Spring 2013
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welcome to-Hekinan cond copyMayor Earling led a 27-member delegation from Edmonds to our Sister City, Hekinan, Japan, during the week of April 18, the largest delegation ever to make the trip. The highlight of the visit was the 25th Anniversary celebration of our Sister City connection. One of the lasting impacts of the visit was when Mayor Earling and Mayor Negita planted a tree in front of Hekinan City Hall in honor of our 25 years of friendship. Another was the time spent visiting in Mayor Negita's office with a photo of Mayor Earling behind the Hekinan Mayor's desk—a real interchange!

Photos of the week showed Marni Muir of the Edmonds Art Commission, who met with the Hekinan Cultural Association to exchange gifts of art from our two cities and to forge stronger relationships for our artists. Chamber of Commerce President, Ron Clyborne, met with his counterparts and found many points in common between them, and Commissioners met with Board of Education officials as we plan for student delegation exchanges in 2014 and to send a new Assistant English Teacher from Edmonds in August of this year. Graham Humphrey from the Edmonds Floretum Garden Club met three garden/flower-related groups in Hekinan to discuss sharing information about gardening in our two cities and creating exchanges.

Mayor Earling spoke at the General Assembly for the 65th Anniversary of the founding of Hekinan and the 25th Anniversary of our Sister City relationship. After a tour of the Toyota plant, he joined Mayor Negita for a private dinner at a superb Japanese restaurant. Mayor Earling eagerly looks forward to hosting the Hekinan delegation coming to Edmonds in October.

The group was delighted with their visit to Kyoto to see shrines and temples, including the Temple of the Golden Pavilion, as well as cherry blossoms and to do some local shopping. Many of them also went to Ise, the most sacred place in Japan, since the creation myths of the country take place there. They visited the Grand Shrine of Ise and went to watch the traditional women pearl divers at work nearby. Tea ceremony with traditional green tea and sweets, as well as lunches and dinners in traditional Japanese restaurants delighted everyone.

You can see the many photos of the week on the Sister City Facebook Page (you do not need to join Facebook to see the pictures and read about the trip).

Edmonds will happily return the hospitality in October when Hekinan Mayor Negita leads his own delegation here. We hope many of you in our Edmonds and surrounding communities will join in the Halloween festivities and other events with our Japanese Sister City friends.

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