Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Hikone Exchange & My Blog Post Exchange: They're About Developing Relationships

Back in June, when I was doing the post-a-day blog-a-thon, I arranged to exchange blog posts with a former Ann Arborite, Joan Lambert Bailey, currently living in Japan. Joan wrote about language learning as an adult--specifically, her efforts to learn Japanese! You can read that post here. (I asked her to write about this because I am personally very interested in language learning.) Joan's blog is Japan Farmer Markets.

Meanwhile, I offered to write about Ann Arbor's educational exchange with Hikone, Japan. Hikone is in Shiga Prefecture and it turns out there are several other exchanges with Shiga Prefecture that are still going on.

In any case, my guest post on Joan's blog is titled

44 Years as Sister Cities: Ann Arbor, Michigan and Hikone, Shiga Prefecture

I start the blog post like this: 

In November 1968, the State of Michigan and Shiga Prefecture in Japan became sister provinces.

A few months after that, in February 1969, Ann Arbor Michigan invited Hikone Japan to be a “Sister City.” At the time, Ann Arbor already had sister city relationships with Tuebingen, Germany and Belize City in Belize. Ann Arbor has the University of Michigan, and Tuebingen and Hikone both have universities.

In fact, the first article about Hikone in the Ann Arbor News from February 9, 1969, starts out:

“Watch out for the monkeys,” signs warn drivers near Hikone, Ann Arbor’s new sister city in Japan. Michiganians traveling in their sister state, Shiga Prefecture, may be reminded of the “watch out for deer” signs back home.

And I didn't mention this on Joan's blog, but I got a lot of the information for this post from the Ann Arbor District Library's Old News feature, which you can find here. There are lots of great articles there!

The Ann Arbor Public Schools exchange program is coordinated by AAPS Rec & Ed.

Oh, and one more thing: Next time you drive down Packard Road and you see the street labeled Hikone, recognize that that street is named after Hikone, Japan--even though in Ann Arbor we pronounce the street Hi-Kone, and in Japan, they pronounce the city Hee-Koh-Nee! 


  1. We had a car pool with one of last year's exchange students, which is how I learned the Japanese pronunciation of Hikone :^) But in contrast with the way you wrote it, my Americanized pronunciation had 3 syllables (hi-KOE-nee) not 2.

  2. I have only ever heard it pronounced locally as Hi-Kone, but it is possible that there is more than one local pronunciation floating around...