Long Beach-Yokkaichi Sister City Association

50th Anniversary

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L.B. Delegates Celebrate 50th in Yokkaichi, Japan

The 50th Anniversary celebration events kicked off in Yokkaichi, Japan on October 17.  Seven delegates from the Long Beach-Yokkaichi Sister City Association (LBYSCA), Jeanette Schelin (Board President), Yoko Pusavat (Board Vice President), Victor Fukuhara (Board Treasurer); and Board members, Elisa Turien, Nico Turien, Aki Vaughn and Mike Vaughn, left LAX on October 14. Although they were delayed in Tokyo due to a typhoon and arrived 30 hours late, the delegates immediately started their scheduled events seamlessly and on time thanks to the city’s well-organized and efficient team of young staff.

First on the itinerary was a meeting with Mayor Toshiyuki Tanaka at City Hall.  As they entered the City Hall building, the delegates were overwhelmed when they were greeted by many children waving Japanese and American flags. Jeanette Schelin and Mike Vaughn, the official representative of Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster, were presented floral bouquets and posed for press photographers.

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Mayor Tanaka and Yokkaichi City Council Vice Speaker Kaneyuki Takeno, warmly received the delegates in a beautiful room overlooking the city.  Unfortunately, Speaker Kazuma Doi, was not present due to the death of his father, and our condolences are extended to Mr. Doi and his family.

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Yokkaichi Mayor Tanaka with Long Beach delegates: Jeanette Schelin,
Mike Vaughn, Nico Turien, Victor Fukuhara, Elisa Turien, Yoko Pusavat,
Will Cullen, and Aki Vaughn.

The 10-day trip included a Welcome banquet, tour of the Port building, and visits to the Long Beach Park and the Yokkaichi City Hospital. Also on the itinerary were cultural visits to observe a tea ceremony at the Tea House Shisui-An; making pottery (Bankoware, is Yokkaichi’s renown pottery) at Banko no Sato Kaikan; visiting a tea plantation in Suizawa and tasting tea at the Green Tea Cafe; observing a performance dance, “Suwa Odori”, at the Ashimida Shrine; visiting the open farmer’s market at Jizen Bashi Market; and a one-day trip to the Ise Museum and and inner and outer shrines of Ise Shrine, and Mikimoto Pearl Island in Toba City.

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Visiting Yokkaichi City Hospital.

2013-10-17c - Long Beach Park (9)Visiting Long Beach Park, Yokkaichi

At the 50th Anniversary Ceremony, Jeanette Schelin presented a replica of the Queen Mary to Mayor Tanaka and Mike Vaughn received the Yokkaichi Honorary Citizen Award.  The all women’s choir, “Kyo” entertained with a Japanese song and “Amazing Grace” in English. Entertainment at the 50th Anniverary banquet included an exquisite classical dance by Yoshiko Asanuma and an exciting and rousing performance by Suwa Daiko.

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50th Anniversary Celebration

The tour of the Toshiba Factory was very impressive as were visits to various schools. At Akatsuki Middle/High School, the delegates met Principal Kazanari Muto, a 1989 Yokkaichi Trio Teacher and YEF Matt Jones. Each delegate gave a Powerpoint presentation to the students about the diversity of the U.S., California and Long Beach.  At Minato High School they observed one of our seven YEFs currently assistant teaching in Yokkaichi, Bryan Duran. A delightful time was spent at Yokkaichi High School where each delegate was given a small group of students to interact in English only.

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With Yokkaichi High School students

A symposium at the Yokkaichi Civic Center on “Community and Neighborhood” sponsored by the Neighborhood Community Association in Yokkaichi was very interesting  and informative.  On the panel was Long Beach Neighborhood Resource Center representative, Will Cullen.  It was good to see the dedication of the Yokkaichi citizens who volunteer services to assist the aged population.

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At a meeting with Yokkaichi Neighborhood Association

One of the highlights was attending the 2nd Annual Family Music Contest at the Yokkaichi Culture Hall.  Fifteen talented musical families from all over Japan competed for cash prizes.  There were many deserving families and the panel of judges were faced with a difficult decision, but in the end awarded first place to the Watsushi family of four classical musicians.

