Student Exchange between Homer City and Teshio Town

In 2023, while the impact of the pandemic is diminishing, exchange activities between Japan and Alaska sister cities are gradually becoming active. One of them is student exchange between Homer City and Teshio Town. Related article is as you can see below.
The Consular Office of Japan in Anchorage is looking for energetic articles related to sister city exchanges. Please send articles to our office email address (
Our Sister City relationship with Teshio, Hokkaido in Japan will mark its 40th anniversary in 2024. Homer and Teshio have continued their relationship through a variety of programs. Last fall, the Japanese International Exchange Programs resumed Japanese classes and online exchange sessions to connect students in Homer’s after school program and three schools in Teshio, Japan: Taishi High School in Hyogo; Teshio Junior High and High School in Hokkaido. Seven sessions allowed students to talk about school, their towns, and what life is like in both cities to gain an understanding our different cultures and recognize what we all have in common.
Students in the Japanese class from Paul Banks Elementary School wrote letters to students at Wakamiya Elementary School, Hyogo, in the south west of Japan. The principal of the school put this exchange event on their school website to share with parents and students in Japan. Students in the Japanese class from West Homer Elementary School had the opportunity to have pen pals with Taishi High School, Hyogo and Teshio Junior High School students in Hokkaido, in the northern part of Japan. The Hokkaido News featured these events in their newspaper.
Students in Homer's Japanese classes were invited to Homer’s City Council Meeting last October. Students introduced themselves in Japanese and greeted Mayor Ken Castner, the City Council members, and the audience in Japanese. They had a wonderful experience and did a great job!
Another amazing connection with our Sister City in Teshio is when six elementary schools in Homer and Anchor Point participated in a project called “Friendship without Boundaries,” which emphasizes living in harmony and developing true friendships. The project involved painting 1,000 - 22" x 22" canvas panels that were made into banners. Banner materials were donated by NOMAR and Homer Rotary Club. In 2019, the banners were hung in the Homer High School commons area and in the auditorium the night of the Peace Concert led by Mark Robinson and Kyle Schnieder. The conductors then took two of the banners to display during their concert trip to France and Belgium. Another one of the peace banners was mailed to Teshio Junior High School along with letters from class members, West Homer Principal, Mayor Ken Castner and Homer Rotary Club with translations by the Japanese International Exchange. Homer Rotary Club mailed gifts which included pictures and postcards by Gary Lyon, Homer artist.
Japanese International Exchange has been developing relationships with other cities in Japan as well. Please contact Megumi Beams, Sister City Liaison/ Interpreter & Japanese International Exchange Coordinator/ Instructor, at if you are interested in these programs or have any questions. Please also visit Japanese International Exchange on Facebook.
Teshio students (above) and Homer students (below) with their banners.