Ashcroft residents Aki and Hiroko Kanamaru (left) and Councillor Helen Kormendy (right) receive a warm welcome from Japanese Consul General Seiji Okada and his wife Yasuko at Mr. Okada’s official residence in Vancouver. The event capped off the visit of a delegation from Ashcroft’s Japanese sister city

Consul General plans Ashcroft visit

Visit to the Japanese Consul General in Vancouver capped off visit from Ashcroft's sister city, Bifuka

After a very successful early August visit to Ashcroft, it was time for the visiting Japanese dignitaries from our sister city to head home to Bifuka with many pleasant memories to share. However, there was one more important stop for Mayor Yamaguchi and the other delegates to make, this time in Vancouver.

They were invited to dine with Japan’s Consul General, Seiji Okada, at his officialresidence on Aug. 7. Also attending the dinner were Ashcroft residents Aki and Hiroko Kanamaru, and Councillor Helen Kormendy, representing the Village of Ashcroft.

Upon their arrival, the guests were welcomed by staff and offered refreshments in the formal reception room, which is exquisitely decorated with artwork symbolic of Japanese culture. From there the group headed off to sign the formal guest book, using a special calligraphy brush.

This was followed by dinner, where the guests were met by a very welcoming Consul General and his wife. This is Mr. Okada’s first summer in Vancouver, and he mentioned his enjoyment of the city’s more temperate, and less humid, climate. Japan has had an Embassy in Canada since 1877, and there are currently 32 sister city relationships between Japanese cities and B.C. Municipalities.

The upcoming 20th anniversary sister city celebrations in Bifuka, taking place in 2014, were of great interest. The Consul General expressed his intention of visiting Ashcroft before that date.

The delegates were given a tour of the very splendid traditional Japanese garden on the Embassy site. The garden also contains tomatoes, cucumbers, and kidney beans, planted with Mr. Okada’s “green thumbs”, and they were thriving indeed.

It was an honour to have been invited to share a lovely formal evening, and to discuss the connection between Japan and B.C. It was clear that the sister city relationship between Bifuka and Ashcroft is highly regarded and valued by our sister city visitors, and by the Japanese Consul General.

Helen Kormendy

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