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Students from West Bend’s sister city in Japan arrive today


August 2, 2017 – West Bend, WI – About a dozen students from West Bend’s sister city Aisho-cho, Japan will be welcomed to the city today.

Students and their guardians will have a brief ceremony, photos and a luncheon at Lac Lawrann Conservancy at 11 a.m.

The agenda will include a speech from Mayor Kraig Sadownikow, student introductions,  a speech from Deputy Mayor Aisho-Cho, Japan, a gift presentation and a host family introduction. 

Each year students spend a week in West Bend exploring the city, farm life, entertainment and other areas of southeastern Wisconsin.

Below is a story from 2016 about how much fun the host families have getting to know the students.


The Asgen family hosted a teenage boy and couldn’t believe how wonderful it was for them and their girls.

Tara Asgen’s said 14-year-old Minami visited for a week.  11899974_1628210510794577_469988488714176543_n

“A friend posted on Facebook they needed a few more host families,” Asgen said. “I thought it would be a neat experience. It was something I’d always been interested in but never took that leap of faith.”

Asgen said they were a little nervous but it was an awesome experience.

They hurdled the large language barrier with a translator app and a lot of gestures. She said there was quiet time but the family relied on their two year old to keep things moving.

“She would go and get him and to her there was no language barrier,” Asgen said. “She talks and he did whatever she wants, so she was in heaven.”

The Asgen’s were rewarded with a rare teen who did not have a cellphone. “He had a translating device,” she said. “And if we’re not doing something or inviting him out to the living room he would sit in his room, which is sort of awkward, but it may be a cultural thing. I told my husband it’s nice to take a week and slow things down a bit.”

The Asgen’s took Minami to the races at Slinger Speedway, the State Fair, to the PGA course in Kohler and to Music on Main.

“We thought we’d run into other students from Japan at Music on Main so he could hang out with them,” said Asgen.

They didn’t find any other students and shortly after getting downtown Minami showed Asgen a message. “He had typed, ‘when is this over?’ I took that as it was time to go home,” she laughed.

Aside from the apprehension about communication, Asgen said it all worked out because Minami picked up on a lot of things.11903802_1628216584127303_1875303443311985309_n

“He’s the sweetest, most respectful, kind young man and our girls just loved him,” she said.

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