Sometimes a movie starts off in black and white and suddenly the screen turns into full color and we see it with new eyes. That is what arriving in Mishima after visiting other areas of Japan was like.
We were greeted on our arrival in City Hall and introduced to all the officials that made our presence their priority. All the formality that we are told in America that exists in Japan is true. We met Mayor Toyooka and were shown City Hall. There were roses and commemorative plaques exchanged between the two city’s officials.

I met a gentleman, Kos, who greeted us in American English, complete with slang. That got my attention, not something I had heard in Japan. He had a handful of printed papers and I realized that it was the pages of my website. He was going to be translating for me and he had done his homework. Our presentation was to be in a formal setting on our first night in Mishima. It began with school girls playing music for us.

Ms Sumiko Yamamoto dressed elegantly in a Japanese kimono for the special event.

My art had arrived by carrier to the presentation and I asked to open it myself (I figured if something had gone wrong in shipping I would see it right away and if there was something wrong only I would know what to do to fix it) I opened the well sealed box and everything was perfect!

I am not comfortable speaking publicly, but I was so fortunate that Kos was translating each sentence I spoke which gave me room to breathe and look around the room and enjoy the moment. I had asked Rhoda Stone to take a photo with my phone but she captured the entire presentation on video and I will be forever grateful.
The moments stretched out and shrunk in time as those very special moments in our lives always will. I will forever remember every moment vividly as if the colors and sounds are more intense than all others.

I had made gifts for both Mayor Tornek and Mayor Toyooka to commemorate the event. Each had a rose and a copy of the poem as on the original piece, as well as the kanji “Sisters”.

I had made framed steel hearts that had been hand felted, each one uniquely different. Each of the delegation members from Pasadena had carried with them a wrapped heart that they personally presented to a delegation member from Mishima.

We have arrived for the annual flower festival and we attend a tree planting and each of us are asked to plant flowers around the tree that the Mayors have jointly planted. Each event was attended by the endearing little mascots of Mishima, who delighted the crowds, old and young.

We visited the Mishima Skywalk, the longest suspension bridge in Japan (400 meters) which was built to showcase the phenomenal view of Mt Fugi. Unfortunately the weather never cooperated for us to experience the view of the mountain, although just being on a suspended bridge at that height was remarkable.

We attended a Disney parade which we watched from the second floor of the City Hall building. The Japanese people were crowded onto the sidewalks but everyone was so kind and full of cheer. The enthusiasm was contagious.

Our last night concluded with a dinner in which both delegations got together to celebrate one last time.
After the dinner I was asked to come forward and to my surprise and delight I was presented with a commemorative woven tapestry from the City of Pasadena. These weaving’s are rarely presented and I will treasure mine forever. Thank you.

Our delightful visit to Mishima has drawn to a close but I leave with new friendships and memories to last a lifetime.

2017-06-19T06:09:14+00:00 June 19th, 2017|