By MIKEY HIRANO CULROSS, Rafu Staff Writer
PASADENA — Dozens of students, host families and city officials from at least two nations gathered in Pasadena on Aug. 5, for the annual Pasadena Sister Cities Committee barbecue reception.
Two programs currently host students from Pasadena’s Japanese sister city, Mishima in Shizuoka Prefecture. The city’s relationship with Mishima was established 60 years ago, while the Pasadena Japanese Cultural Institute is in its 15th year of summer youth programs and tours of Japan.
“Since everyone in Japan basically shares the same culture, I wanted to travel to experience something different,” said 21-year-old university student Tsuzumi Suzuki. “The great thing about a place like America is that there are so many different people, all trying to understand each other.”
Shortly after the end of World War II, a movement began between cities in America and mainly towns in Germany and Japan, to establish cultural and personal relationships, toward a goal of preventing the kind of misunderstanding that led to the war that the entire world had just suffered.
Pasadena formally became a partner city with Ludwigshafen, Germany, in 1948, and with Mishima in 1957. The committee added a sister city in Finland in 1983, and two more in the 1990s, in Armenia and China.
Students on the PJCI exchange returned to Japan on Aug. 6, while the two PSCC ambassadors have at least a couple of weeks left in their stay.
For more information, visit pasadenasistercities.org, or www.pjci.org/.