Kesennuma delegation visits New Zealand / April 2015

A delegation from Kesennuma City visited Waiheke Island on Thursday 16th April 2015, as their final stop in a one week research tour of New Zealand. The following is from the project newsletter/no.67

It was a beautiful autumn day, and our project team met the group at Matiatia Wharf in the morning. Among the boat passengers, I found Mr. Suzuki, who was the mayor’s secretary at the time I visited Kesennuma in 2012. We were so excited to see each other again and hugged, which never happens in our mother culture. His first words were that he had never thought we were so far away from where they are. He kept thanking us for what the project has been doing, sending our sister t-shirts. Their visit started with a welcoming ceremony at the Artworks courtyard, which went really well with a number of locals giving fantastic support and assistance. There are simply too many stories to write about and too many photos to share, so I just picked up one photo that I took at Mudbrick Vineyard when Mr. Fujita—who led the group—stepped out from the wine tasting experience and gazed at the blue sky above him. He was, I thought, reflecting on all that happened to bring the people here since that day in 2011. Or he may just have though about how nice the Syrah in his glass was... either way, this moment made me feel our project has made a valuable contribution, the first step in our goals. Right now, I am sure that Mr. Suzuki, Mr. Fujita and the members of the delegation will keep talking about what they saw and found in this country as a reference for the future of Kesennuma.