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Lethbridge Twinning Society

Visitors from afar
Our relationship and friendship with the Towada City Association for International Relations (TAIR) has become close and we have already had many delegations visiting both ways!

Official Residence of the Consul General for Japan
July 28, 2017

On July 28th, 2017 Harold Pereverseff, President of the Lethbridge Twinning Society and his wife attended at the Official Residence of the Consul General for Japan (Calgary). The occasion was the send off of JET (Japanese English Teachers). There were 27 JETs in attendance, and we had the opportunity of meeting many of them. They were all very excited and it is my impression that they are all excellent selections for these awesome opportunities. We wish to thank Consul General Tanabe and his wife for the gracious invitation to this reception. As always, they were excellent hosts, and the meal served was spectacular as prepared by the Consul General's personal chef.

Ms. Tanabe, Consul General for Japan's wife standing in front of their Official Residence. Very gracious hosts for the reception
Harold Pereverseff with Consul General staff member, Jeremy Davies
Harold Pereverseff and wife Cheryl standing in front of the Official Residence of the Consul General for Japan (Calgary)
Consul General for Japan, Mr. K. Tanabe and his wife in front of their official residence. It was an honour and a huge privilege to be invited to this send off celebration, as the 27 JETs who were departing for Tokyo the following day. It was especially wonderful to send off Ms. Kayta Brown from Lethbridge. Kayta will be teaching English in one of Lethbridge's "Sister Cities" Haebaru, (Okinawa) Japan
Presentation at the Galt Museum
July 19, 2017

On July 19, 2017 Lethbridge Twinning Society President, Harold Pereverseff made a presentation at the Galt Museum regarding the Lethbridge Twinning Society and its role in the Lethbridge community. The talk was made before a group of residents and (we discovered) a couple... from the City of Edmonton. The presentation focused on our Sister City, Towada City, Japan and in particular, Towada resident and very talented musician, Makoto Sakurada. As a door prize, along with our usual assortment of novelty items, we presented the CD "Four Seasons" by Makoto Sakurada. Many residents of Lethbridge attended and a few visitors who later remarked that they found the presentation very enlightening.

Although the Lethbridge Twinning Society has relations with four "Sister Cities" (Culver City, California; Great Falls, Montana; Timashevsk, Russia and Towada City, Japan) the presentation centred on Towada City, Japan. In particular on the relations established with Towada City performer, Makoto Sakurada.

President of Lethbridge Twinning Society, Harold Pereverseff welcomes guests to the presentation on the Lethbridge Twinning Society at the Galt Museum
President of Lethbridge Twinning Society, Harold Pereverseff at the Galt Museum
Video depicting Makoto Sakurada
Video depicting Makoto Sakurada
Tom Yeoman assists with video presentation
Display on Lethbridge Twinning Society relations

Her Imperial Highness, Princess Ayakko of Takamado from Japan visit
July 14, 2017

Lethbridge MP Rachael Harder and Her Imperial Highness Princess Ayako of Takamodo
On July 14, 2017 Her Imperial Highness, Princess Ayakko of Takamado from Japan visited Lethbridge and among other venues, she visited the Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden. The Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden was celebrating a 50th year anniversary.

It was an honor and privilege for the Hibikiya Taiko Group (Southern Alberta Taiko Association) to perform for the Princess.

Our Japanese Sister City, Towada City, Japan through the Lethbridge Twinning Society, took the opportunity of expressing a congratulatory message to the Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden Society. (See the message from Mr. Hauro Shirayama – President of the Towada Association for International Relations)

It was a hot, sunny day in Lethbridge, that greeted Princess Ayakko. It was a pleasure that Consul General for Japan (Calgary) Mr. Kunihiko Tanabe and his wife Kazue Tanabe accompanied the Princess. Dignitary, Lois Mitchell (Alberta's Lieutenant-Governor) was also in attendance. Local government officials and many Lethbridge residents came to the event.
L-R - Her Imperial Highness Princess Ayako of Takamado, Lois Mitchell, Alberta's Lieutenant-Governor, Member of Parliament, Rachael Harder, MP, Member of Alberta Legislative Assembly, Maria Fitzpatrick, Consul General for Japan (Calgary) Mr. Kunihiko Tanabe, Mrs. Kazue Tanabe, Charles McCleary.
Her Imperial Highness Princess Ayako of Takamodo passes by the Hibikiya Taiko group after their performance.
Hikikiya (Southern Alberta Taiko Association) perform for Her Imperial Highness Princess Ayako of Takamodo.
Bryan (Sensei) of Hibikiya presents during the perfomance.
Takako presents during the performance. (Samurai "Warren" stands on watch during the performance)
Harold Pereverseff (President of the Lethbridge Twinning Society) presents the congratulatory greeting on behalf of our Sister City, Towada City, Japan – Mr. Hauro Shirayama – President of the Towada Association for International Relations.
Takako Pereverseff (former resident of Towada City, Japan) presents the congratulatory greeting on behalf of our Sister City, Towada City, Japan – Mr. Hauro Shirayama – President of the Towada Association for International Relations. *In Japanese
Takako Pereverseff and Harold Pereverseff leave the stage after their presentation.

Makoto invited to celebrate Canada 150 at Canadian Embassy in Tokyo
June 30th, 2017

On June 30th, 2017 – Makoto Sakurada from our Sister City, Towada City, Japan was invited to the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo, Japan to celebrate Canada 150 Anniversary. There were over 400 people in attendance! Makoto has, of course, been a "Citizen Ambassador" for Towada City for a number of years. He has made two visits to Lethbridge, where he performed his musical talents, most recently in 2012 when he conducted an Alberta tour where he held performances in 13 communities! This was Makoto's "Thank you, Alberta!" tour his performances in response to the tremendous support the Province of Alberta gave to his country, Japan, following the great earthquake of 2011.

Canadian Ambassador to Tokyo, Mr. Ian Burny.
A grant from the Provincial Alberta Government for "Hibikiya"
June 18th, 2017

On June 18th Lethbridge's only authentic Taiko group, Southern Alberta Taiko Association, "Hibikiya" were presented a grant from the Provincial Alberta Government. Congratulations to Hibikiya who are a direct link to our Sister City, Towada City, Japan.

The grant will be used for equipment, including drums for Taiko! Hibikiya has many years of successful Taiko not only in Alberta, but most recently in the United States where they performed in our Sister City, Great Falls, Montana.

Hon. Minister Shannon Phillips presented a grant from the Provincial Alberta Government to the Southern Alberta Taiko Association.
Sensei, Bryan Pereverseff leads Hibikiya in an awesome performance at the Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden.
Taiko artists, Tanya and Kevin display perfect coordination and absolute concentration as they perform Taiko.
Samurai, Warren and Hibikiya Taiko artist, Tanya pose for a picture.
In Memorial of Dr. Seiichi Kawamura
Passed June 23, 2016

We had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know Dr. Kawamura over the course of many years. This picture is of Dr. Kawamura from October of 2014, being the last time we met in Towada City, Japan. He was one of the most gracious, kind and polite gentleman I had ever met. He always considered others before himself, and we remember when he came to Canada with a group of young residents from Towada City, he was very concerned that they were well and enjoying their visit. He checked on them regularly and often offered assistance when requested and required. It is Dr. Kawamura who is responsible for fostering a very great city to city relationship between Towada City and Lethbridge.

We join in sadness and sorrow at the passing of this great man, Dr. Seiichi Kawamura.


お目にかかった2014 年10 月に撮影された写真です。彼は、私たちがこれまで会った方々

The Lethbridge Twinning Society proudly endorses Japanese Taiko Group - Hibikiya

HIBIKIYA is an authentic Japanese Taiko Drumming Group based in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada.

HIBIKIYA is passionate in providing the opportunity for drummers of all ages and levels to learn, perform and enjoy genuine Taiko. New members to HIBIKIYA are always welcome to participate in a graduated apprentice program.

English as a Second Language for Japanese communities
August, 2016

The Lethbridge Twinning Society wishes to collaborate with and extend an open invitation to other communities in Alberta which have Japanese "Sister City" relations and would like to offer opportunities from your Japanese communities to study English as a Second Language (ESL). Two years ago, we attended a workshop/symposium in our Sister City, Towada City, Japan where we made a presentation respecting opportunities to study English as a Second Language in Lethbridge. In our delegation were representatives from the University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge College and Flexibility Learning Systems. Each of these learning institutions offer ESL programs.

The Lethbridge Twinning Society will assist with hosting participants and arranging for reasonable priced "homestay" accommodations.

For more information, please contact: hcbmkwaq@telusplanet.net or call 403-381-0038.

