Kamloops and the city of Uji Japan enjoy a special relationship. 16 years ago, representatives of both communities established a sister city protocol. Every year, a delegation from one city travels to the other. This year, it was Uji's turn to visit us - their delegation numbered 26 very interesting people.
Council's Executive Assistant Leah McFarlan worked tirelessly to organize and host a very full Canada Day long weekend for our Uji vistors. They toured the water treatment plant, went on the 2141 heritage railway, participated in community in blooms celebrations, visited the museum, dined with city representatives and the Japanese Cultural Association, enjoyed the attractions of summer time at Sun Peaks, and saw all the new developments at the BC Wildlife Park.
On Canada Day evening, Saturday evening, my wife and I attended the official dinner at the Interior Savings Centre. We sat with two engaging Uji-ans. I also really enjoyed the good humour and livelieness in Uji's Mayor - Mayor Kubota. And I was very honoured to meet two very senior members of Uji City Council ( they have 32 councillors!). Various Kamloopsians also joined us, representing different groups in the community. Towards the end of the evening, we participated in what I can only describe as a festival of gift exchanging.
I was really lucky to have my wife with me. She spent two years in Japan teaching English and was a most amazing translator. Also, she put together Canada care package type gifts for our visitors. She was simply amazing all over.
In the end, I know these exchanges enrich the life of those who directly participate in them. I wonder, though, if the citizens of Kamloops generally understand why the City has this relationship with Uji and if they generally support the dollars spent in our sister city program.
I don't really enough about the totality of the program to have an informed opinion. I guess I better do some research.