride. A welcome reception was held for the travelers and their host families on Thursday at Crossway Farms.
The 2023 Summit showcased Ohio’s local attractions, unique culture and customs. The travelers enjoyed three days in Columbus, including a welcome reception and ceremony at The Ohio Statehouse, before traveling to eight local host cities across Ohio – Columbus, Dublin, Delaware, Marysville, Bellefontaine, Troy, Sidney, and Findlay – for a 4-day/3-night homestay program. On Sunday, the guests will return to Columbus for a farewell celebration at the Columbus Zoo.