To the Editor,
I was pleased and appreciative of the two articles regarding our town’s relationship with Bifuka, Japan in the lasttwo publications. I believe this is a terrific partnership and one that has enhanced Ashcroft’s profile over the years, both locally and internationally.
The Aug. 7 article highlighted the visit of Bifuka dignitaries along with the various festivities facilitated by the citizens of Ashcroft. The Aug. 14 article, submitted by Helen Kormendy, highlighted a visit to the Japanese Consulate in Vancouver thlxat included herself, along with Aki and Hiroko Kanamaru.
This second article, recognizing the Kanamarus, was a nice addition to the entire Bifuka partnership. I believe that Aki and his family were the originators of the twinning, along with the mayor and council of the day. It was Aki who brought home stays into our communities, and organized home stays for our students in Bifuka. He and the mayor of the time, Andy Kormendy, organized joint visitations in both communities. This included the twin murals, one in each town, with Jo Petty, Rotden Josehson, and four Ashcroft Secondary School students representing Ashcroft and painting a mural in Japan. Mr. Nakagi reciprocated with the painting of the Bifuka mural in Ashcroft.
One of the highlights of the partnership occurred in 1998, when Ashcroft was invited to attend Bifuka’s 100th anniversary. A contingent of ten citizens, led by Aki, travelled to Bifuka and was honoured over a five day visit. Aki provided the translation, and we all enjoyed various interactions. This trip will be a highlight of my life, and I thank Aki and the council for their vision in making this occur.
In summary, I was pleased to see the two excellent articles regarding our twinning with Bifuka. As a small municipality we are fortunate to have this international experience. I hope that future articles will also provide some history as to how this twinning has evolved.
I know I am grateful to the mayor and council of the day, along with Aki and his family, for enriching my life and the lives of many others within our community. I congratulate our present mayor and council for continuing with this tradition.