Coordinators for International Relations (CIRs)

The City of Sapporo delegates seven Coordinators for International Relations (CIR's) hailing from the U.S., Germany, China, Russia, South Korea, and France to support the city's internationalization efforts. Sapporo's CIR's are mainly stationed in four offices – the Sapporo City International Relations Department (U.S., Korean and Chinese CIR's), the Sapporo International Communication Plaza (German and Russian CIR's), the Sapporo City Tourism and MICE Promotion Department (U.S.), and the Sapporo City Cultural Promotion Department (French CIR).

  • Joshua Crotts[U.S.A]

  • Oliver Gierl[Germany]

  • Yuan Wang[China]

  • Alena Feshina[Russia]

  • Mihyun Lee[Korea]

  • Margery Weidman[U.S.A]

  • Alice Rouaud[France]

  • 【About JET Program】
    In 1987, municipal governments nationwide started the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program in cooperation with the Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, and CLAIR (Council of Local Authorities for International Relations).
    They serve in three capacities: as CIR's (Coordinators for International Relations) who assist in international exchange activities in local areas; as ALT's (Assistant Language Teachers), who instruct foreign languages at junior and senior high schools; and as SEA's (Sports Exchange Advisors), who promote international exchanges through sports. They play a significant role in promoting internationalization at the local level.

Joshua Crotts[U.S.A]

Hello, Sapporo!

My name is Joshua Crotts, and I am the American Coordinator of International Relations! As a bit of an introduction, due to my dad’s job, I spent a lot of time moving around Europe and America from a young age. Thanks to this kind of upbringing, I’ve had firsthand experience with all sorts of international exchange, and am excited to bring that here to Sapporo!

Just this past June, I graduated from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota with a degree in East Asian Studies focusing in Language Studies. My Junior year of college I was fortunate enough to have a year-long study abroad at Doshisha University in Kyoto through the Associated Kyoto Program! As that was my first time actually coming to Japan, my interest in Japan and its culture really flourished in that one year.

Throughout college, I was a member of various clubs and organizations. I played football and rugby, as well as being a part of both Carleton’s Symphony and Orchestra. Other than that, I was a member of Carleton’s calligraphy club, as well as recreationally enjoying landscape photography. I am beyond excited be here in Sapporo, with its beautiful balance of both nature and cityscape scenery.

Looking forward to getting to know you all!

Margery Weidman[U.S.A]

Hello everyone!

My name is Margery Weidman (you can call me Margie) and I'm from Silver Spring, Maryland, which is right next to Washington D.C.! I graduated in 2016 from Indiana University Bloomington with a major in Japanese Language and Culture. I have been working as a Coordinator for International Relations for Tourism and MICE Promotion at Sapporo City Hall since July 2017!

I first became interested in Japan when I was quite young, when my grandparents would tell me stories and show me pictures of business trips over there many years ago. I studied Japanese all through high school and college, and after a life-changing college study abroad experience in Nagoya, I knew I would eventually be coming back to Japan long-term. It honestly still feels like a dream to be back in Japan as a working adult. As someone from the greater D.C. area, I am no stranger to government environments, so in that way, working at City Hall in Sapporo is almost familiar. This is my second time in Sapporo, but my first time living here, so I can't wait to see what other things this incredible city (and the rest of Hokkaido) has to offer.

Foreign language and cultural exchange have always been important to me, and I only hope I can turn that passion into something that will benefit all of you here in Sapporo. There's nothing I would like more than for all of us to become global citizens of the world by learning about each other. I promise I will do my best to show the world just how wonderful a place Sapporo is! I can't wait to get to know everyone and build a strong relationship with you all!

Oliver Gierl[Germany]

Servus!
(This is a common greeting in southern Germany.)

My name is Oliver Gierl and I am from Munich, Germany. In August 2019 I started working as the new German Coordinator for International Relations in Sapporo. I graduated from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU) with a major in Japanese Studies and a minor in Chinese Studies. Outside of my regular curriculum I also held the chair of the president of the Japanese Studies Student Council and engaged in organizing German-Japanese exchange events.

Since middle school I have been interested in Japan, and by the age of 17 I visited Japan for the first time for a study abroad. I wasn’t fluent in Japanese back then, however while attending classes at a Japanese high school not only did I learn the language, but I also experienced the everyday life in Japan as a student. My year abroad ended all too quickly, but it became of my most precious memories.

During my studies at the University of Munich I also had the opportunity to improve my cross cultural understanding and communications skills while doing a study abroad at a Japanese university and an internship at the German Goethe-Institut in Tokyo. I did not only learn more about Japan, but also about the culture and values of people from various countries through international exchange. In Munich as well, I was committed to creating spaces for international exchange and to promoting cross cultural understanding for many years.

