Letters

Letters 07-21-2014

Disheartened

While observing Fox News, it was disheartening to see what their viewers were subjected to. It seems the Republicans’ far right wing extremists are conveying their idealistic visions against various nationalities, social diversities or political beliefs with an absence of emotion concerning women’s health issues, children’s rights, voter suppression, Seniors, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid...

Things That Matter

All of us in small towns and large not only have the right to speak on behalf of our neighbors and ourselves, we have the duty and responsibility to do so -- and 238 years ago, we made a clear Declaration to do just that...

An Anecdote Driven Mind

So, is Thomas Kachadurian now the Northern Express’ official resident ranter? His recent factfree, hard-hearted column suggests it. While others complain about the poor condition of Michigan’s roads and highways, he rants against those we employ to fix them...

No On Prop 1

Are we being conned? Are those urging us to say “yes” to supposedly ”revenue neutral” ballot proposal 1 on August 5 telling us all the pertinent facts? Proposal 1 would eliminate the personal property tax businesses pay to local governments, replacing its revenue with a share of Michigan’s 6 percent use tax paid by us all on out-of-state purchases, hotel accommodations, some equipment rentals, and telecommunications...

Fix VA Tragedy

The problems within the Veterans Administration identified under former President Bush continue to hinder the delivery of quality health care to the influx of physically wounded and emotionally damaged young men and women...

Women Take Note

I find an interesting link between the Supreme Court Hobby Lobby and the crisis on the southern border. Angry protesters shout at children to go home. These children are scared, tired, hungry and thirsty, sent to US prisons awaiting deportation to a country where they may very likely be killed...


Home · Articles · News · Random Thoughts · Meet your sister...
. . . .

Meet your sister...

Robert Downes - August 25th, 2008
The next time you enjoy a refreshing glass of green tea in downtown Traverse City, be sure to think of your sister. Your Japanese Sister City, that is. It turns out that the green tea crop is as important to Koka, Japan as cherries are to Traverse City.
That‘s one of the things members of the city commission learned last week when they welcomed a delegation of three Japanese visitors who represent our “home away from home“ across the Pacific.
Yoshinobu Lino, Misato Yamagiwa and Yoichi Shirai spent five days here, touring the region as part of a goodwill mission that was established 38 years ago.
Back in 1970, TC became the Sister City of Tsuchiyama, a town outside the Kyoto/Osaka area in south central Japan. In 2003, Tsuchiyama joined with four other towns to make up the city of Koka. Hence the update.
Formerly, Koka had a population of less than 10,000. Like Traverse City, it too is located on a large lake -- in fact, Lake Biwa is the biggest lake in Japan.
Koka is the birthplace of the legendary Ninja warriors -- those black-claid commandos who strike without warning in the night. The area also serves as the setting for the oldest romance novel in the world: “The Tale of Genji,“ which was written 1,000 years ago. It‘s said to be quite a pleasant place, although quite hot and steamy this time of year, being on the same latitude as Atlanta, Ga.
And please note: Shiga Prefecture, the area surrounding Koka, is the Sister State of Michigan, as is Sichuan Province in China. This is the 40th anniversary of our Japanese relationship, which was put into play by Gov. George Romney back in 1968.
A labor of love keeps our cities connected: several members of the Traverse City Cultural Exchange are hosting the visitors and seeing that they have a good time: Pam and Mike Bailey, Deb Bowman and Don Kuehlhorn and Richard and Susan Cover are citizens who have reached out and opened their homes.
The Baileys have been to Japan five times since hosting a student from Tsuchiyama 14 years ago. They‘ve hosted a visitor from the town every other year since then.
Pam says that when funding to help the visitors dried up at Northwestern Michigan College a few years a back, local citizens got involved, including Vicki and Ralph Hay, Kimi and Cliff Durga, and the Oleson Foundation, to continue the friendship across the sea.
Last year, more than 50 Japanese visitors traveled to Michigan to see their Sisters across the state. The Japanese are apparently big on the Sister Cities program, since they have at least 20 here in Michigan. Some of those connections lead to trade arrangements.
And what an important thing, considering that World War II is still within the memory of many citizens living in both countries. More smiles and understanding -- that‘s what the world needs. More sisters in foreign lands.
Speaking of which, here‘s a run-down on a few Sister Cities across Northern Michigan. Check out your distant relation -- view it on Google Earth, and consider a visit. The folks over yonder will surely be glad to see you.

• Gaylord: Pontresina, Switzerland.
• Mount Pleasant: Okaya, Japan and Valdivia, Chile.
• Petoskey: Takashima, Japan.
• Sault Ste Marie: Ryuo, Japan.
• Suttons Bay: Acteal, Mexico.
 
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