Point of View: Sister cities create strong human connections

Thank you for participating in the workshop for building Japanese Taiko Drums at Kachemak Bay Campus and watching three different performances from Tomodachi Daiko Inc. in Anchorage with Alaska Japanese Club for the 40th Anniversary Celebration.

I appreciate that Tina Seaton, who manages our district of Girl Scouts of Alaska, had contacted the council in Anchorage for permission to contribute Girl Scout Cookies to the 40th Anniversary Celebration the weekend of May 3 and 4.

Another big thank you to Alice’s Champagne Palace for their contribution to the celebration at Homer Mariner Theater.

Homer United Methodist Church shared the upper parking space closest to SVT.

We also appreciate the City of Homer hosting and advertising the 40th Anniversary celebration with Alaska Japanese Club, Dave Berry and Lori Pond for coordinating with council members and Alaska Japanese Club; Mike Illg for the Homer Mariner theater; Jesse Bolt for a theater technician; Jill Burnham for coordinating with us; Gareth Chesley for an IT at the college; Kachemak Bay Campus for hosting the workshop; Dick Dunn, Gary Lyons, Mike Ostrom and Mark Conrad for making the stands for the taiko drums; Dave Berry, Lori Pond, Cathy Stingley, Charles Anderson, Marge Dunn, Tim Gervais, David Beams, Bob Neubauer, Wes Schraht, Kelly Smith, Anna Rodriguez, Maura Jones, Vanessa Albertson, Althea Romana, Emma Bowman, Lisa Magnuson, Kalynn Wilson, Robby Wilson, Elayna Wilson, Rei Beams, Sei Beams, Finn Brewer, Kayla Abbott, Sage Brothers, Lenore Jones, Willow Albertson, Emily Abbott and Autumn Smith, and Margaret Gervais for volunteering and participating for the 40th Anniversary Celebration.

We also would like to say thank you to Flat Fish Lodge for graciously hosting 11 professional Taiko drummers for two nights and Pika Pika Bento for serving amazing catered food for them. Three other performers, Mrs. and Mr. Kono who are presidents of Tomodachi Daiko Inc., and Mr. Furuta, a master Taiko drummer from Tokyo, Japan, stayed with us for two nights. Alaska Japanese Club purchased the materials for making the stands for Taiko drums for the workshop.

A big thank you to Tomodachi Daiko Inc., for performing with us, and Frank Jeffries, who is a retired University of Alaska Anchorage professor, and his wife, Jacki Holzman, who is a retired FAA supervisor, who purchased all materials to build six Japanese Taiko drums for the workshop at the college. They donated those homemade Japanese Taiko drums to our Alaska Japanese Club in Homer to keep drumming to show our appreciation to our supportive community. We appreciate their generosity and kindness.

We are very excited to share great news with you: Frank Jeffries and Jacki Holzman will be back to Homer for the second workshop with us to finish building two more Taiko drums. This wonderful workshop will be held at Homer United Methodist Church at 2 p.m. on Friday, May 17. This event will be potluck style. Please bring a dish or drink to share during the workshop while you are enjoying visiting.

Mr. Frank and Mrs. Jacki will also give us another great opportunity to learn, hear and play new methods with Japanese Taiko drums on Saturday, May 18 at Homer United Methodist Church. This is a great chance to learn and play Japanese Taiko drums with them. Anybody of any age is invited!!

As I am a liaison and an interpreter of the sister city, the City of Homer and Alaska Japanese Club have established a great relationship with our sister city, Teshio in Hokkaido in Japan. We just started to celebrate the 40th Anniversary acknowledging the relationship between two cities this year. Teshio really appreciates that we have been celebrating the 40th Anniversary.

Teshio is very interested in having a student delegation coming from Homer next year. Teshio will send us lots of homemade chopstick holders to use as a fundraiser for having students from Homer visit Teshio to exchange culture, languages and help young generations become global citizens to support our communities, our societies and our countries. Students in Alaska Japanese Club have been having wonderful experiences learning differences and similarities through our sister city relationship. Our Alaska Japanese Club has been having online class sessions and having exchange cards activities with Teshio Junior High School.

This time, Teshio requested us to make 70 chopsticks holders. Students in Alaska Japanese Club made them for having an exchange activity to show our appreciation for our relationship. Teshio is very excited that they will share those chopstick holders from us with Teshio Junior High School, Mayor Yoshida, Teshio council members and town employees.

Another exciting announcement is that Charles Anderson was a former exchange student to Teshio. He and his friends will visit Teshio this fall! I have been coordinating with Teshio for their trip as well as I did also for Cathy Stingley’s spring trip to Teshio. Teshio is very excited to have another visitor from Homer because it means developing more great relationships between the cities. We appreciate that Charles Anderson will mail those chopstick holders to Teshio before his trip to Teshio.

The former mayor and the new mayor of Teshio have been writing letters to communicate with each other with Mayor Ken Castner in order to have a stronger sister city relationship along with these exchange activities. I recently received a letter from Mayor Yoshida in Teshio to Mayor Ken Castner. I will give it to him with my translation.

I think that those amazing interactions will make human connections stronger and closer to understand each other. I am strongly hoping that new generations will also have an amazing opportunity as student delegations in both cities to carry on this wonderful sister city program in another 40th years.

Megumi Beams is the Sister City liaison/interpreter and Japanese International Exchange coordinator/instructor in Homer.