Now, being in Sapporo I wish to act as a bridge between Japan and Germany by improving the relationships of both countries even further as a Coordinator for International Relations.

I am looking forward to meeting all of you and to tell you more about Germany!

Yuan Wang[China]

Ni hao! Hello!

My name is Yuan Wang. I am from the Heilongjian Province in China and arrived in Sapporo in April 2018 to work as the Chinese Coordinator for International Relations (CIR). I was enthralled with Japanese anime from a young age. In particular, I fervently read Silver Spoon, a work by Fullmetal Alchemist author and illustrator Hiromu Arakawa which features Hokkaido on the main stage. I thought that if I ever had the chance, I would love to go to Hokkaido.

In my third year of university, I participated in a Monbukagakusho scholarship program through the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT) and attended Osaka University as a government-funded exchange student. At that time, I came to Sapporo and Otaru for vacation, and became even more interested in Sapporo and Hokkaido. Towards the end of my study abroad, I learned of the JET Program through a career counseling session held at Osaka University and decided I wanted to participate in it in the future. It is an honor for me to make my dream come true and work here in Sapporo as a CIR. From here-on-out, I hope to introduce China to the Japanese people and to help out Chinese-Japanese friendly exchange.

Looking forward to meeting you!

Alena Feshina[Russia]

Здравствуйте! Zdravstvuite! Hello, dear citizens of Sapporo! My name is Alena. I came from Sapporo’s sister-city, Novosibirsk.
My experience with Japan started in high-school. When I first heard the Japanese language, I loved the way the words sounded like a beautiful song. After that, I decided to learn Japanese in earnest. In 2014, I came to Sapporo for the first time as a tourist, and in 2017 I returned to Hokkaido, and spent 3 months here as a participant of an internship program.

During my life as a student, I communicated with many Japanese people, and I found out that even in a country as distant from my hometown as Japan, there are many with an interest in the Russian “soul”, and wanted to make friends with Russian people, so I decided to work hard in order to maintain this aspiration and widen the borders of cooperation between our countries. After graduation, I worked in the Novosibirsk Municipal Culture Center “Siberia – Hokkaido”, and my duties included translating, arranging cross-cultural events, teaching Japanese language, and coordinating projects for children.

Citizens of both Novosibirsk and Sapporo are tied firmly by bonds of friendship, so I want to deepen these important sister-city relations. Keeping the emotions of students who learned Japanese in mind, I will do my best to help you learn more about Russian culture, and its people.

Mihyun Lee[Korea]

Annyeonghaseyo! (Hello!)

Hello everyone.

My name is Mihyun Lee, and I come from Gumi City in the North Gyeongsang Province in South Korea. I began working in Sapporo as a Coordinator for International Relations (CIR) in April 2017.

I studied Japanese at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies located in South Korea's capital city, Seoul. I became fascinated by Japanese during my university years through participation in a Japan-Korea Youth Exchange Project and so, in this way, I am extremely happy to be able to share about South Korea with all of you as a CIR. I hope the international exchange I will engage in here in Sapporo will also be another opportunity for someone.

This is my first time in Sapporo, however, being born in December, I love the snowy season and am excited for Sapporo's winter. I've heard that the summers are cool, comfortable, and easy-to-live-in. I've also heard that you can enjoy the various sceneries by season, and I would love to visit many places, have many experiences, and tell everyone in Korea about it.

I'm looking forward to meeting you all!

Alice Rouaud[France]

Bonjour Sapporo !

My name is Alice Rouaud and I'm from Ormesson-sur-Marne City, which is located in the suburbs of Paris, France. In august 2016, I started working as a Coordinator for International Relations in Sapporo City. I am assigned to the Cultural Promotion Section of the Community & Cultural Promotion Bureau. The tasks I am mainly in charge are the communication with member cities of UNESCO Creative Cities Network which Sapporo is part of, as well as the related translation work and interpretation, etc.

In 4th grade of Junior High School (French Junior High School is 4 year-long), I started learning Japanese by myself as a hobby. My interest in Japan kept growing bigger, so I decided to enter the Department of East-Asian Languages and Civilizations (LCAO) of Paris Diderot University with a major in Japanese Studies. In my 3rd year of Bachelor'degree, and in my 2nd year of Master's degree, I was an exchange student in Konan Women's University, Kobe and then Kansai University, Osaka for one year each time.

This is my 5th time coming to Japan, but I had never been in Sapporo nor Hokkaido until now, which is why I am really looking forward to various new experiences and encounters. As the 1st French CIR in Sapporo City, I hope to contribute to further the relations and exchanges between Japan and France !

Looking forward to meeting you!