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A Newsletter from the Kumagaya Friendship Association • November 2009 • Issue 15

Ballantyne wedding a Sister City milestone Yes indeed, another Sister City milestone has been reached with the wedding of Andy and Mayumi Ballantyne on October 11. The service and reception were held in a Kumagaya hotel and there were 80 guests including parents Murray and Pam Ballantyne and about 10 other Westerners. Amongst the guests were Mayor Tomioka, KIFA Starship Enterprise President Yagihashi,Prof Hoshiyama and the local Senator. The wedding was a wonderful mix. An early afternoon Christian service in the hotel's space age chapel followed by a French menu for the reception Stunning bride and the whole thing overlaid with Japanese culture. The chapel in the hotel was truly something out of the Starship Enterprise! Clear plastic pews, silver walls and ceiling and a clear floor on the aisle with lighting Snap happy underneath. The bride entered, as you do, on the arm of her father and looked stunning. And I'm sorry ladies, as the writer is male, he doesn't know what the bride was wearing other than that it was a dress and it Proud parents was white!

The reception was basically Western style, with differences. For a start there was a full time technician there working the music, lights and videos. The speeches were similar style to ours, with the addition that it is Japanese custom for the bosses of the bride and groom to speak as very honoured guests. Overall a very enjoyable three hours with interesting and friendly guests and Japanese sake and beer, Scotch whisky and French wine flowing in equal measure. One really pleasant aspect of the proceedings was the obvious friendly rapport between the bride and the groom's parents and the total commitment of the four of them to the new marriage. It also seems to be the custom in Japan for an “After Party”. Once the formal reception was over most of the guests and the wedding party headed out to a local nightclub/bar where there was an organised casual party with more food for several hours. And then, after that there was an “After, After Party” which involved the guests with staying power (including the bride and groom) having nightcaps at the wonderfully named “Dog's Nose Bar” until 2 am. What a wedding! But wait, there's more! Andy and Mayumi are coming to Invercargill early in February to give their Kiwi friends a chance to celebrate...so watch this space. And as for the future, well we are now waiting, of course, for the first Sister City offspring. Although this may be a year or two away yet there seems to be some doubt however as to whether the infant will be called “Invercargill Kumagaya Ballantyne” or “Kumagaya Invercargill Ballantyne!”


Chairman’s update By Tom Sawyer It's been a good and bad few months for the KFA. On the bad side of things, swine flu caused the cancellation of four school or university groups from Kumagaya. On the good side however, we had groups from Southland Boys’ High and Southland Girls’ High both having very successful visits to Kumagaya. A group of ICC councillors and staff along with the KFA Chairman also had a successful visit in October as a result of which we are hoping for a trade mission from Kumagaya to visit here next year. On the social side, the Kiwi Hanami at Queens Park in September was well attended. And, of course, we saw the first Kumagaya/Invercargill wedding take place between Andy and Mayumi. Coming up next we have the Early Christmas Dinner evening at the 'Bonsai' on November 12. If you're not booked in yet…get in quick! As for next year, unless swine flu strikes again, we expect a full agenda of school visits both ways with the first group from Kumagaya due here in March.

Members of the Kumagaya Junior Chamber of Commerce and the Invercargill team along with KIFA President Yagihashi and interpreter Prof Hoshiyama during discussions on trade missions.

KFA AMBASSADOR AWARD

Kiwi Hanami a success! On September 15 the KFA ran a very successful Hanami celebration near the Japanese garden in Queens Park. About 60 people attended on a lovely Invercargill Spring Entrants in the school pupils evening. competition to make a kimono Amongst those out of newpsaper. there were many pupils from local high school Japanese classes. It was an excellent opportunity for them to experience a little of Japanese culture, especially as many of them were due to travel A Kiwi in Hanami dress! to Kumagaya the following week. Also present were several Japanese visitors and residents, including one family (Kiwi husband, Japanese wife and two small children) who had only recently moved from Tokyo to Invercargill….and Japanese teacher Midori Sasaki and friend. In the that is a big move! background is the family who have just moved from Tokyo.

