By J.K. YAMAMOTO, Rafu Staff Writer
The City of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles-Nagoya Sister City Affiliation (LANSCA) hosted a welcome dinner for the 12-member Nagoya delegation, including Mayor Takashi Kawamura, on Aug. 9 at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel.
The delegation was in town to take part in Nisei Week festivities on Aug. 10 and 11, including the Grand Parade.
Peter Langenberg served as emcee. LANSCA Chairperson Teruko Weinberg gave opening remarks, saying that LANSCA plans to celebrate its 55th anniversary next year “in high style.” (Events are planned in Los Angeles in August and Nagoya in October.) Ken Furuya led the toast.
Former Chairperson Ernest Hida, who was in Nagoya at the time, was thanked for his five years of service, and three recently deceased LANSCA supporters — Frances Hashimoto, Steve Okayama (past chairman) and Lillian Kawasaki — were remembered.
Nagoya City Assembly Vice Chairperson Noriko Baba said that Los Angeles was the first of five cities to establish a sister-city program with Nagoya — the others are Mexico City, Nanjing, Sydney and Turin — and that she looks forward to a “successful and lasting relationship.” She also said she was delighted to talk with local community representatives, including a dance instructor and a minister, at her table.
Mayor Kawamura spent almost as much time singing as speaking, starting with a bit of Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love” (substituting “L.A.” instead of “you”) and ending with Nagoya’s official song, with other members of the delegation joining him.
On a more serious note, Kawamura noted that the people of L.A. “gave very big support” to Nagoya in 1959 after the city was hit by a typhoon that killed more than 5,000 people. He also thanked Los Angeles for raising funds for victims of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan. Nagoya representatives gave the donations to Rikuzentakata in Iwate Prefecture.
“By accepting delegations from Nagoya, participating in Nagoya Festival, and supporting the high school student exchange program, LANSCA has gifted us with their dedicated and tireless efforts,” said Kawamura, asking the organization for its continued support and cooperation.
Gifts were exchanged, including a Los Angeles/Nagoya artwork presented by Mike Saijo and Setsuko Hayashi.
The other special guests were Nagoya City Assemblymembers Koju Banno, Masaru Kinoshita, Masaya Hattori and Taiko Hotta; Minoru Okuyama, co-director of the City Assembly Secretariat; Hitoshi Isomura, deputy director-general, Office of the Mayor; Setsuko Kondo, director of the International Relations Division; Jun Suzuki, chief of the International Relations Division; Yutaro Uchida of the International Relations Division; and Akira Ebisu, director of the Nagoya Port Authority’s Construction Department.
Kawamura rode in the Grand Parade with Mayor Eric Garcetti, while the rest of the delegation rode in a trolley with other dignitaries.
LANSCA has sent four high school students and a chaperone to Nagoya and will welcome them back with a dinner at Taix on Friday, Sept. 15. Meanwhile, Kevin Spachuk has gone to Nagoya under the Teacher Exchange Program, joining Joyce Wang, and Dan Le is returning after a two-year stint.
In October, a LANSCA delegation will take part in the Nagoya Festival, which includes a parade featuring karakuri ningyo (dancing puppet) floats.
For more information, visit www.lansca.org.
Photos by J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo