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A Newsletter from the Kumagaya Friendship Association • April 2009 • Issue 14

KFA Chairman’s Update It has been another good year for the Kumagaya Friendship Association. Membership has remained steady and there has been plenty of inter-city activity. Perhaps the main highlight of the year has been the further cementing of the Sister City relationship with the announcement of the engagement of Andrew Ballantyne, formerly of Woodlands and Miss Mayumi Uno of Kumagaya. This will be the first marriage between the cities. Once more, one of the other highlights has been the large number of school group exchanges from various schools and Rissho University involving well over 150 pupils from our respective cities. Such exchanges continue to be very popular with the pupils and will continue this year. During the year, Southland Girls High School (SGHS) signed a 'Sister School' agreement with Kumagaya Prefectural Girl's High School. A team from SGHS will be visiting Kumagaya in September. In addition a team from Southland Boys High will be visiting Kumagaya this year and three school groups plus Rissho University will also be visiting Invercargill during 2009. Other visits this year have been a small Councillors group from each city and a citizen's group that visited in here in October. All visits went well. This coming year it is expected that a small group from Invercargill will visit Kumagaya, but details of this have yet to be finalised. Socially for KFA members during the year there was a well attended dinner at the Bonsai Restaurant and two home hosted barbecues for visiting groups. In addition the KFA also sponsored a prize for the Annual Secondary Schools Japanese Language Competition. No organisation can be successful without a hard working committee. My thanks to Judy, Pam, Karen and Jo for all their help and hard work this year. Thanks also to the Invercargill City Council’s Richard King and Eirwen Tulett for their help. Particular thanks are due to committee member Jo Reekie, whose resignation on medical grounds has been accepted with regret. We wish her all the best for her recovery. Her place on the committee will be taken by Richard Hay. Richard is also Chief Executive of the Chamber of Commerce and we welcome his input into the committee. Despite the current financial recession I look forward to the coming year. The school exchanges and the forthcoming inter-city marriage will continue to strengthen our relationship

Sister City bonds strengthen The strong Sister City relationship between Invercargill and Kumagaya took a great leap forward recently with the long awaited announcement of the first engagement between citizens of the two cities. Mr Andrew Ballantyne and Miss Mayumi Uno will further cement the Sister City bonds when they marry later this year. There will be a wedding ceremony in Kumagaya on 11th October followed by one in Invercargill early in February 2010. Andrew is the son of Murray and Pam Ballantyne. Murray was instrumental in setting up the Sister City relationship some 17 years ago and Pam is a committee member on the KFA. Andrew has been living in Kumagaya for several years working in the honey business. Mayumi is an administrator at an English language school in Kumagaya. Following the wedding the couple will continue to live in Kumagaya. All those of us who have met Andrew and Mayumi know that they make an ideal couple and all KFA members will join in wishing them a very long and happy life together. Pictured above: Congratulations to Mr Andrew Ballantyne and Miss Mayumi Uno who were recently engaged.

Kumagaya Councillors enjoy the sights of Southland On the 26th January Councillors Matsu'ura, Matsumoto, Tsenumi, Mori and Sugita arrived in the City for a threeday visit. During their brief stay they managed to visit various parts of Southland from Te Anau to Stewart Island. Places visited included the Tiwai Smelter, Woodlands Apiaries, Southland Museum and a Southland farm. KFA members had an opportunity to meet the Councillors at a home-hosted BBQ on the evening of the 27th of January.

Four Kumagaya Councillors enjoying Stewart Island.

It was pleasing to see a good number of members attending this function. These functions are not only a

good chance to meet our friends from Kumagaya, but also offer a chance to catch up with other KFA members.

How to get married in Japan By Pam Ballantyne Once Andrew had finally asked Mayumi the 'big' question and received 'yes' for an answer, the next step was to go to Kumagaya City Hall. There they needed to pick up a large number of marriage forms. Both fathers, Murray and Mayumi's father Tomoyasu, needed to fill out sections of the forms. Andrew then had to send his passport to the New Zealand Embassy in Tokyo. It was then forwarded by the Embassy to the Births, Marriages and Deaths office in Wellington. Next Andrew had to nominate two referees in New Zealand who had to sign papers to the effect that Andrew was indeed who he said he was and that they knew of no reason why he couldn't get married. These papers, along with his passport, were then sent by Wellington back to the Embassy in Tokyo, and then finally back to Andrew. Andrew is in Japan on a renewable three year working visa. Details of this visa also had to be included in the marriage certificate.

Finally, all the paperwork having been completed, Andrew and Mayumi took the papers and the fee to the Kumagaya City Hall on 23rd February. From then on they were legally married. We understand that Mayumi's first act after she got back from City Hall was to change the names on their apartment door to “Mr Andrew and Mrs Mayumi Ballantyne�. Of course this is only the legal side of marriage in Japan, the fun part has yet to happen! A wedding service and reception will be held in Kumagaya on 11th October. Following this a 'Kiwi' wedding will be held in Invercargill on 6th February 2010 at which a very proud Murray and Pam will officially welcome Mayumi into their family. Getting married is a lot easier in New Zealand, with a lot less paperwork. However all those who have met Mayumi will agree that all the time and effort have been worth it and that Andrew has a wonderful wife.

Nyuusu April 2009  

Newsletter of the Invercargill Kumagaya assn