The 10 days in Yokkaichi was a trip of a lifetime and the Long Beach delegates reluctantly returned home on October 23rd. The food, the beautiful city and most of all, the graciousness and hospitality of the wonderful people of Yokkaichi will never be forgotten.

Arigatou gozaimasu, Yokkaichi City!


Yokkaichi Delegates Celebrate 50th in Long Beach

Thirteen delegates from Yokkaichi, Japan, arrived in Long Beach on November 5th for 4 days of meetings and tours of our fair city.

Toshiyuki Tanaka
Kazuma Doi
Kikuo Inoue
Hidenori Maeda
Dr. Masayuki Miyauchi
Kiyomi Yoshihara
Harumi Kobayashi
Yasumasa Ono
Osamu Hirano
Yoshisuke Kobayashi
Toru Mizutani
Sumitaka & Mrs. Mori

Mayor of Yokkaichi
City Council Chairman/Speaker
City Council Secretary General
Director, Community & Culture Dept
Yokkaichi City Hospital, Deputy Admin. & Deputy Dir
Yokkaichi City Hospital Deputy Dir & Nursing Director
Manager, Cultural & Int’l Div.
Staff, Cultural & Int’l Div.
Executive Dir. Japan Trans City Co. Ltd.
Chair, Yokkaichi Cultural Assn
Leader, Yokkaichi Symphony Orchestra
President, Morikin Ceramic Co. Ltd.

After the delegation’s arrival at LAX, they boarded a bus and toured a few city sites that included vista views of Long Beach from Signal Hill Park.  Led by Yokkaichi Mayor Toshiyuki Tanaka and City Council Chairman Kazuma Doi, the delegation then met with Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster at City Hall to sign a proclamation to continue the Long Beach and Yokkaichi sister cities relationship for the next 50 years.  After meeting with Mayor Foster and the Long Beach City Council, the delegates attended a lovely welcome banquet at Rancho Los Alamitos hosted by Pam Seager of the Rancho and the Long Beach Board members.

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Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster, Yokkaichi Mayor Toshiyuki Tanaka, and Yokkaichi Speaker Kazuma Doi sign Proclamation to continue 50-Year Relationship.

Day 2 was a visit to Tincher Preparatory School where the delegates received a warm welcome from the kindergartners waving Japanese flags.  Principal Dr. Kelly An led a tour of several classrooms which included students discussing their interpretations of a story they had read; a 1st grade computer math class; and a creative class where students were learning about the history of the Hammurabi Code by acting out scenes.

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Yokkaichi delegates observing students at Tincher Preparatory School.

Next on the agenda was a tour via electric carts of the California State University campus and the state-of-the-art CSULB Recreation and Wellness Center.  After a lunch at the Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden and a presentation by the CSULB Center for International Studies, the delegates visited the Long Beach Art Museum.

On Day 3 eleven delegates met with Bob McLaughlin of the Long Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau and later with Kraig Kojian, Director of the L.B. Downtown Business Association, while two delegates from Yokkaichi City Hospital, Deputy Administrator Dr. Masayuki Miyauchi and Nursing Director Kiyomi Yoshihara, toured the ER at the Long Beach Memorial Medical Center thanks to Dr. Gary Moreau.

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Yokkaichi delegates touring downtown Long Beach.

Margaret Madden of the Neighborhood Resource Center led the delegation on a bus tour of community businesses that culminated at the Mark Twain Branch Library where Head Librarian, Susan Taylor, hosted a tour; and Neighborhood Resource Center volunteers and LBYSCA board members brought potluck for all to enjoy.

Toshiba Yokkaichi Corporation General Manager, Mr. Tomoharu Watanabe, and 3 others from Toshiba Irvine met with Dr. Forouzan Golshani, Dean, College of Engineering, CSULB, to discuss developing relationships between Toshiba and CSULB.

Mr. Toru Mizutani of the Yokkaichi Symphony, spent the evening enjoying a rehearsal of the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra with LBYSCA Board member, Jeanne Karatsu.