Lethbridge Twinning Society: visitors from Russia and Japan
Septermber, 2015

These are the "grass roots" relationships which our Society encourages and demonstrates! Here we have "Rin" for our Sister City in Towada City, Japan and "Genna" from Russia. Together for their first times meeting each other and sharing tea!

Rin is a homestay student who is currently in Lethbridge studying English as a Second Language (ESL) at Flexibility Language Systems while Genna is a friend of the family currently visiting Lethbridge! This was a unique opportunity for Rin and Genna. Rin had never met a real Russian from Russia before and likewise Genna had never met a real Japanese person from Japan! Surprisingly they communicated well, shared some pictures on their phones, and enjoyed tea together (sorry, no Vodka or Sake!)

We are encouraged by the ambition for these young people who are challenging themselves to learn and explore thus enriching their life skills and opening windows and door internationally! Lethbridge Twinning Society makes these opportunities happen.

"My Encounter with Japan" Photo Contest
Calgary, AB - May 13th, 2015

The Consulate-General of Japan in Calgary is pleased to announce its second Japan Photo Contest. We are currently open for submission of photographs in line with this year's theme of "My Encounter with Japan". Enter to win prizes and a chance to have your photograph displayed at Consulate-General of Japan in Calgary events.

Photos do not need to be taken in Japan. In fact, the photo can have been taken anywhere in the world - Japan, Canada or otherwise - as long as it coincides with the designated theme.

The deadline for submission to the Consulate-General of Japan in Calgary is JULY 24th, 2015 (only one submission per person).

Please download the conditions form for all other specific conditions and submission details.

Bryan with TaikoKozo at Honolulu Festival
Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Honolulu Festival
Honolulu, Hawaii - March 6-8th 2015

Bryan with TaikoKozo at Honolulu Festival
Bryan Pereverseff from the Southern Alberta Taiko Society "Hibikiya" attended the Honolulu Festival in Honolulu, Hawaii on March 6, 7, 8 – 2015.

He continue his pursuit of excellent authentic Japanese Taiko that he will bring back to our Community in Lethbridge and Alberta.

Bryan participated with the Taiko Group, TaikoKozo from Chiba, Japan.

ESL Workshop and Symposium Report

Towada City, Japan
October 4th – 5th 2014

On September 30, 2014 a three person delegation consisting of:
Harold Pereverseff – President, Lethbridge Twinning Society (LTS)
Dr. Sepideh Masoodi – Programs Coordinator - Lethbridge College (LC)
Elma Guinto – Director – Flexibility Learning Systems (FLS)

Departed Lethbridge enroute to our sister city, Towada City, Japan. We would meet with Diane Minamide – Director for Towada City Relations, LTS, who had departed prior to September 30th.

*Diane Minamide represented on behalf of the University of Lethbridge (UofL) and their ESL program and International Student Programs at the University of Lethbridge.

The primary purpose of the journey was to participate in a workshop and symposium regarding English as a Second Language (ESL) and the availability of such programs through the UofL, LC and FLS in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. The workshop and symposium had been organized by the Towada City Association for International Relations (T-AIR) and they had sponsored the Lethbridge delegation to participate.

The secondary purpose of the visit to engage in strengthening our sister city relations between Towada City and Lethbridge through the efforts of the Lethbridge Twinning Society (LTS) and T-AIR. LTS President Pereverseff had brought official messages from MP Jim Hillyer, as well as from MLA Greg Weadick and MLA Bridget Pastoor. These would be presented to the President of T-AIR and to the Mayor of Towada City at an appropriate time during the visit. (These messages are appended to this report)

Significant preparation for the symposium and workshop began well over a year prior. Dr. David Ibsen (an associate of LTS) visited Towada City in fall of 2013 and assisted in facilitating a "reunion" of Japanese and Canadian students who had participated in ESL and Japanese Second Language (JSL). Then, in May, 2014, Diane Minamide (Director for Towada City relations) visited Towada City and further discussion and planning for the symposium and workshop was undertaken.

On October 03, 2014 we were met by Mary Beth Takao who works for the Government of Alberta at the Alberta/Japan Office in Tokyo. Mary Beth joined us as we began the final leg of our journey to Towada City.

As a delegation, we arrived at the Shinkansen (bullet train) Shichinohe-Towada Station. We had a warm reception from T-AIR President, Mr. Shirayama, Mr. Arao and other members of T-AIR. After checking into our accommodations at the Towada City Hotel, we went to the Towada City, Chamber of Commerce Building, where the workshop and symposium was being held.

The venue was perfect, it allowed for each of the facilitators to set up their "class rooms" in separate areas and for LTS President Pereverseff to set up a reception/information station at the facility entrance.

The workshops held the following day went very well, Mary Beth became involved in visiting each of the classrooms and interacting with the facilitators and the students. The Alberta/Japan office had provided some practical items to present to those in attendance and included a bilingual book (Japanese/English) regarding Alberta, some erasers, pencils and note books – very much appreciated and well received.

The participants "students" of the workshops were assessed prior as to their knowledge of English and were directed to the classroom that best suited their knowledge level and proficiency of English. This resulted in each of the students being designated as "beginner", "intermediate" or "advanced". The beginner students were assigned to Elma Guinto (FSL) class, the intermediate students were assigned to Dr. Sepideh Masoodi (LC) while the advanced students were assigned to Diane Minamide (U of L). There was a very good representation of participants, some very young and others were seniors. Each class was assigned a Japanese/English translator who were volunteers with T-AIR. This was very helpful. Immediately following the first session of class, the students changed classrooms and were provided the opportunity of experiencing ESL instruction at a different level – Elma instructed the students at the intermediate level – Sepideh the students at the advanced level – Diane the students at the beginner level. Each of the facilitators provided information on their respective ESL programs offered at their facilities. This information included verbal as well as written documentation that described their facility, the ESL courses offered, time frames, costs as well as admission direction. Each facilitator left contact information for each of the participants and for the T-AIR organizers of the workshop. A question and answer opportunity was extended to all of the participants. The workshops were a huge success as noted by feedback forms completed by the participants and from the impressions gleaned by the facilitators. T-AIR are conducting their own analysis and will be finalizing their report shortly.

The following day, a symposium was held at the reception hall of the Towada City, Chamber of Commerce Building. The symposium format was that each of the Lethbridge facilitators and LTS President Pereverseff were seated behind a table on a raised stage. Mr. Kuniwo Negishi a Japanese as a second language teacher, was as well, a member of the panel. The panel chair was Mr. Teiichi Arao. Mr. Arao introduced each of the panel members to the symposium participants. Each panel member was given the opportunity of presenting information on their respective facilities as well as promoting the ESL programs which they offer. LTS President Pereverseff presented information on the "sister city" relationship that the communities of Lethbridge and Towada City enjoy. (Speech is appended to this reporting) T-AIR had arranged for accredited translators to assist each of the panel members in their presentations. It is noteworthy to advise that Diane Minamide of the U of L and Dr. Sepideh Masoodi of LC had power point presentations to go along with their presentations. Diane Minamide delivered her presentation in Japanese and therefore did not require any translator.

The symposium participants consisted of the Mayor of the City of Towada City, Mr. Oyamada, several members of the Towada City, City Council, Regional and Prefecture representatives, Mary Beth Takao from the Alberta/Japan Office, teachers, community leaders, former ESL students who had studied in Lethbridge as well as many perspective Lethbridge bound ESL students. Following the panel presentations, there was an opportunity for participants to pose questions during a question and answer period. Two former Lethbridge ESL students, Katsuhito Shimada and Toshishiko Kawashima had attended at the Lethbridge College in the spring of 2014. Both Katshuhito and Toshishiko displayed enthusiasm and passion for their Lethbridge ESL experiences as they presented speeches and also acted as respondents during the question and answer session. Risa Kumasaka, also a former Lethbridge, ESL student who attended at the Flexibility Learning System provided a speech and acted as a respondent during the question and answer session. The time was short and we were not able to address all of the questions. Mr. Arao dismissed the panel and a dinner reception was immediately enjoyed. Traditional Japanese foods were served as visiting and further discussions took place. The Japanese customary "business card" exchanges took place. Speeches from the Mayor of Towada City, Mr. Oyamada, the President of T-Air Mr. Shirayama and various other dignitaries were delivered. We were treated to entertainment as Risa (former ESL student who attended in at Flexibility Learning Systems in Lethbridge) performed some spectacular juggling. Makoto Sakurada (two time guest of the Lethbridge Twinning Society (2009 to Lethbridge and Southern Alberta & 2011 to the Province of Alberta) performed a brief musical concert. Gifts from the Lethbridge delegation were exchanged with members of T-AIR. The standard gifts were framed pictures of the Lethbridge CPR High Level Trestle Bridge. (Taken by Lethbridge photographer, Mike Byneshewsky). It was very encouraging to have had the opportunity of meeting with Risa, Toshihiko and Katshuhito, all of whom were former ESL students who studied in Lethbridge previously. There were parents and perspective students who came to speak with us and in fact two students committed to come to Lethbridge in 2015 for ESL studies!

