Japanese visitors celebrate sister city
by Sam Matthews
Mar 14, 2014 | 7660 views | 0 0 comments | 209 209 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Stockton Bukkyo Taiko Drum Group provided bicultural entertainment for the Tracy Sister City Association’s 25th anniversary dinner in Tracy Community Center. Sam Matthews/Tracy Press
The Stockton Bukkyo Taiko Drum Group provided bicultural entertainment for the Tracy Sister City Association’s 25th anniversary dinner in Tracy Community Center. Sam Matthews/Tracy Press
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Representatives of Tracy and Japan discuss the success of the Tracy-Memuro Sister City relationship at the program’s 25th anniversary dinner Saturday night at Tracy Community Center. Pictured are Tracy Mayor Brent Ives (from left), Memuro Mayor Yoshinori Miyanishi, Tracy Sister City Association founder Ken Yasui and Japanese Consul General Masato Watanabe from San Francisco. Sam Matthews/Tracy Press
Representatives of Tracy and Japan discuss the success of the Tracy-Memuro Sister City relationship at the program’s 25th anniversary dinner Saturday night at Tracy Community Center. Pictured are Tracy Mayor Brent Ives (from left), Memuro Mayor Yoshinori Miyanishi, Tracy Sister City Association founder Ken Yasui and Japanese Consul General Masato Watanabe from San Francisco. Sam Matthews/Tracy Press
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A delegation from Memuro, Japan, and the consul general of Japan in San Francisco helped the Tracy Sister City Association celebrate the cultural exchange program’s 25th birthday Saturday night.

The dinner in Tracy Community Center attracted nearly 200 people, many of whom were former Tracy middle-school students who had visited Memuro or their chaperones for the annual youth exchange visits since the founding of the program in 1989.

Masato Watanabe, consul general of Japan in San Francisco, told the gathering that sister city ties are important to world understanding and building close relations between countries.

“I’m excited to be here tonight,” he said. “I’ve never experienced anything like this, and the relationship between Tracy and Memuro is a shining example of the ties between Japan and the United States.”

Mayor Yoshinori Miyanishi of Memuro, who led a 14-member delegation from Tracy’s sister city on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, said the program is important for his city, as he’s sure it is for Tracy, too.

“We certainly hope the program continues,” he said through an interpreter. “I invite you all to Memuro, and I’m looking forward to seeing you there.”

Tracy Mayor Brent Ives said the success of the Tracy-Memuro connection could be measured by its quarter-century longevity, its educational value for the young people involved and its enhancement of cultural understanding.

Ives presented gifts from Tracy to his counterpart from Memuro, who responded with gifts from his city to Tracy.

Ken Yasui, who was the founder and first president of the Tracy Sister City Association, spoke in both English and Japanese, stressing that the success of the program in Tracy was based on the active involvement of the association’s board of directors and the cooperation of Memuro city officials.

In addition to the Memuro connection, Tracy has a less active sister city relationship with Velas in the Azores.

Entertainment for the anniversary dinner was provided the Stockton Bukkyo Taiko Drum Group.

• Contact Sam Matthews at 830-4234 or shm@tracypress.com.

 
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