SISTER CITY: Students and visitors from Lismore with Yamato Takada representatives admire one of the sculptures in the new Lismore Gardens unveiled recently in the Japanese city.
SISTER CITY: Students and visitors from Lismore with Yamato Takada representatives admire one of the sculptures in the new Lismore Gardens unveiled recently in the Japanese city.

Bonza gifts for sister city

AUGUST 7 2013 will mark the 50th anniversary of the sister-city program between Lismore and the Japanese city of Yamato Takada, in the Nara prefecture.

A delegation of 30 people from the Japanese city has been announced to visit Lismore in 2013, in addition to the regular students that visit Lismore as part of the yearly exchange program.

The Japanese hosted a group of students from Lismore as guests of honour at the dedication of the "Lismore Gardens" on Friday, September 28.

Lismore's sister-city program coordinator Colleen Virtue said: "Lismore has a year to prepare a good reception for our guests. I am sure we'll do a great job."

On the day of the Lismore Garden's dedication, Yamato Takada's sister-city program coordinator Seiichiro Murashina explained the story of the 20m gumtree which is the parkland's centrepiece.

"In 1983, when we happily had the 20th anniversary of the sister-city relationship between our two cities, we planted in this place the seed of a eucalyptus tree, which was presented by the city of Lismore. It has grown up to be such a big tree."

Colleen Virtue said that a bottlebrush tree was planted during the garden's dedication.

"A sculpture of a koala with a baby koala on its back, and another one with a kangaroo and a joey are also part of the garden," she said.

The student exchange program between the sister-cities has run for 26 years.

Colleen Virtue was in Japan with her husband Ric and three students from Lismore when a typhoon hit the Japanese mainland, two weeks ago.

"I was interested to be in Yamato Takada when a typhoon hit.

"They don't usually get bad ones, but that one last Sunday (September 30) was predicted to be bad.

"From 9 to 10am it was fine. By 11 o'clock it was raining and by 11.30 it poured."

Mrs Virtue's Japanese hosts insisted on taking them to Osaka after lunch that day. She remembers that on the way to Osaka it was very windy and had heavy rain.

"I was thinking I would prefer to be indoors rather than driving, but after spending a few hours in Osaka we drove home after dinner at about 8pm and the weather was fine.

"It was all over, no damage."


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