MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – 2022 marks 43 years that the City of Marquette and Higashiomi, Japan have been sisters cities. On August 3 and August 4 the Consul General of Japan Yusuke Shindo and his wife Mrs. Seiko Shindo saw firsthand at what makes Marquette so unique.

Photo Courtesy: Jenna Smith – Marquette City Commission

“Oh, I like it very much,” Consul General of Japan Yusuke Shindo said. “This is the first time I came to Marquette and I heard a lot of nice things about Marquette. I am so happy being here and meeting people here. I’d like to know more about Marquette and exchange views with people here, and I hope that more Japanese will get to know this beautiful city of Marquette.”

The Consul General of Japan who works in the Japanese Consulate office in Detroit, was established in 1993 by the Government of Japan, to strengthen the Japan-U.S. alliance through furthering relation with local governments, companies, cultural organizations and more.

“The cultural aspect is obvious,” Mary Lou Blomquist, Executive Director of The Marquette Area Sister Cities Partnership said. “The better world view we have, the better we’re going to get along in this world and the better our lives will be.”

As a way to continue the sister city friendship, one NMU student will be traveling abroad to Higashiomi with the first ever scholarship sponsored by the city.

“Yeah it came as a surprise that they were even going to be offering this scholarship,” Chelsea Peterson, the scholarship recipient said. “It was really a quick turn around so I didn’t really have time to really fill out my application or review anything. I was actually all set to do a study abroad in Thailand and I dropped my plans and now I am full board into Japan. I think it is going to be a really great experience and I am really excited to hopefully have some feedback for them to continue the program for years to come.”

Along with the breathtaking views, history, and all that the City of Marquette has to offer, the Consul General says that the thing that stood out the most on his trip was the people.

“I am so impressed that people are so friendly and even friendly not just Japanese, but people from the outside, even to those who don’t speak English fluently,” Shindo said. “So I really love this friendly atmosphere of this area and as I said, I do hope that the friendship between Japan and Marquette will develop through the sister-city relationship.”

The Marquette Area Sister Cities Partnership says they are looking at sending a delegation over to Higashiomi in 2023.