www.mybaycity.com May 21, 2005
Rotary Article 795

Group Study Exchange Team from Japan

GSE Team from Japan wraps up one month Michigan trip in Bay City

May 21, 2005
By: Stephen Kent

The 2005 Group Study Exchange team from Rotary District 2670 Shikoku, Japan wrapped up their one month stay in Michigan with a visit to the Bay City Clubon Tuesday, then a Farewell dinner at the Doubletree on Thursday. Historically, Bay City has been the first club visited by GSE teams and Saginaw the last. This year the order was reversed with Saginaw next to last stop and Bay City last stop and host of the Farewell Dinner.

Rotary's Group Study Exchange is a program in which four non-Rotarian young professionals, between the age of 25 and 40, plus one Rotarian are sent as a team to a foreign country for a month. A similar team from that company comes to the U.S. The objective is to promote understanding between the two countries and give professionals the opportunity to visit colleagues in other countries.

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The Japanese team was given a real taste of Michigan during their month stay. They arrived in a Spring snow storm and were greeted with snowballs. During their first stop in Midland, the headline of the Midland Daily News blared "Anthrax Hoax" reporting on a suspicious letter containing a white powder.

Highlights of the Midland visit included the District Conference, a tour of the court system including sitting in on arraignments, and a tour of the jail where they spoke to a murder suspect. The team was also shown the police shooting gallery and had the chance to fire 45 caliber pistols.

In Mount Pleasant the team visited a Japanese owned manufacturing plant where the tour was conducted by a Japanese employee who spoke to the team in their native language. The team introduced a performance of their very popular "Samurai Samba" at the club meeting.

While visiting Alpena, the team also took a trip to Mackinaw Island. (A slight expansion of the district lines to preserve the rule of keeping visits inside the district.)

The Gladwin stop included visits to the Buffalo Farm and an Amish Farm where the team saw fields being worked with horse drawn equipment. They also visited the farm's sawmill where Ike and Yessie got to run the equipmentÂ… until Yessie (the team's "techie") had a slight problem with forward and backward and ran a log right off the carriage. Susie drove a 4-wheeler dodging trees and Aki, dressed in biker leathers, went Harley riding.

The trip to Pigeon included visits to other clubs in the Thumb. The team was there for Mother's Day and enjoyed an American family tradition. The visit included a visit to a soybean elevator where much of the product is shipped to Japan, and to a Mennonite furniture manufacturer and a Dutch dairy farm where they watched a calf being born.

During a backyard cookout, the team was invited to take some target practice with 22's. ("They couldn't hit the broad side of a barn"). Atanother stop they were shown the owner's gun collection and allowed to handle a pearl-handled 45.

In Sebewaing the team was treated to "an extensive tour of the town" including a stop at the high school. "We didn't see any cows born, or fire any guns, but we did shoot a lot of bull" said the host. The team got an air boat tour through the marshes on the Saginaw Bay, including a stop at a convenient tavern.

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In Saginaw, sister city to Susie's home town of Tokushima, the team visited the Japanese Tea House for a traditional Tea Ceremony. They met the mayor and received extra large Pistons t-shirts. They toured St. Mary's Hospital and got to sit in the Flite Care helicopters.

On their next stop in Owasso, the district boundaries were expanded once more as the team made a trip to Detroit to see a Tigers game (which they left after a cold 7 innings). They also visited the Mo-Town and Henry Ford Museums, ate at Hockey Town, and took pictures at the Joe Lewis Arena. From there they went to Lansing for a tour of the Capitol and a visit to Michigan State.

On the return trip they passed the Shiawassee Gun Club where the host asked if they want to stop and shoot. Ike replied "No", then asked the host "How many guns to you own?"

Saving "the best for last", the team came to Bay City on Saturday. Knowing how strenuous the trip had been, the team was offered the chance to unwind and do recreational things. Instead they preferred to do more vocational tours.

There was entertainment, of course. Some team members were taken on a fishing trip to Port Austin (long drive, one flat tire, and no fish). Susie had the opportunity to play piano on the Steinway at First Presbyterian Church. Team leader George and member Chuck Cusick bicycled the Rail Trail.

A high point of the stay was a visit to Mike Stoner's farm. All of the neighboring farmers were invited for a great American "pot luck" dinner. Harry Farris drove team members out to the farm in his 1925 Ford. Seating was limited and team leader George got a chilly ride in the rumble seat.

The team's month in Michigan was capped off with a farewell dinner at Bay City's Doubletree. Representatives from each of the host clubs told the high points of the visit to their city then each of the team members responded with their thanks and high points. Gifts were exchanged and the evening was capped off with a final presentation of the team's popular "Samurai Samba" dance number.

2005 Centennial Group Study Exchange Team
Rotary District 2670 - Shikoku, Japan
  • Koichi Mukai co-team leader and Rotarian. Banker and Businessman. Educated at University of Michigan and University ofWisconsin. President of Takamatsu South Rotary Club.
  • Shoji "George" Hori co-team leader and Rotarian. Dentist from Takamatsu. Rotarian with 18 years perfect attendance. George's late father was a Rotarian with 45 years perfect attendance.
  • Kazuhiro Ike - Political Reporter - The Kochi Shinbun
  • Yasuhiro Nishi Chemistry teacher at Nihama National College of Technology in Nihama City.
  • Shizuko Bando Pharmacist at Smile Pharmacy
  • Aki Manabe Assistant of Pharmacy at Nishikagawa Hospital.

Paris, Rome, Tokoyo,Sebewaing!
Dance Tour of the Century

Other Club News

Mike Stoner and Andy Rogers attended a special ceremony at City Hall where a plaque was presented to the club in thanks for spearheading the historic micro-park and kiosk project. May 17, 2005 was declared "Bay City Rotary Day" for thecity.

Club President Mike Stoner presented a certificate to Jim McClellan of the Saginaw club proclaiming him an "Adopted Son" of the Bay City Club based on his many visits to our noon meetings.

Members were reminded that volunteers are needed to help with the spring cleaning of the Rotary flower garden in the Kansler Arboretum. The Club's garden is close to the rudder exhibit so easy to find. Plan to be there at 6:00 pm on Tuesday the 24th.

Brian Kay reported that plans for the fourth annual Golf Outing plans on June 6 are going well. A number of sponsors have stepped forward helping to insure that this, the second largest annual fund raiser, will be a success.

Hratch Factor update: Hratch admits cheating once on his diet, but nobody "smacked him in the head".

Upcoming Programs at the Bay City Rotary Club:
  • May 24 --- Dave Rogers - Paul Bunyan Renaissance

  • June 7 -- Bay Regional MedicalCenter - Nation's Top 100 Hospitals

  • June 14 --- End of Life Issues - Keith Markstrom programmer

  • June 21 --- Cool Cities Advisory Committee

  • June 28 --- Old President Out - New President In

RotaryBayCity.org Rotary Club of Bay City Web Site

eClub-One: Members with internet connections are encouragedto visit eClub-One monthly for a makeup. To get makeup credit you need to fill out the makeup form on that site. Print the acknowledgement for you receive and turn it in to receive credit. Be sure to enter our club's district number (6310) on that form.
Click this link to open eClubOne in a new window: www.rotaryeclubone.org.

The Bay City Rotary Club meets at Noon each Tuesday at the Lumber Barons resturant on the West Side.

Rotary Club of Bay City Web Site

District 6310 meeting schedule

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