The final day of their stay in Long Beach kicked off with the re-dedication ceremony of the Yokkaichi Garden which had been relocated from Lincoln Park near City Hall to Long Beach Recreation Park on 7th Street.  Professor Keiji Uesugi and his students at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona contributed to the landscape design as a class project.  Cherry trees and crab apple trees were donated by the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens, SGI, the Consulate-General of Japan in Los Angeles, and landscape firm, S. C. Yamamoto, Inc.  Many thanks to the Long Beach Parks, Recreation and Marine Director, George Chapjian, and his staff who worked tirelessly to create a beautiful garden.

Invited guests witnessed the unveiling of a new garden plaque and a ribbon-cutting ceremony of the renovated Torii Gate, a gift from Yokkaichi to Long Beach in 1989.

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Yokkaichi Garden Torii Gate Dedication Ceremony.
LB Parks & Recs Director George Chapjian and Mayor Tanaka.

After the garden re-dedication, the delegation attended a lunch meeting at the Port of Long Beach offices with Port Commissioner Doug Drummond. After the meeting, the delegates boarded the “Triumphant” of Harbor Breeze Cruises for a sightseeing tour of our harbor.

The busy day was capped off with the 50th Anniversary banquet at Khoury’s Restaurant.  The evening opened with the presentation of colors by the Boy Scouts of America Troop 303, led by Scoutmaster Stan Hadley. Dignitaries included former Long Beach mayors, Thomas Clark, Eunice Sato and Beverly O’Neill; Mr. Suga, the Deputy Consul General of Japan; Doug Drummond, Long Beach Port Commissioner; Doug Erber, President of the Japan American Society; David Zanatta, President of Long Beach Sister Cities, Inc., and the Tomio Ito Family of Ito Farms, long-time supporters of the LBYSCA.

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Mayor Tanaka with former LB Mayor Beverly O’Neill.

Early next morning, the 13-member delegation departed LAX to return home to a work day in Yokkaichi.

The LBYSCA set a busy schedule to show the Mayor and his delegation as much as we could of our city during their short 4-day visit. We look forward to their return and a more extended visit.

Many thanks to the following for their assistance in making the Yokkaichi Delegation visit a success:

Mayor Bob Foster
Bill Doll, Asst to the Mayor
Dr. Kelly An
Ramon Arevalo
Boy Scouts of Amer. Troop 303
George Chapjian
Jeanne Costello
Will Cullen
Doug Drummond
Cecilia Fidora
Stan Hadley
Kathleen Irvine
Phil Jennings
Kerstin Kansteiner
Kraig Kojian
Theresa Maceyka
Bob McLaughlin
Dr. Gary Moreau
Stacey Morrison
Jimmy Ng
Jim Osgood

Peachawat Peachavanish
John Royce
Pamela Seager
Susan Taylor
Tom Underhill
Jan van Dijs
East Village Association
Berlin and Portolia Coffeehouse
Lyon Art Supply
Sneaky Tiki and Songbird
Meow Vintage Clothing
Willmore City Historic District
Green Long Beach
A Growing Experience Garden
CA Heights Neighborhood Assn.
LB-Yokkaichi Sister City Assn Board
Lee Schelin
Nick Warren

50th Anniversary Dinner Sponsors
Khoury’s Restaurant, Long Beach
November 8, 2013

Platinum Sponsor
Port of Long Beach

Silver Sponsors
Tomio Ito Family

Bronze Sponsors
Ted and Tomiko Ando Family
Victor & Masako Fukuhara
Hideo & Jeanne Karatsu
Kemi Oyewole
Lee & Jeanette Schelin
Mike & Aki Vaughn

Yokkaichi Garden Sign Sponsors
The City of Yokkaichi
Hideo & Jeanne Karatsu
John & Pat McMaster
Mr. & Mrs. Scott Warren
Yoko Pusavat

A very special thank you to photographer, Will Cullen,and to LBYSCA Associate Member, Jeanne Costello.