A new scheme this year saw the introduction of this Award to a student from each of the local high schools. The Award recognises students who have been especially active in some or all of the following areas: - Hosting Japanese students - Interacting with long and short term Japanese exchange students - Involvement in general Japanese activities - Being a model student whilst on a Japanese exchange The inaugural winners of this Award are: - Brooke Flett SGHS - Brendan Bauche SBHS - Kathryn Butler JHC They win a certificate and a dinner at the Bonsai Restaurant. Our congratulations to them all.

Competition winners The Dunedin-Otaru Sister City Society Japanese Speech Competition was held in Dunedin on Wednesday June 17, 2009. Students from Southland Boys’ High School and James Hargest College travelled through for the event. The senior students had to write an impressive five minute speech (two minutes for juniors), memorise it and present it to the audience and judges. They were then asked questions about their speeches. The local successes were as follows: Junior Section - Graydon Hayes (Year 11 at Southland Boys’ High School) gained 1st place Senior Section Senior Section - Channelle Carnie (Year 13 at James Hargest) gained 2nd place - Terry Son (Year 12 at James Hargest) gained 3rd place


Southland Boys' High School Kumagaya Trip 2009

This report was written by Scott Barnsdale a Year 12 student from Southland Boys' High School.

Other students participated in martial arts lessons and others became immersed in traditional Japanese culture including the bath houses.

At the end of Term 3 a group of Year 11-13 students from SBHS left Invercargill on the first stage of their journey to Kumagaya in Japan. The goal of the trip was to experience five days travelling around different areas of Japan before arriving in Kumagaya and spending time with host families and learning about their way of life.

Over the next few days we attended classes and school events at Kumagaya High School. The students and staff treated us with great generosity and kindness, including us as part of their school during the time we were there. SBHS will of course return this generosity next year.

During our travelling days we spent two nights in Kyoto where we visited various Buddhist and Shinto shrines. We also experienced our first taste of authentic Japanese food at a Japanese restaurant. Our chopstick skills were going to have to improve rapidly. Our journey next took us to Hiroshima where we visited a brand new baseball stadium with a capacity for 32,000 people. We experienced first hand the intensity and enthusiasm of Japanese fans as they showed support for the nation's favourite sport. After a night spent in a traditional Japanese Inn we visited the Hiroshima Peace Park and Museum. This was a humbling experience as we learned first hand about the effects of nuclear weaponry on a city and its people and the horrors of war itself. Every year on August 6 a memorial service is held to celebrate the people’s lives destroyed dramatically over 60 years ago. Students from all over the world, including boys from Southland Boys' High School, send paper cranes to Hiroshima's Peace Park to support peace and remember the people of Hiroshima who lost their lives in 1945. When we arrived at Kumagaya we joined our host families and they organised different sightseeing opportunities and experiences for us. Some went to the big metropolis of Tokyo, others went shopping in Kumagaya.

At the end of the trip we enjoyed Tokyo Disneyland, particularly enjoying Space Mountain, tea cup twirling and the roller coaster. From this trip we gained new friends and a lifetime of memories as well as developing closer friendships amongst our own group of students. For anyone contemplating studying Japanese I strongly recommend it. The trip is an exceptional experience. This trip was sponsored by Asia NZ and Sasakawa Foundation. Citizens Group Trip to Kumagaya We have an invitation to send a Citizens Group over to visit Kumagaya whenever it is convenient. Tentatively we may look at going over in July next year. If you think you may be interested please let me know. At this stage expressions of interest only are required. If we get enough interest then we will organise a group to go. Lots of fun ,experiences and a completely different, friendly culture. Any queries or interest please contact Tom Sawyer on topship@xtra.co.nz or phone 0274 325380.


Nyuusu Nov 2009