In a few short weeks, a delegation from our Sister City, Hekinan Japan will join us to celebrate the 30th anniversary of our sister city relationship.
The relationship began 30 years ago with the very active efforts of then-Mayor Larry Naughten. His leadership set a path for hundreds of students and adults to experience the rich rewards of learning and participating with another culture.
While we have yearly student exchanges, every five years we participate in an adult exchange. My wife and I led a delegation to Hekinan this past April. We went to celebrate the 30 years of our Sister City relationship and the 70th anniversary of the founding of their city. It was the second visit for Susan and me.
This year, we will welcome a 20-member delegation led by Hekinan Mayor Masanobu Negita. Other members of the delegation include the chairman of the Hekinan City Council, the president of their Sister City Association and the president of the Cultural Association, along with long-time volunteers of the association, city staff members and community members.
Mayor Negita and I became fast friends upon our first meeting in 2013. Early on, we discovered we have the same sense of humor. Even though Mayor Negita speaks only a little English, and I have a very limited Japanese vocabulary, we find it easy to communicate. We especially enjoy our opportunities to share a meal together, where we find we are able to entertain ourselves whether staff or interpreters are around.
While here, our Sister City Commission and my Executive Assistant Carolyn LaFave — along with long-time Sister City Commissioner and translator Iyoko Okano — have planned a rich and varied experience for the delegation.
They will tour our Washington State Capitol in Olympia and the Hilbulb Cultural Center at the Tulalip Reservation, spend a day in La Conner, and spend a day in Edmonds touring some of our city buildings, visiting Edmonds Elementary and having some free time in our downtown. We will have a reception for the delegation at the Cascadia Art Museum, which will have a showing by Japanese photographer Soichi Sunami titled “Life and Photography”.
The delegation will arrive on Monday, Oct. 29 and will depart on Saturday, Nov. 3. As usual, their visit will coincide with Edmonds’ annual Halloween festivities. This is one of the delegation’s favorite parts of their visit. Many will bring and don costumes for the evening as they pass out candy to trick-or-treaters from their post in front of City Hall. They truly enjoy this aspect of American culture and love to participate in the celebration!
Hopefully some of you will cross paths with our guests while they are here in town; if so, please take the time to give them a warm Edmonds “hello” and make them feel welcome. Many of them speak English and look forward to interacting local citizens.
I would like to thank the Edmonds Senior Center for the use of their bus for transportation of the delegation, and the following businesses for their sponsorship support of the Sister City program: Coastal Community Bank, Cascadia Art Museum, Campbell Nissan of Edmonds, Lynnwood Honda, Windermere/Edmonds, Insurance Services Group, and Shooby Doo Catering.
— By Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling