Phoenix Sister Cities 40th Anniversary Delegation to Himeji & Tokyo (April 5-13, 2017)
Phoenix and Himeji Celebrate 40-Year Sister Cities Anniversary With Delegation Visit
Phoenix celebrated its 40-year sister cities affiliation with Himeji, Japan with the visit of a municipal and citizen’s delegation on November 7-11, 2016. While in Phoenix, the delegation had the opportunity to mix business with tours of city sites and social activities.
Upon the delegation’s arrival, Phoenix Sister Cities hosted a casual welcome reception at FEZ on Central where the delegation had the opportunity to rest from their long flight and sample some local cuisine. The following day, Himeji Committee Chair Masako Takiguchi hosted a day-trip to Oak Creek Canyon for the municipal delegation that included a visit to Bell Rock, Chapel of the Holy Cross, a picnic at Slide Rock, a tour of Montezuma Castle and dinner at the Cliff Castle Casino.
A variety of meetings were scheduled for the municipal delegation including a meeting with Deputy Director of the Arizona Office of Tourism Stephanie Dowling and Media Relations Director Tony Alba, a briefing by staff of Visit Phoenix, a one-on-one with Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and City Councilman and City Council liaison for the Phoenix-Himeji affiliation Daniel Valenzuela, an introduction at a City Council meeting, guided tours of Chase Field (thank you Josh Rawitch and Alvin Adams), Talking Stick Resort Center (thank you Ralph Marchetta) and EXOS and meetings with and a luncheon hosted by EXOS leadership (thank you Marty Weems).
On a different schedule, the citizen’s delegation spent the morning at the Musical Instrument Museum; lunched at Sweet Tomatoes; and spent the afternoon wandering through the Desert Botanical Garden. Both delegations then met at the Phoenix Japanese Friendship Garden, Ro Ho En, for a tree planting ceremony honoring the sister cities partnership between Phoenix and Himeji gardens.
The visit finalized with a 40th-anniversary dinner hosted by Phoenix Sister Cities and the Japanese Friendship Garden. During the reception, guests had the opportunity to listen to Japanese Folk Artist Singer/Songwriter Ken Koshio. A special twist was tasting of Sake produced and brought from Himeji. The food of the evening symbolically joined both Phoenix and Himeji as guests were treated to a traditional Thanksgiving meal.
Phoenix Sister Cities showcased the Phoenix local culture by inviting 2-time award winning dance duo Native Spirit to perform at the dinner. Mayor Greg Stanton and Councilman Daniel Valenzuela (District 5) were both in attendance and signed a reaffirmation of the Phoenix-Himeji sister cities relationship along with Himeji, Japan Vice Mayor Masahiro Utsumi, and Himeji City Councilman Akihiro Hosono.
Phoenix Sister Cities would like to thank everyone who attended this special evening. Special thanks also go to Japanese Friendship Garden Executive Director Reiko Yasui Reavis and all the volunteers at the Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix who helped make this event a huge success. A shout-out to the FOUND:RE for providing special room rates for the municipal delegation and giving them the best of Phoenix hospitality. Many people were responsible for the success of the delegation’s visit, but one huge thank you to Brian Flanigan to serving as the municipal delegation’s driver from early morning to late in the evening. PSC would also like to express their gratitude to Phoenix Sister Cities Himeji Committee Chair Masako Takiguchi for her long hours and hard work in the coordination of this anniversary celebration.