In 1959, Los Angeles Nagoya Sister City Affiliation was born as a part of President Dwight Eisenhower’s Citizens’ International Exchange Program. This year, the 60th anniversary of that sister-city relationship will be highlighted at a special “Nagoya Day: Explore Central Japan” event on Saturday, Oct. 26, at the Westfield Century City shopping mall, 10250 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles.
Teruko Weinberg, chair of the Los Angeles-Nagoya Sister City Association (LANSCA), recently answered questions about the organization and Nagoya Day.
Q: Please tell us about the history of LANSCA.
A: LANSCA’s main focus is conducting exchanges between the citizens of Los Angeles and Nagoya. Its activities cover a wide range of subjects, such as business, culture and education. Its beginning dates back to 1959 and a new program of “citizen-to-citizen diplomacy,” created to promote contact and understanding between the ordinary people of different countries. That program was the genesis of Los Angeles and Nagoya relationship, the first for both cities.
In 1959, the Nagoya area was hit by the Ise Bay Typhoon and suffered devastating losses. Responding to the news, people in Los Angeles came together and sent relief supplies to the people of Nagoya.
Q: What are some of the activities of LANSCA?
A: LANSCA has a student exchange program, which sends four Los Angeles high school students to Nagoya in the summer, and the next year Nagoya sends four high school students to Los Angeles, also during their summer break. We also have a program where Los Angeles sends an English-language teacher to a Nagoya high school.
LANSCA has more recently been devoting significant effort into raising the level of public awareness of Nagoya and Central Japan. We want many Americans to know about Nagoya and Central Japan so that during next year’s Tokyo Olympics they will not pass by Nagoya on the way from Tokyo to Kyoto but instead will stop and visit Nagoya and the surrounding area.
To this end, we held the first Nagoya Day public event in Los Angeles in 2014 and are holding the second Nagoya Day at Westfield Century City this year to mark the 60th year of the sister cities.
Q: What are some of the activities planned for Nagoya Day?
A: It is a free event open to the public from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. There is a stage area that will feature a samurai show, Japanese dance, calligraphy demonstration, and other presentations. There is an exhibition area where businesses from Nagoya will set up booths, and there is a culture area where people can sample freshly made Japanese tea and do tie-dyeing, origami, Japanese writing, and kimono dress-up.
Our intent is that people who come to shop at the mall will be intrigued by these unexpected goings-on, stop by, and learn for themselves about Nagoya and Central Japan.
Oct. 26 will be a festival to celebrate the 60 years that have passed since Los Angeles and Nagoya joined together as sister cities. I would like to have as many people as possible take part in the celebration of this event. I am looking forward to seeing you at Century City on that day.