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Ichihara, Japan
Active, Local organization, Student Exchanges

How does one celebrate 15 years of sister-city? A delegation consisting of a city council member and Ichihara International Association officials from Japan was in Mobile to celebrate this twinning anniversary. The City of Mobile and Mobile Ichihara Sister-City Association hosted a reception for them at the Museum of Mobile Courtyard. Entertainment consisted of traditional Japanese folk music and a tea ceremony. The Japanese musicians, Michiyasu Mihachi played the tsugaru shamisen (resembling a western banjo) and Shuichi Maruyama played the shakuhachi (a handmade bamboo flute). Dana Hudson, daughter of City Council Member Connie Hudson, performed a Japanese piece with her flute. Yuko Jordan, co-president of MISCA and emcee, recognized Mobile International Festival at the reception. She translated Japanese to English and vice-versa proficiently making sure nothing was “lost in translation”.

The next group of students from Mobile and Baldwin counties, who will visit Ichihara on July 25-August 4, were introduced. They will stay in host families’ homes. This is an annual educational exchange program. During the summer, a group of students from Ichihara will be in Mobile and will be hosted by host families, too.

The next day, a tree planting ceremony was held at the Japanese Garden at 800 Forest Hill Drive. Gingko and Cherry trees were planted to commemorate the 15 years of twinning between Ichihara and Mobile. Mayor Sam Jones welcomed the delegation before the ceremony. Later that morning, a Mobile-Ichihara Friendship Concert was held at the Atrium of the Government Plaza with Mayor Jones and others in attendance.

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