The planning, organizing and conducting of the two day event by T-AIR and their collaborating organizations along with the City of Towada City resulted in an entirely successful two day ESL event. The information delivered by the Lethbridge delegation is fully on record and T-AIR will be able to share the information with all those in Towada City and throughout Japan.

The following day, (October 6th) the Lethbridge delegation was invited to the Office of the Mayor of Towada City. T-AIR President, Mr. Shirayama along with other members of T-AIR accompanied. We were impressed with the reception that we were given, the meeting was informal as we enjoyed a cup of traditional Japanese tea while we chatted about our efforts as a twinning society and our experience at the ESL Workshop and Symposium. Elma Guinto, on behalf of the Lethbridge delegation presented Mayor Oyamada with one of the beautiful framed photographs of our Lethbridge CPR High Level Trestle Bridge. Harold Pereverseff presented the formal greetings from MP Jim Hillyer, MLA Greg Weadick and MLA Bridget Pastoor. Mayor Oyamada was most gracious to us, he presented each of the Lethbridge delegation members with beautiful tapestry that was hand made in a very traditional way using old kimonos for the fabric structure. The tapestry is indeed very beautiful and will be cherished gifts in our homes. One of the Towada City Councillors spoke to us after our meeting with the Mayor and said that he had attended the ESL symposium and that after attending, he and his wife are considering having their daughter attend ESL studies in Lethbridge!

Immediately following the meeting with the Mayor, we were off to Hokkaido as Mr. Shirayama had arranged for an overnight visit to the famous city of Hakodate. Mrs. Yamada joined us as we travelled on a train. The train actually goes almost 300 meters under the ocean surface through a unique tunnel that is in fact the longest deepest tunnel of it's kind in the world. You are over 25 minutes under the ocean while you travel to Hokkaido from Honshu. There were many exciting sights that we experienced in Hokadate. This port city is said to have the world's fourth most beautiful night time views. Sea foods of all description were for sale in open air markets. Most prominent, squid. We had the opportunity of visiting a whale meat shop and even to taste samples. Mr. Shirayama had provided hotel accommodations for us at a very nice hotel situated in the downtown area. The following day, October 7th we said good bye to Diane who carried on to Sapporo and Elma and Sepideh who made their way back to Tokyo. Harold stayed with Mr. Shirayama and Mrs. Yamada and travelled back to Towada City on the train.

Harold was the house guest of the Yamada family. Back in Towada City, Harold had the opportunity of participating in several sister city related activities these included:

1- Being invited back to City Hall where he met with Mr. Kazuhito Watanabe. Mr. Watanabe works with the City of Towada, Legal and Financial departments. Several years ago, Mr. Watanabe worked for the Japanese consulate in Claire, New York with the JET Program. It was at that time that Harold met him through the Sister Cities International network and invited him to visit Lethbridge. Mr. Watanabe did visit Lethbridge and as such he has a good understanding of Lethbridge and our community.

2- Harold was invited to attend an official opening of the Towada City – Civic Centre Plaza. The ribbon cutting by Mayor Oyamada officially opened the facility which is a 1,846 square meter community center costing in excess of 900 Million Japanese Yen. The facility is designed as a plan by the City of Towada to activate the city center by introducing the "Plaza for Education" and "Plaza for Social Communication ". The Civic Centre Plaza will improve the public welfare and environment for lifelong learning by attracting the public of all ages through numerous social events to improve the social exchange within the community. This building is ultra modern and very impressive, it is accessible and user friendly. The site of the facility is strategic as it located immediately downtown and faces the shopping district. A city bus stops in front of the main entrance.

3- Mr. Shirayama invited Harold to a Community reception which, among other things recognized Mr. Shirayama as a civic leader in Towada City. The reception was attended by over 400 guests.

4- Harold was invited to enjoy a fall festival held at the Kita Sato University, Towada City Campus. The University is where Mr. Teiichi Arao is a professor. The University is a private University that consists of six schools: Allied Health Sciences (since 1962), Science (since 1962), Pharmacy (since 1964), Veterinary medicine (since 1966), Medicine (since 1970), Marine Biosciences (since 1972) and Nursing (since 1986). The Schools are distributed across four areas of Japan with the headquarters located in Shirokane, Tokyo. Various buildings are strategically situated on the large 380,000 square meter campus. Several of the buildings are new as having been reconstructed or completely rebuilt following earthquake devastations. It was amazing to see the huge number of bicycles on the campus that are the mode of transportation for students, faculty and administrative staff alike. Very few automobiles were on campus! Mr. Arao toured Harold though most of the campus introducing him to several of faculty members and a number of students. The university has international exchanges with Mahanakorn University in Bangkok, Thailand along with three United States universities. (Perdue University in Indiana; University of Georgia and the University of Tennessee).

5- Harold met with travel agency in Towada City to investigate tourist visits to Towada City and area. This was a worthwhile exchange and much information was gleaned that may be of great assistance in planning for future delegation visits to Towada City.

6- Harold met with members of "Suijin Taiko" who are "Sensei" (teachers) of the Director of the Lethbridge Japanese Taiko drumming group – "Hibikiya" and the Southern Alberta Taiko Society. It was encouraging to exchange information and "catch up" on relations that were established with Suinin Taiko over a decade ago when the Lethbridge Twinning Society sponsored two members of Suinin to come to Lethbridge to introduce the authentic Japanese Taiko in our community.

7- Mr. Teiichi Arao the T-AIR Director for Lethbridge relations along with his wife invited Harold to a traditional Japanese dinner that was at a traditional Japanese restaurant in downtown Towada City. The chef is a neighbor to Mr. Arao and as such the meal presentation and meal menu was made especially for us. Words cannot describe the ambiance of the restaurant, the taste of the cuisine, and the unforgettable experience that was much enjoyed.

8- Harold was presented a pair of "antique" Taiko Drum sticks from the Sakurada family in Towada City. These sticks are perhaps 100 years old! They were given to Harold to be specifically presented on behalf of Makoto Sakurada to Mr. Adam Mason of the University of Lethbridge, Global Drums. Mr. Mason has visited Towada City twice over the past few years and intends on another visit in the near future.

9- Harold had the opportunity of touring through the Hakkoda Mountains and taking a road trip to the far north eastern coast line of Honshu. The Sea of Japan coast is rugged and laden with fishing vessels of all description. Deep in the Hakkoda Mountains, an "Onsen" was enjoyed. This is a Japanese Hot Spring, very relaxing and very refreshing.

10- Finally, the interaction that Harold had with local residents in Towada City was very pleasant. One day there was a typhoon that bore down on Towada City, it was a very significant storm and it was interesting to see the community prepare to weather out the typhoon. Neighbors and businesses alike were assisting one another in preparation. After the storm, cleanup was fast, efficient and any damages were immediately repaired. The following day, you would have never thought a storm had attacked.

11- Mr. Shirayama is as well a farmer and has several rice paddies. One day, Harold was invited to his farm and was given command of a rice harvester. Harold actually harvested a rice field with a new combine, which was a very high tech piece of machinery. It was interesting that Harold not only ate rice while in Towada City, but he had the opportunity of seeing rice growing and in fact harvested rice!

Members of the Lethbridge delegation all arrived back home safely. This experience was certainly well worth our efforts. We trust that we have made the bridge of friendship between the community of Lethbridge and the community of Towada City even stronger than before.

Further reads:

ESL Workshop and Symposium Report (English)

Twinning Society off to Japan (English)

Bridget Pastoor letter (English)

Jim Hillyer letter (English)

Greg Weadic letter (English)

Greg Weadic letter #2 (English)

Japanese Newspaper article about Symposium (Japanese)

Japanese Newspaper article about ESL Workshop (Japanese)

ESL Workshop and Symposium

Towada City, Japan
October 4th – 5th 2014

On September 30, 2014 a three person delegation consisting of:
Harold Pereverseff – President, Lethbridge Twinning Society (LTS)
Dr. Sepideh Masoodi – Programs Coordinator - Lethbridge College (LC)
Elma Guinto – Director – Flexibility Learning Systems (FLS)
Departed Lethbridge enroute to our sister city, Towada City, Japan. We would meet with Diane Minamide – Director for Towada City Relations, LTS, who had departed prior to September 30th.

