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Lethbridge Twinning Society

Towada City Relations, 2002

NEWS FLASH ...........
The Towada City Association for International Relations, (TAIR) invited three members of the Lethbridge Twinning Society to visit to Towada City City, Japan from September 13 to September 18 for a "Friendship Exchange". This gracious invitation was accepted by Mayor Bob Tarleck, Carol Kensley ( Society Director for Towada City City, Japan Relations) and Harold Pereverseff ( President Lethbridge Twinning Society).

Where to start..... the entire visit was so perfect! From the moment that we arrived in Towada City City, we were so impressed with the members of the Towada City Association for International Relations. It was wonderful again see our friends Dr. Kawamura and Yasuko Murayama. We were treated absolutely Royally. They just could not do enough for us.... the host families who billeted were so excellent.So did we just go and get pampered? No, we went and obtained a great sense of the culture and character of Towada City City, Japan. Like I have said many times, "unfortunately, words can not adequately describe nor can pictures adequately depict what we did see and learn about Towada City City." What can best be said is that for me, it was seeing and experiencing this wonderful city with the "eyes of my heart"!
Harold Pereverseff
(President Lethbridge Twinning Society)
Mr.Yoshikazu Takeuchi
(Japanese Consul - Edmonton)
Towada City City is located at the foot of the Hakkoda Mountains in the centre of the eastern Aomori Perfecture. (This is the northern part of the main Island of Japan, Honshu) The Nitobe family has played an important role in the development of Towada City City and indeed, of Japan. At the end of the "EDO" period, Tsuto Nitobe, surveyed the area and realized that water was needed in order for the area to achieve the agriculture success that it enjoys today. In 1855 he began construction of the Inaoi River Canal. This canal and irrigation still feed the Towada City City region to this day. This we found was an interesting similarity to our own community here in Southern Alberta like wise dependent on our canals for the needed water for irrigation. The grandson of Tsuto Nitobe, Dr. Inazo Nitobe became the Assistant Director General of the League of Nations, and today his picture graces the 5,000 Yen note of Japan. ( This has given Towada City City the nick-name, "The City of the 5,000 Yen Bill") Dr. Inazo Nitobe is the author of the famous book, "Bushido - The Soul of Japan". It was Dr. Nitobe who had the vision of a "Bridge across the Pacific".

We were interested to learn of the significant relations between horses and the region of Towada City. The Horse Museum was very informative, modern and unique. We discovered that it was in the Towada City area that raised and trained horses during the Samuri times and these horse training skills continue today. The horse is honored in many respects, statues of horses grace the City of Towada City, and in fact the main street of Towada City City is named, "Horse Street".

The population of Towada City is approximately 67,000. Towada City city has many individual homes, and few apartment buildings. The homes and streets were seen as being meticulous. The University of Towada City, Kitasato University specializes in studies of veterinary medicine and animal sciences. There is the Aomori Perfectual Agricultural Experiment Station which again was similar to the Lethbridge Research Station.

We visited a cooperative vegetable market where local vegetable growers brought fresh vegetables for processing. Towada City has a diverse crop base, rice, leeks, garlic Chinese yams, and cherries, apples and other hard fruits all grow in abundance.

We toured a "state of the art" recycling plant where disposed items were either recycled or the unable items were incinerated......the incineration process not only reduced the waste to 10% of the original, the burning thermal was captured and the thermal energy was used to heat water! The burned garbage ashes were then used to fertilize the soils of the agricultural farms.

We participated in the autumn Aki Matsuri Festival, and were privileged to help carry the "Taru Mikoshi" a portable shrine dedicated to Japan's famous sake.

We enjoyed a lovely lunch at the brewery where a tasty Japanese beer is brewed.

A Soya Sauce factory, touted to be the largest in Japan is in Towada City, City. Our tour showed to us how many stages were involved in the production. The modern factory, complete with robotics produced cases of the flavorful Soya Sauce.

A large Tofu factory is located on the edge of Towada City City, we did not tour the factory, however we were told that the tofu from this factory is of excellent quality and in demand throughout Japan.

The elementary and high schools we visited appeared much different than what we would expect in Lethbridge, children wearing uniforms and what evidence we saw, the children were very disciplined and respectful in all regards. We found it interesting that the students were served hot meals consisting of soup, sandwich, milk and a dessert, everyone in the school including the teachers received the exact same meal.

The social activities and "fun" that we took part in was just terrific. We laughed and had many interesting experiences. We were invited to a forum that we had believed would be a rather casual event, however when we arrived at the University lecture theater, there were over 200 in attendance, there were two official translators, and everyone wore the wireless ear phones so that they were able to get the translations in their respective language! In attendance was the key note speaker, Mrs. Jean Maeda, from the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo, Japan. She spoke on the importance and significance of twinning relations. Mayor Bob Tarleck as well gave a very informative speech that fell within the lines of international relations and our visit to Towada City City, Mayor Tarleck keyed on the similarities between our two cities, Lethbridge and Towada City. He highlighted that like Towada City, Lethbridge is experiencing similar challenges, for example the "hollowing out" of the down town core to the malls. I also had an opportunity to speak, and I explained our twinning relations and the cultural and social benefits of such relations. After the forum, there was a reception held at which time, Carol Kensley made a presentation to Ms. Yasuko Murayama, an art piece of a Native in ceremonial head dress. At this reception, we presented the Mayor of Towada City, Dr. Kawamua and the President of the Towada City Association for International Relations with an official agreement acknowledging the Twinning Relations between the Lethbridge Twinning Society and the Towada City Association for International Relations. It was a wonderful moment.

We came home with a very deep appreciation for the people of Towada City City. Our understanding and overall knowledge of Towada City City and the residents was so much enriched even in this short visit.

Carol and I as representatives of our Society truly encourage you to take the opportunity for yourself to go and visit Towada City City! We have been invited to send a delegation in September of 2003! The delegation will consist of sixteen. If you are interested, please contact Carol for details, we believe the visit will be around the second week of September and will be an opportunity to enjoy the Aki Matsuri Festival! The Visit will also provide a visit of Tokyo and perhaps other regions of Japan! Please decide early to join with us in this delegation, we will offer availability on a first come first served basis!

Our Society Director to Towada City City, Japan, Carol Kensley will welcome your questions and will be happy to provide you with details on the proposed visitation to Towada City City, Japan in 2003. You may contact Carol via e-mail at: Towada City37@hotmail.com or by telephone: 329-1469