Ashcroft plays host to Japanese visitors

A delegation from Ashcroft's sister city, Bifuka, arrives in the area

The Village of Ashcroft welcomed a delegation from its sister city of Bifuka in Japan last weekend. The nine visitors, led by Bifuka Mayor Nobuo Yamaguchi, were treated to a full array of events during their visit.

Their arrival on Sunday, Aug. 4 was marked by a sold-out dinner at the Community Hall, with more than 100 people – including the Mayor and Council, and MLA Jackie Tegart – on hand to welcome the guests. On Monday the group toured the copper mine at Highland Valley and visited Desert Hills Ranch, with a spot of geocaching around Ashcroft in the evening.

Tuesday’s busy schedule included a walking tour of historic Ashcroft, a visit to the museum, a garden tour, and a flight over the area with Mayor Anderson. Late afternoon saw the group at Historic Hat Creek Ranch for a tour and dinner. They left on Wednesday morning, having enjoyed the fine weather and an even finer display of local hospitality.

The group had a wonderful three days in the area, said Village Administrator Michelle Allen. “They really enjoyed their time here, and found the people to be so friendly.” They were particularly impressed by the scope and scale of the mine at Highland Valley, and the fresh local cantaloupes at Desert Hills.

During their stay one of the party, Mr. Kazuhiko Nakagi, worked on the mural in the Japanese garden in the Heritage Park on Railway. Despite having a protective coating, the mural was showing signs of wear. Mr. Nakagi – one of the artists responsible for its creation nearly 15 ears ago – was here to perform some restoration work. Connoisseurs of the mural will notice a few changes and additions to its foliage and colouring. Brian Brouett of Ashcroft Irly was on hand to assist Mr. Nakagi.

This year marks the 19th anniversary of the twinning of Ashcroft with Bifuka. For next year’s 20th anniversary the Village is hoping to send a large delegation to Bifuka. Members of the community are encouraged to take part.

In addition to Mayor Yamaguchi and Mr. Nakagi, the Bifuka delegates were Kazunobu Saito from Bifuka Town Council; Kaoru Kohata, Vice-Principal of Bifuka High School; Kazuhiro Tamaoki from the Bifuka Town Office; and students Kakeru Uno, Tetsuya Minami, and Ayaka Anezaki. Mr. Yuzo Shimizu was kept busy providing translation.

Barbara Roden

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