*Diane Minamide represented on behalf of the University of Lethbridge (UofL) and their ESL program and International Student Programs at the University of Lethbridge.

The primary purpose of the journey was to participate in a workshop and symposium regarding English as a Second Language (ESL) and the availability of such programs through the UofL, LC and FLS in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. The workshop and symposium had been organized by the Towada City Association for International Relations (T-AIR) and they had sponsored the Lethbridge delegation to participate.

The secondary purpose of the visit to engage in strengthening our sister city relations between Towada City and Lethbridge through the efforts of the Lethbridge Twinning Society (LTS) and T-AIR. LTS President Pereverseff had brought official messages from MP Jim Hillyer, as well as from MLA Greg Weadick and MLA Bridget Pastoor. These would be presented to the President of T-AIR and to the Mayor of Towada City at an appropriate time during the visit.

Lethbridge Twinning Society (LTS) delegation to ESL Symposium

On September 30, 2014, Lethbridge Twinning Society (LTS) President Harold Pereverseff will be leading a delegation from Lethbridge to participate in a English as Second Language and Japanese as a Second Language, symposium in Towada City, Japan. The symposium is being hosted by the Towada Association for International Relations (T-AIR). Our delegation has been graciously sponsored by T-AIR to attend the symposium. The symposium will not only serve the purpose of advising Japanese attendees of the opportunities of studying English as a Second Language in Lethbridge at our three facilities (The University of Lethbridge, the Lethbridge College or Flexibility Learning Systems) but will also be another step at bridging our two communities together through our sister city relationship.

The LTS delegation will participate in the symposium and related workshop in Towada City on October 4th and 5th. The delegation members consist of:
  • Harold Pereverseff – President, Lethbridge Twinning Society
  • Diane Minamide – Director for Towada City Relations, Lethbridge Twinning Society
  • Dr. Sepideh Masoodi – Programs Coordinator - Lethbridge College
  • Elma Guinto – Director – Flexibility Learning Systems

*Diane Minamide will be presenting on behalf of the University of Lethbridge and their ESL program and International Student Programs at the University of Lethbridge.

English as Second Language and Japanese as a Second Language symposium

Towada City, Japan
October 05, 2014
See more:

ESL Symposium Speech - Harold Pereverseff


The Lethbridge Twinning Society (LTS) and the Towada City Association for International Relations (T-AIR) formed a twinning relationship agreement in 2002. Our organizations follow the model of "Sister Cities International".

Our LTS Director for Towada City City, Japan relations, Diane Minamide and the T-AIR Director for Lethbridge, Alberta relations, Dr. Teiichi Arao of Towada City City, Japan, have woven a close web that has greatly enhanced our "Alberta – Japan" experience! One of the pivotal achievements that have been forged in our relationship is now our standardized and formal student exchange procedures. As a proven result, we offer sustained opportunities for students in the advanced high school grades and/or post secondary to attend at "English as Second Language" (ESL) courses in one of three facilities in Lethbridge: 1- The University of Lethbridge (International Students Centre) 2- The Lethbridge College 3- Flexibility Learning Systems

Read more:

The Lethbridge Twinning Society report for 2013-2014 (English)

The Lethbridge Twinning Society report for 2013-2014 (Japanese)

Annual Conference and General Meeting of the Alberta/Japan Twinned Municipalities

On June 13 and 14, 2014 Director of the Lethbridge Twinning Society (LTS), Michael Bennett attended the Annual Conference and General Meeting of the Alberta/Japan Twinned Municipalities (A/JTMA) in Rocky Mountain House, Alberta.

This was yet another of Michael's several participations in the A/JTMA conferences over the years. Michael had the unique experience at this year's conference of being offered an exclusive tour via private aircraft flown by Rocky Mountain House Mayor, Mr. Fred Nash.

Michael presented a number of initiatives on behalf of the LTS at the conference in particular the pilot program for the "English as a Second Language" programs at the University of Lethbridge, the Lethbridge College and Flexibility Learning Systems.

(L-R) Mrs. Tamura, Michael Bennett, Consul General of Japan (Calgary) Mr. Tamura
Derrick Campbell (Newly Elected President of A/JTMA) and Michael Bennett

Visit to Towada City

In May, 2014 Diane Minamide (Director for Towada City relations) together with John attended in Towada City not in an "official" capacity, but rather as friends and visitors. They were graciously welcomed and had the opportunity of meeting a number of Towada City – Association for International Relations (T-AIR) members. The visit, like previous visits and future such visits continue to build the friendship bond that vibrantly exists between the communities of Towada City and Lethbridge.

Makoto Sakurada (Left) gives "thumbs up" as he had the opportunity of visiting with John and Diane (Far Right) in a local Towada City establishment.
(L-R) Diane, Toshihiko, Mr. Teiichi Arao, Katsuhito and John visit Mr. Arao at the Kitasato University, Towada City. (Toshihiko and Katsuhito were students at the Lethbridge College in February/March 2014 studying "English as a Second Language".

Welcome Katsuhito and Toshihiko!
February 24th, 2014

We are very pleased to welcome Katsuhito and Toshihiko to Lethbridge and to Canada! They are both arriving on February 24th, 2014. They are coming to study English as a Second Language (ESL) and will be attending the Lethbridge College!

Both Katshuhito and Toshihiko are students at the Towada City City, University – Kitasato University, Towada City CITY – JAPAN.

They will be studying for an extended period of time and will be hosted by home stay families (members of the Lethbridge Twinning Society).

The two young fellows follow in the steps of Risa who visited Lethbridge for an extended period of time in 2013 (Risa Canada 2013). The Lethbridge Twinning Society has been working along with the Towada City-Association for International Relations for several years and have now established a very practical, safe and reasonable relationship whereby we can facilitate the opportunities for individuals in both countries can participate in exchange programs that include structured and even accredited study opportunities! This being the result of coordinated efforts of our Director of Towada City City Relations, Diane and the Director of Lethbridge Relations in Towada City City, Japan, Dr. Teichi Arao!

In Lethbridge – we are able to assist in registration at the following three facilities:
  1. The University of Lethbridge
  2. Flexible Learning Systems
  3. Lethbridge College

The Lethbridge Twinning Society wishes to extend the opportunity of these study programs not only to our friends in Towada City City, but as well to all those interested in Japan, our twin cities Russia and even in Culver City, California.
  • The study sessions at Flexible Learning Systems not only focus on language but on cultural and practical learning as well.
  • The University of Lethbridge offers an extensive "International Students Centre" and will entertain application for admission for various designations in post-secondary education.
  • The Lethbridge College have wonderful "International Students" programs.

If there is any interest or information requests, please contact:
Ms. Diane Minamide, the Director for Towada City City Relations
Mr. Michael Bennett, the Director for Culver City Relations
Mr. Kyle Pereverseff, the Director for Timashevsk Relations
Ms. Carol Kensley, the Director of Public Relations

Hawaii – Plenary Session "3/11 Tsunami Debris: Japan-U.S. Collaborative Effort"
Sessions held at the Hawaii Convention Centre – March 02, 2013

Session Participants:
Panel Moderator: Dr. Jeffrey Hornung, Associate Professor, Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies
  1. Mr. Tsuyoshi Saito – Former Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary, Government of Japan
  2. Mr. Toyoei Shigeeda – Consul General of Japan at Honolulu, Hawaii
  3. Mr. Kazuhisa Ito – Cabinet Counselor, The Secretariate of the Headquarters for Ocean Policy, Cabinet Office
    Government of Japan
  1. Mr. Takashi Mori – Director of Marine Environment, Ministry of Environment, Government of Japan
    United States of America:
  1. Ms. Cary Morishige – Pacific Islands Regional Coordinator, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
  2. Mr. Jono Blodgett – Aquatic Invasive Species Research Supervisor, Hawaii State Department of Land and Natural Resouces
  3. Mr. Gary Gill – Deputy Director, Envirornmental Health Administration, Hawaii State Department of Health
  4. Commander Martin Smith – Marine Environmental Response Specialist, 14th District – U.S. Coast Guard
3/11 Tsunami Debris: Japan-U.S. Collaborative Effort Panel.
L-R –Mr. Saito – Former Deputy Chief, Cabinet Secretary Government of Japan & Mr. Shigeeda – Consul General of Japan at Honolulu.
L-R – Consul General Shigeeda – Consul General of Japan at Honolulu; Harold Pereverseff – President Lethbridge Twinning Society.
On ivitation, Harold Pereverseff participated in a panel discussion with respect to debris that is washing up on the shores of Pacific nations as a result of the "Great East Japan Earthquake", March 11, 2011.

