Southlake established a special bond, via Sister Cities International, with Tome, Japan in 1991. Since that time, many a cultural exchange has transpired, including adult and youth trips, host family programs, and special events and presentations in both countries.
Each summer, a group of Southlake students and chaperone(s) head to the Far East for a once-in-a-lifetime Japanese experience. After arriving in Tokyo and then a bullet train ride to Tome, they are paired with host families for their week-long stay. Four Carroll High School students (Sarah Stolze, Harrison Edwards, Amit Pullarkat and Brent Allen), along with Lt. Marshall Urbanosky of the Southlake Department of Public Safety, made the annual trip July 20-27. In addition to experiencing Japanese culture, customs and cuisine first-hand, the host families escorted the youth ambassadors to many places in Tome, known for its samurai history, as well as scenic Matsushima.
A traditional gift exchange took place between the two cities, with the U.S. youth ambassadors presenting a new Southlake flag and book from the Southlake Historical Society. In return, they received a wooden clock, fan and calculator as gifts to the city.
Tome is located in the northeast part of the Miyagi Prefecture with a population of approximately 91,905 residents. Tome was originally a district that consisted of eight towns, including Southlake’s original Sister City, Toyoma. In April 2005, the towns merged with the town of Tsuyama, formerly of the Motoyoshi District, to form the new city of Tome. Southlake and Tome recently renewed their Sister City agreement on July 3, 2006.
Southlake Sister Cities (SSC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering global understanding, friendship and communication through education and exchanges. Membership is open to individuals, youth, families, non-profit/civic organizations, for profit businesses, and patrons. In addition to Tome, Southlake also has Sister Cities in El Fuerte, Mexico and Suzhou, China. For more information, go to www.southlakesistercities.org.