On April 28 the sun was shining, creating a delightful afternoon, flowering trees were in full bloom, an unusual surprise to us all, in anticipation of our Japanese guests’ arrival.
Students, families and Shiraoi twinning members anxiously awaited our guests to arrive.
Sister City Shiraoi delegation arrived around 5:30 p.m. As the bus pulled up in front of Shiraoi House and guests disembarked, lots of pictures were taken, introductions were made, greetings and hugs followed, before entering Shiraoi house.
Our Japanese guests were served green tea and an individual gift of “Julie’s Edible Bouquet” of chocolate, cookies and strawberries. Then followed an hour of conversing and speeches. Photos were taken of each guest and billet families.
On Friday morning several groups met in different locations. Japanese students visited schools guided by Quesnel students. The adults gathered in front of Shiraoi House, then walked to City Hall for a tour. Our Japanese guests made many inquiries about the different departments of City Hall. The Japanese Deputy Mayor, Mayor Simpson and committee members remained to sign papers celebrating our 35 years of Twinning between the two cities, Shiraoi and Quesnel. The other group of adults took a walk through our downtown. Depending on what each guest wanted to see, various businesses were visited. A tasty lunch was served at Shiraoi House following the tours.
Then guests were taken to Cariboo Keepsakes, where they enjoyed seeing all the homemade items and some purchases were made.
In the afternoon West Fraser Mill was toured.
Saturday morning our guests visited our local museum.
At Dragon Lake guests and members enjoyed paddling two of the “Dragon boats.”
After, lunch was served at Richbar Nursery patio. Then a visit was made to Edgewood Farm.
In the evening the City hosted a dinner, at Billy Barker Hotel banquet room. Our Mayor and Coun. Roodenburg were in attendance. Our Japanese guests entertained us singing their native songs. Before the evening ended, Mayor Simpson presented Deputy Mayor Furumata Hiroyuki with a gift, a framed photo of scenic Quesnel. Deputy Mayor expressed his thanks to Quesnel/Shiraoi Twinning Society and presented them a Japanese designed cloth for a table centre. Throughout the evening guitar music was provided by Jim Savage.
Sunday, our guests enjoyed free time with their host families. Later that day all enjoyed a barbecue at Shiraoi members Martha Waldon and Jim Savage’s home.
Our Japanese guests performed a Japanese dance and sang Japanese songs encouraging others to participate.
This was an incredible five days that everyone enjoyed, due to the efforts of the members of Quesnel Shiraoi Twinning Society, nature providing the beautiful weather and the cooperation of the city.
We want to thank the Sister City Shiraoi, Deputy Mayor Furumata Hiroyuki and their members, Vice President Norio Arie and Yuzuru Sakamoto and Secretary Kazumi Niioka, who organized the delegation group.
What a successful 35th Anniversary!
A special “Thank You” to Phil Demers , MLA Coralee Oakes and Premier Christy Clarke.
– Submitted by Diane Graham