The panel was held at the Hawaii Convention Center on March 02, 2011. The very well organized sessions were divided in two. The first being the Japanese perspective of issues surrounding the disaster debris and the second session being the United States perspective.

The extent of the debris and the seriousness/ precautions that are being exercised in dealing with the debris was overwhelming. The Japanese Government has pledged five million US Dollars to the United States Government to aid in the clean up of the tsunami debris. The debris has begun arriving on the shores of the Hawaiian Islands and on the coasts of North America. The excellent presentation of the Pacific Ocean current with satellite imagery and computer enhanced graphic imagery made it clear to understand why and how the debris is washing up on the shores of North America and the Hawaiian Islands.

Lethbridge, Alberta's "sister city" Towada City, City, Japan is approximately 15 Kiliometers away from Misawa, Japan and the coastline. It is from this coastline that a dock was broken away due to the earthquake and tsunami! This dock is an weighs an incredible 185 tons and is 65 feet long, 20 feet wide and 7.5 feet tall and most of the dock's volume is Styrofoam-type material encased in steel-reinforced concrete. The dock arrived at the coastline of the Olympic National Park in Washington, State. It reached shore in December, 2012! The dock, as pictured below, is being dealt with so that it does not contaminate the shore line and is removed quickly and safely. The cost of this removal is estimated at $628,000.00 US Dollars. This dock was one of four similar docks that were lost to the tsunami at the Misawa coast line.

L-R – Consul General Shigeeda – Consul General of Japan at Honolulu; Harold Pereverseff – President Lethbridge Twinning Society.
The concerted efforts to track, control and deal with the tsunami debris involves several worldwide departments and agencies. The pivotal efforts are under the jurisdiction of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – Ms. Carey Morishige was at the panel discussion and she explained the collaborative efforts in place, it was stressed that the tsunami debris is NOT radio-active as it was released from Japan prior to the Fukishima nuclear emergency.

Mr. Gary Gill the Deputy Director, Environmental Health Administration, Hawaii State Department of Health said that 40 years ago, he was walking the beaches of Hawaii and he found a Japanese fishing net "glass globe" ball that has washed ashore. He said at that time, items such as this were considered "treasures" and not debris…… he said he took his find home, polished it up and it rested for many years in their family recreation room as a prized ornament!

Commander Martin Smith of the 14th District US Coast Guard spoke to the panel of the readiness of the US Coast Guard to deal with impending tsunami debris, and he explained what efforts have been deployed to this point in time.

From Canada, I was aware of items of debris that have also washed up on our Canadian shores. The container that brought a motorcycle across the Pacific Ocean; a soccer ball that was eventually returned to the young man in Japan etc.

Consul General of Japan, Honolulu, Mr. Toyoei Shigeeda explained to the panel that he had recently arrived in Honolulu from his previous posting in Frankfurt, Germany! He arrived in July 2012. He said that he arrived at a time when the Tsunami debris was just beginning to arrive on the shores of North America and in the Hawaiian Islands. It is certain that the eventuality of debris washing up on Hawaiian shores will be a concern to him and his office in Honolulu as well as to the Japanese Government.

The sessions were very informative and to learn of the proactive measures in place to deal with the tsunami debris was an eye opener. It was also interesting to learn that contingencies are being formulated now, to deal with future events. Everyone is of the understanding that the March 11, 2011 earth quake/tsunami will not be the last and they must, unfortunately, be prepared for the next episode!

Further information on the panel sessions and information on the Japan Tsunami Marine Debris may be found at:

Welcome dinner for Risa Kumasaka at New Dynasty Restaurant
February 09, 2013

On February 09, 2013 some members of the Lethbridge Twinning Society gathered at the New Dynasty Restaurant to welcome Risa Kumasaka to Lethbridge for her English Cultural Experience. A wonderful "Chinese Food" dinner was enjoyed and we were pleased to hear Risa's introduction speech which she delivered to us in English! Risa said she really enjoyed the Chinese food and it was interesting to learn that she actually does not lke" Japanese Sushi" that much, but preferes some western type foods, like McDonald's hamburgers and french fries! (Wait until she tastes "Alberta Beef)!

L-R - Carol Kensley – Director of LTS Public Relations, Risa Kumasaka; Diane Minamide – Director of LTS Towada City City, Japan relations.
LTS Members assemble to welcome Risa to Lethbridge
Risa, Charlene and Joseph Palate (Joseph is our design expert and photographer for the LTS. Joseph is as well a "Charter Member" of the LTS.
Great food and fun appreciated by all!
Risa presents her introduction speech to LTS members
Welcome to Lethbridge Risa!

Welcome Risa Kumasaka
February 05, 2013

The members of the Lethbridge Twinning Society welcome Risa Kumasaka to Lethbridge as she begins her "English Cultural and Language" studies! You may follow Risa and her "Canadian experiences" on her Blog: Risa Canada 2013

Pilot Project to Begin – English as Second Language and Canadian Cultural Experience
February 04th to March 18th – 2013

The Lethbridge Twinning Society in conjunction with the Towada City-Association for International Relations is very pleased to introduce a "Pilot – Project" that we believe will become a mainstay and a model to other English as a Second Language seekers.

On February 04, 2013, Ms. Risa Kumarisa will be arriving in Lethbridge. She will be greeted by members of the Lethbridge Twinning Society (LTS)and will be provided homestay facilities that have been arranged by the LTS. She will be accepted at Flexible Learning Systems (FLS) where she will enter into a customized "English as a second language" (ESL) program. The Manager at FLS is a long time LTS member and has assisted in several ESL programs for us in the past. The outcomes have all been stellar.

We welcome Risa!

Makoto Sakurada "Thank you Alberta Tour 2012"
September 11, 2012

The Lethbridge Twinning Society is very honored and pleased to sponsor the Makoto Sakurada "Thank you Alberta Tour 2012"

In 2009 Makoto first visited Lethbridge and we were very impressed with his zeal and expertise in musical talents. At that time Makoto visited Airdrie, Calgary, Banff and Lethbridge with performances in each community. In Lethbridge, the performance was at the Yates Theater with excellent attendance who thoroughly Makoto! As we welcome Makoto back, it is with a different purpose and spirit that he is coming. He is coming with the endorsement of his community as their representative and in deed a representative of the Japanese Nationals to say, "Thank you!" Thank you for how we Albertans reached out in our relief efforts, donations and prayers to the people of the nation of Japan following the Great East Japan, Earthquake. Last year, following the tragic events of the March 11, 2011 earth quake and resultant tsunami, Makoto felt compelled to give what he had to his fellow Japanese. Makoto conducted the "Pray for Japan" tour where he performed gratis to his people in the effort of raising their spirits and hope. This was very successful and his song and CD sales for "Pray for Japan" assisted Makoto continuing his tour. The tour took Makoto and his performances throughout Japan even to the most southerly regions of Okinawa.

Makoto will arrive in Alberta on September 10th. He will being with his first performance in Jasper on September 11th visiting many communities in Alberta and eventually coming to Lethbridge on September 22nd. His command performance will be held at the College Drive Community Church – 2710 College Drive South beginning at 7:30PM on September 22nd. Please come and enjoy Makoto. Admission is $10.00 at the door or you may purchase advance tickets by calling 403-381-3575.

Visiting Japan
August 12, 2012

In August Adam Mason from the University of Lethbridge traveled to Japan to participate in some musical activities regarding steel drumming and Taiko drumming.

Pictured you see L-R Makoto, Adam, Tei-san (T-AIR Director for Lethbridge) and Yasuko all from Towada City City.

The group enjoyed visiting with Adam and are very pleased with Adams visit.

Makoto will be visiting Lethbridge and parts of Alberta in September.

Adam and Makoto plan on getting together again at that time.

Twinning means friendships being established and this is proof positive!

Drawings for the Towada City City Shotokukan Horse Museum
July 9, 2012

On July 9th a package containing over 40 drawings and paintings of horses were sent to the Towada City City Shotokukan Horse Museum.

Our Public Relations Director, Carol Kensley was very busy soliciting drawings and paintings from elementary students throughout Lethbridge.

Our Towada City City Director, Diane viewed the final product and with that the pictures have begun their journey to Towada City City. This is an excellent way of connecting with our twin city and is fun and relatively inexpensive.

We thank the Towada City City Shotokukan Horse Museum for their invitation to participate in this fun project.

Thank you to students from Mike Mountain Horse School and to Marilee Terry for her children's pictures as well.

Japanese Consul in Lethbridge for Nikka Yuko Garden Event
July 15, 2012

Please read the Lethbridge Herald article Japanese Consul in Lethbridge for Nikka Yuko Garden Event.

Consulate General of Japan to Harold Pereverseff
June 12, 2012

Please read the Consulate General of Japan letter to Harold Pereverseff about his Alberta/Japan Twinned Municipalities Association (A/JTMA) leadership.

Dear Mr. Pereverseff,

I would like to extend my deepest appreciation for your leadership throughout your time as President of the Alberta/Japan Twinned Municipalities Association. It has no doubt been a challenge over the years to build upon the goals of the A/JTMA; however, the predominant focus on grass-roots exchange has cultivated the organization into further maturity as a stable and expanding association motivated by the furtherance of "people to people" exchange.

Throughout the past 4 years under your direction the Alberta/Japan Twinned Municipalities Association has made some notable improvements and additions, including the formulation of the A/JTMA Constitution, increased membership and exchanges, the creation of the Association's own website, and the institution of the Youth Executive Visionary position. I would like to commend you on your efforts in the name of Japan-Canada relations, and express my hope that in the future you will continue to offer your knowledge and expertise in the pursuit of increased international awareness and friendship between our two countries.

As I explained in my conference organized by the Canadian International Council at Mount Royal University, Japan endured a great tragedy in March of 2011, in the aftermath of which Canada in particular showed its true colours of friendship and humanitarianism by offering abundant assistance to the people of Japan in their time of need. I would like to thank you and all those that made sacrifices in order to assist our country. Japan's path to recovery, to which we are indebted to your nation, is now focussed with greater energy and clarity in creating a vibrant nation.

In closing I would like to congratulate you once more on your years of service as President of the Alberta/Japan Twinned Municipalities Association and reiterate my hope that your presence in the A/JTMA and Japan-Canada relations in general remains as resilient and inspiring as ever.

Susumu Fukuda,
Consul General of Japan at Calgary

Please Welcome: Diane Minamide!
April 28, 2012

Welcome Diane, our new Director for Towada City City, Japan relations. Diane follows in the footsteps of Jennifer and is excited to begin working in the area of our Towada City City relations. Diane has an incredible background and understands "twinning relations" very well. Over twenty years ago she became involved with the Hokkai Gakuen (University in Sapporo, Japan) student and faculty exchanges. She has been involved as the activities coordinator for the student exchanges and worked with the faculty exchange professors. When she left the University of Lethbridge, she continued to be involved in the program as a volunteer, and continues today to maintain friendships that were developed. In 1993 Diane herself participated in a Japanese student exchange and has lived in Japan, Iwate prefecture for 4 years. Diane says that the exchange program has had a huge impact in her life.

Currently, Diane works at the University of Lethbridge, International Centre for students.
Please contact Diane at: minadk@uleth.ca

An Incredible Opportunity and a Wonderful Experience!
September 15 - 22, 2011

It all began last summer when Joan Janeczko of Hinton reached out and invited a young student from Japan for a home stay experience. We had the opportunity of meeting Joan and her family in Hinton during the A/JTMA Conference. At that time we had petitioned Tsuzura Kikuchi of Towada City city, Japan advising her of the opportunity. She responded and the rest is, well, "history". The unique and very positive opportunity was a first in A/JTMA – relations where different twin cities have interaction with one another.

Hinton of course is twinned with Wanochi Town while Lethbridge is twinned with Towada City City.

Relations such as these have an incredible impact on our over all relations, and open up wide gates of opportunity, especially for our youth. This year, Joan Janeczko's daughter, Ali is preparing for a home stay in Japan! We hope that she will be able to visit Towada City City, during her visit to Japan!

Our Executive Member, Erynne has been following up with these youth exchange opportunities and we certainly encourage these to continue.

Please read Tsuzura's attached report for her impression of Canada and her experiences.

Alberta Japan twinning relationships going stronger
August 19 - 20, 2011

Lethbridge's Harold Pereverseff was among those greeting Susumu Fukuda, Counsul General of fapan, at the annual conference of the Alberta/Japan Twinned Municipalities Association (A/JTMA) in Hinton.

Pereverseff, of the Lethbridge Twinning Society, will continue his role of president of the А/JTMA for another year.

Establishing Alberta/Japan twinning relations was the vision of former Alberta Premier Peter Lougheed in 1972 when there was formalization of the relationship between the Town of Jasper and Hakone-cho. Since then the number of twinned municipalities in Alberta has grown to 22. The Lethbridge Twinning Society has established relations withTowada City City.

The A/JTMA acts as as a conduit to encourage Alberta/Japan twin relations and also supports and enhances existing relations by sharing new ideas and innovative opportunities.

Counsul General Fukuda addressed the delegates and thanked them for their kind and compassionate assistance to fapan following the devastating earthquake and tsunami in March of this year, he also was encouraged by the diligence of the A/JTMA in supporting and encouraging strong twinning relationships.

The A/JTMA is working with municipalities in Alberta to assist in establishing new Japanese twin relations, and to help strengthen existing ones, informal relationships in municipalities can be supported by the A/JTMA and they are encouraged to join the organization.

Further information on the A/JTMA can be found on www.ajtma.com.

Alberta Japan twinning relationships going stronger - An article in Lethbridge Herald

Lethbridge Twinning Society donation to Towada City City
July 07, 2011

T-AIR President Shirayama presents Lethbridge Twinning Society donation to Towada City City Mayor Oyamada.

ARAO Teiichi - from Japan, June 13, 2011

Hello Harold!!

I received the donation from the Lethbridge Twinning Society for Towada City City on Monday, June 13.

Thank you very much!!

When your kind message was read at the general assembly of the Towada City Association for International Relationship (TAIR), Mr. Haruwo SHIRAYAMA, the president of the TAIR, told that your donation should be used effectively for evacuees who were from other areas and living in Towada City.

I'm sure that it would be used effectively to relief them. As I told you in an email sent just two days after the earthquake, Towada City was not damaged so heavily as other areas along the Pacific shore. And my city locates about 350km north of the crippled nuclear power plant in the Fukushima prefecture. The bad effect of the nuclear accident is rarely detected in Towada City. So most citizens already recovered their daily life.

Due to the damaged nulcear reactors, it takes very long time to achieve a true recovery. But people will stand up again, just as they stood up from the ruins after the second world war.

Thank you again for your kind donation!!

With the best regards,
ARAO Teiichi

Urgent! News from Japan

ARAO Teiichi about the current situation in Japan

Hello the directing members of the Lethbridge Twinning Society.

As you know from the world news coverages, the eastern-northern half part of Japan from the Tokyo area to the Hokkaido area was hit by the largest earthquake officially recorded in Japan. The energy released was magnitude 9.0, one of the strongest officially recorded of the world ever! The earthquake intensity was 7.0 at the strongest in the Japanese standard, which means that almost all buildings, even though built of concrete, would be destroyed instantly.

When the earthquake occurred, the graduation celebrating party of Kitasato University in Towada City had just begun and the speech of the Dean suddenly stopped. The light disappeared due to the power blackout. But all the students and professors are accustomed to earthquake, no one fell into a panic. They all evacuated from the party room to the outdoors led by the clerks in charge. The party was aborted and the dean told them to go back home and to the university to confirm the safety.

The water supply was maintained very fortunately.

Very large scale TSUNAMI again and again hit the shores facing the Pacific Ocean and the Japan Sea, which reminds you of the ones that occurred in Sumatra Island in 2004. Many people living in the area facing the Pacific Ocean seem to have got hit and taken away by the wave. TSUNAMI, which means "harbor wave," is not simply a wave. It is like a flooding sea that runs very fast, as fast as the Japanese bullet train.

Furthermore, nuclear power stations that locate along the Pacific Ocean shore in the Fukushima prefecture got hit by the strong earthquake and got their reactors destroyed. The news tells that melt down of their reactors occurred, radioactive materials spilled out and tens of people were contaminated by the radioactives.

Towada City locates 35 km west of Hachinohe city that was hit by the strong TSUNAMI and heavily damaged. And it also locates about 70m high from the sea level. So we have no fear of TSUNAMI. And the earthquake intensity in Towada City was only 5, which means that walls would be cracked or chimneys would fall down. But no chimney fell down in Towada City. Maybe you would be able to find cracks on some walls if you were careful enough.

The electricity supply was recovered at around 23:05 on March 12. The citizens are recovering their daily life now. No one died or missing in Towada City. very fortunately. But other cities and communities seem to have serious damages by the earthquake and the TSUNAMI, especially Hachinohe.

Now all the trains in the eastern-northern half of Japan stop. No one can predict the recovery. The track of the bullet train from Tokyo to Aomori is said to be seriously damaged. Many power poles on the track fell down and some concrete poles that support the track were destroyed. Short-time recovery is impossible. Maybe it takes a month or so.

Anyway, no one died and missing in Towada City. Towada City survived the earthquake and is heading to the recovery.

Sicnerely yours,
ARAO Teiichi

March 13, 2011


Lethbridge to Help Japanese Twin City

Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Posted at 5:23:09 PM
Source: Marion Warnica, Country 95 News

LETHBRIDGE: As Japan emerges from the ravages of last week's tsunami and earthquake, Lethbridge is organizing help for its people.

The local Twinning Society is organizing a fundraiser for its partner city of Towada City, Japan. Towada City is located about a half hour from the coast that received the brunt of the impact, but escaped the disaster without injuries, deaths, or major damage.

Society president Harold Pereverseff says the population is still facing major challenges though, with limited fuel, power, and access to food supplies.

He described his experience talking to a friend in Towada City Monday, saying though his family was fine, he seemed frightened.

"They're getting these tremors basically every hour," said Pereverseff. "And as I spoke with him, there was a tremor that happened right while we were speaking. On the Skype [video phone] I could see the curtains swaying. It lasted about 45 seconds."

A member of the Towada City Association for International Relations says he's pleased to hear that help is coming from partners in Lethbridge. Teiichi Arao spoke to Country 95 News on Tuesday from Japan. He had this message for his friends here.

"Towada City is alive. And the citizens are getting back to daily life. We're very fortunate," he said.

Arao added his group may move some of the funds to the homeless in evacuation camps - a total estimated at 450,000 people.

"They need blankets and food and fuel for the heat systems," he said, his voice sounding strained as he went on to explain it's winter season there, with temperatures dropping to an average -2 C each night.

The need for fuel is a concern in many areas at the moment. Towada City is particularly isolated as the nearest major centre, Hachinohe, was heavily devasted by the earthquake and after effects. That coastal community's shipping port has been closed, and major roads into Towada City have been washed out. That means food and fuel - supplies of any type - will be more scarce.

Former mayor enthusiastically supports cause

Former mayor Bob Tarleck was closely involved with Twinning Society and even visited the sister city in Japan. He says Lethbridge's history of giving to those in crisis is a favourable foundation for this initiative.

"The Japanese-Canadian community in Lethbridge has done so much this a better community," he said. "And I think this gives the people in Lethbridge once again to stretch their hand in generosity to a people who are in dire need."

He received a letter from a member of Towada City's Twinning Society, shortly before the earthquake and has stayed in close contact since. He says though the city has much to be thankful for, concerns are still there.

"Yoko emailed me last night saying they only have half a tank of gas in their car and they're worried about when they'll be able to get some more. So people are concerned about the break down of the whole supply network," he said. "It's going to be a huge adjustment. But the Japanese people have a lot of forbearance. I know that they will come through this."

Seiichi and Yasuko Murayama Visit to Canada

Seiichi and Yasuko Murayama visited Alberta on August 23, 2010. They flew into the Edmonton International Airport and were met by Harold and Cheryl. With opportunity at hand, a tour of the Legislative . Buildings and grounds was in order. It was a pleasure to visit the Japanese Garden that the Government dedicated in 2008 recognizing 80 years of Canada/Japan relations. After visiting the West Edmonton Mall, and some sight seeing In Edmonton, we moved on to Stony Plain for our night accommodation. In Stony Plain Seiichi and Yasuko were impressed with the beautiful murals that adorn the town. In particular the mural that is displayed on the Stony Plain, City Hall recognizing the twin relationship between Stony Plain and Shikaoi Town, Japan.

We traveled from Stony Plain to Hinton were we also stopped by to visit the town office, and had an opportunity of learning more of the Town of Hinton and their twin relationship with Wanouchi Town, Japan. (Hinton will host the 2011 – Alberta/Japan Twinned Municipalities Association Conference.)

We moved along to Jasper they were amazed with the pristine beauty and the majesty of the Canadian Rockies in their grandeur! We continued down the Ice Field Parkway making our way to the Columbia Ice Fields where the temptation to venture out onto the glacier ice was overwhelming………an unforgettable experience!

We arrived late in the evening in Banff , a long drive and we were ready for a good nights rest. In the morning the gondola ride, shopping more picture taking and a trail ride! We then headed for Lethbridge !

In Lethbridge , the Lethbridge Twinning Society members welcomed the Seiichi and Yasuko. A Progressive dinner followed, allowing the guests to visit personally with Society members getting to know one another better.

It all started off with a Salad at Bob’s, followed by appetisers at Greg and Marisa’s and then dinner hosted by Harold and Cheryl. Members arrived at the home after dinner and brought desserts to share and also a chance to visit with the guests. The guests were accommodated at the Lethbridge Lodge Hotel. In the morning, Bob hosted the guests for a tour of the Japanese Garden !

All too soon it was time to travel back to Calgary and to begin their journey back to Japan ! We really enjoyed their visit!

Beautiful mural at City Hall in Stony Plain Commemorative Monument in front of Hinton Town Office. The monument commemorates twinning relations between Hinton and Wanouchi Town, Japan "Cool experience" at the breath taking, Columbia Ice Fields
Towada City City Friendship Sign Seiichi and Yasuko at the Edmonton Legislature Buildings Banff!
Welcome to Lethbridge Cake! Good Friends Visiting with Society Members
Visiting with Society Members Members come to visit and so do the desserts! Kyle at work
Breakfast, and some very delicious apple pie (Thank you Johann!) A wonderful lunch at Jasper Lethbridge Twinning Society Monument

Welcome to Lethbridge – Asuto Arao!

L-R Alderman Rajko Dodic, His Worship, Mayor Bob Tarleck, Asuto Arao, Towada City City, Japan, Alderman Tom Wickersham – Visiting guest from Timashevsk, Russia, Julia Pavlova

On July 16, 2010 Asuto ARAO arrived in Lethbridge to begin a study session in English at “Flexible Learning Systems”. This was Asuto's second visit to Canada, the first time five years earlier with his his family. Asuto is now 18 years old and a student of Mechanical Engineering at Hachinohe National College of Technology just outside of Towada City City, Japan. Asuto was the guest of Harold and Cheryl and their family during his stay in Lethbridge. Many members of the Twinning Society made Asuto feel at home, and provided many activities and “adventures” for him! Bryan took Asuto on a visit to Edmonton. The drive was more than Asuto could imagine! Usually in Japan travel of any length is either done by Shinkansen (Bullet Train) or by air. To travel for 5 hours in a car is virtually unheard of in Japan!

Asuto was most impressed with our cuisine, he tried everything, there were some tastes he did not enjoy, and there were others that he loved! He could have passed on the “Russia Borscht”on the other hand, his favourite (of all things!) Cheryl's lasagne! Asuto received a very special invitation from the Consul General of Japan to visit the Consulate Office in Calgary. Asuto made the visit, and was treated to a wonderful lunch, not Japanese food, rather Italian! Vice Consul, Naoki Sasahara along with Jeremiah Davies were most gracious towards Asuto and left a very memorable impression on this young man.

The studies at the Flexible Learning System were perfect for the short time Asuto had to study. He was studying along with many people from various countries of the world who, like him, were trying their best to learn English and the Canadian Culture. Elma and her staff at Flexible Learning System sure do an excellent job, and we give them a huge thank you for accommodating Asuto.

Before Asuto left for home on August 20, 2010 he had the opportunity of watching a baseball game at Spitz Stadium, driving a go cart, golfing, bowling, camping, bar b ques, a wedding,eating pizza at the pizzeria, seeing movies, getting a Canadian haircut, touring the UofL, interacting with a delegation visiting from China, meeting a long lady visiting from our twin city, Timashevsk, Russia, learning the Lethbridge Transit System and bus routes, shopping, bike riding and roller blading! He even experienced a hail storm! The first time he ever seen hail!

We all agreed that Asuto's visit was too short! He is welcome back anytime!

Public Relations Director, Carol and Asuto.

Take me out to a Ball Game!

Very big TV!

Lasagne! Special Treat!

Here I am! Lethbridge!

True Canadian Experience – RCMP Musical Ride!

Twinning Society Monument!

Arriving at home stay!

Off to School.

Bryan and Asuto rowing down the Old Man River.

Asuto at Betty and Dick's for Bar B Que.

I'm from Russia (Julia Pavlova) & I'm from Japan (Asuto Arao)!

Host Family, Harold and Cheryl.

Asuto visit Japanese Consulate in Calgary!

Elma, Director from “Flexible Learning Systems” and Asuto.

Visting the Calgary Zoo.

Terri wishes Asuto best regards!

Henry presents a certificate of attendance to Asuto.

Good-bye Canada, all my bags were allowed on the plane!

Naoki Sasahara and Jeremiah Davies from the Japanese Consulate, Calgary treat Asuto to lunch.

This is certificate that Henry prepared and presented to Asuto.

Comment from Dr. Teiichi Arao (Father of Asuto):

18 year-old Asuto ARAO stayed in Lethbridge and enjoyed many experiences especially at the “Flexible Learning Systems” because his classmates had various cultural backgrounds. He was able to have valuable and rare experiences with them, it was impressive very much.

The ESL program was very well organized for him. He also enjoyed various Canadian experiences such as home BBQ, rowing down the Oldman River, visiting the West Edmonton Mall, camping at the foot of the Rocky Mountains with Bryan.

His opportunity of visiting the Japanese Consulate Office was unique and very special, he was treated very nicely by the Consulate staff. Asuto came home in Towada City City , Japan on the 21th of August safely.

Information Meeting, September 08, 2009

Please, download the Word file about Information Meeting in Calgary, Alberta.

On October 27, 2007 a group of 17 students and 3 chaparones arrived in Lethbridge from Towada City City, Japan. The Students were guests of teachers, parents and students from Wilson Middle School. As a continuation of student visitations from Towada City City, this delegation was represented the third visit.

This year the weather cooperated and we did not have snow or extreme cold weather. The students were excited to meet their host families and to participate in the activities. The chaparones were busy as well.

The Lethbridge Twinning Society were able to present gifts to each student, and this year we presented warm touques, as we expected the weather to be much colder. We were able to spend time with the students and chaparones and on Halloween evening we met the chaparones and took them out for the evening. We made a stop to "Red Dog Diner" where we enjoyed some fresh hot dogs before embarking on our journey to the "Haunted Mansion" in Stirling, Alberta. A town approximately one half hour away south from Lethbridge. After being scared to death in the "Haunted Mansion" we made our way back to Lethbridge where we had a pizza party dinner and exchanged gifts and became better acquainted.

The Lethbridge Twinning Society appreciates the student visits that have been taking place on a bi-annual basis. We hope to further support these visits in the future.

The Photo album of the visit

2008 visit to Japan of A/JTMA president

In November, 2008 A/JTMA President, Harold Pereverseff attended Twin City, Towada City City, Japan along with his son, Warren Pereverseff. They met His Worship, Mayor Bob Tarleck in Tokyo and along with Alberta/Japan official, Mr. Kenji Makise they traveled by shinkensan (bullet train) to Towada City City. The three day visit was exceptional, visiting with many city officials and seeing many of the cities amenities and sites.

Harold delivered the following speech to a representation of Towada City City Chamber of Commerce and City Officials.

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In October 2006, three members of the Lethbridge Twinning Society, Carol Kensley, Jennifer Spanbauer and Tom Crowell traveled to Japan to attend the Alberta – Japan Twin Municipalities Convention in Rikubetsu. They as well visited in Towada City City . They had a fantastic experience and arrived home with many marvelous stories and memories to share with us. Here are a few pictures of their visit:

Tom with his home stay family in Towada City City, Japan, the Arao’s. Tom, Jennifer and Mr. Kenji Makise, Commercial Officer for Agri.- Foods, Public Relation and Environment Service from the Alberta Government, Japan Office in Tokyo.
Tom, Jennifer with home stay family in Towada City City, Japan. Visiting the beautiful Oraise River Valley area near Towada City City, Japan.
One word, "Amazing" Rice fields in Towada City City.
Water Canal system to irrigate rice paddies in Towada City City. Country side of Towada City City, Hokaido Mountains in the background.
Carol, Jennifer and Tom with Mayor and representatives of Rikubetsu, Japan. Our delegates, Carol, Jennifer and Tom.

In August of 2004 we welcome the Mayor of Towada City, His Worship Haruo Nakanowatari, the President of TAIR will be part of a delegation of ten to visit Lethbridge. The Mayor is bringing with him a formal "Friendship agreement between the Towada City Association for International Relations and the Lethbridge Twinning Society. A special Gala Event Evening is planned for this presentation on August 18, 2004. The event will be held in the new, Rics Grill!

T-AIR President, Jun'ich Inamoto, his wife and Mr., and Mrs. Murayama. September 2005

In September, our Director for Towada City relations, Carol, will take a delegation of sixteen members of the Lethbridge Twinning Society on an exciting trip to Towada City, Japan! Arrangements are now being formalized, and any member who is interested in the trip should advise Carol now. We are receiving information on airline costs and travel information from Nippon Travel.

Last year, President Harold and Director Carol attended their first conference of the Alberta Twinned Municipalities held in Hinton, Alberta. It was at this conference that they met with and exchanged information with many representatives from cities and towns throughout Alberta. Each sharing one common thread, they all had excellent relations with their Japanese "Twin Cities"!

The 2004 conference is being held in Rocky Mountain House on June 18 & 19.


In Sepetember 2002, Lethbridge City Mayor, His Worship Robert (Bob) Tarleck, Director Carol and President Harold attended Towada City, Japan. This is a picture of a delegation dinner held in our honor.

His Worship, Mayor Tarleck, President of Lethbridge Twinning Society, Harold Pereverseff and Director for Towada City Relations, Carol Kensley are treated to the traditonal Japanese Tea Ceremony in Towada City City.


Bryan, Director of Public Relations participated in the Towada City, Japan "Fall Festival" in September 2003. He particispated in training for Taiko Drumming that whetted his appetite to pursue Taiko Drumming with a passion, and now here in Lethbridge he and many others have that opportunity!

20 students from Towada City City arrive in Lethbridge on October 27, 2005

Yukari Tsukamoto, Teacher's Consultant from Towada City City, is greeted by Mary Regier, Muskoka Language Institute and Carol Kensley, Lethbridge Twinning society to Lethbridge Oct. 27, 2005 at Wilson Middle School. Mr.Sumomozawa, English Teacher from Towada City City and Carol Kensley, Leth. Twinning Society.

Principal LLoyd Yamagishi of Wilson middle school in Lethbridge, welcomes Yukari Tsukumoto from Towada City City October 27, 2005. Director Carol Kensley and President Harold Pereverseff welcomed Superintendent of Education Towada City City Mr. Michihiro Inagaki and the student delegation to Lethbridge.

Mary Regier, of Muskoka Language Institute Toronto, coordinates the itinerary and is happy to have wonderful weather this year for the students. The students will be here Oct 27 - Oct 31, 2005. Major events will be total immersion into all classes, ESL instruction as well as a tour to Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump. Students are hosted in homestays and arrive at school with their new Canadian friend/homestay.

We wish to Thank Principal LLoyd Yamagishi and his staff for opening their middle school for the second year in a row. What a wonderful cultural exchange for all participants!!! (Submitted by, Carol Kensley)

President Harold receives a gift from Mr. Michihiro Inagaki, Superintendent of Education Towada City City on Oct.28 in Lethbridge, Alberta. Cheryl and Harold Pereverseff and Carol receive a painted horse plaque from Towada City Chaperones, Mr. Inagaki, Mrs. Yukari Tsukamoto and Mr. Sumomozawa October 28, 2005 in Lethbridge, Alberta.
Mrs. Yukari Tsukumoto, Teacher Consultant from Towada City School Board, pointing to the Towada City rocks on the Centennial Monument. She lead a delegation of 20 students and 3 chaperones to Lethbridge Oct. 27 - Nov1, 2005.

Friends welcome Friends

Oct. 28 at supper with Mr. Inagaki, superintendent of Education Towada City City, Mrs. Yukari Tsukamoto teachers'Consultant, and Mr. Sumomozawa English Teacher. also welcome Kiyo, Japan tour guide.

The group arrived on Oct. 27 at Wilson Middle School. Attended Canadian school, total immersion in middle school classes, as well as and ESL class in the afternoons. Saturday, the group visited Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump and Waterton Lakes National Park. Saturday eveing the school hosted a potluck supper by the homestay families for all the guests. The students experienced Halloween activities at school and with their homestay hosts. Attended full classes on Monday and departed Tuesday for Banff and Calgary, Alberta.

WOW! A Quick visit to Canada but many new memories and friendships created.