60th Anniversary of San Jose-Okayama Partnership to Be Celebrated

SAN JOSE — This year, San Jose and Okayama will celebrate the 60th anniversary of their sister-city partnership.

The welcome flag raising event will begin at 2 p.m. on Friday, April 21, at San Jose City Hall Plaza with San Jose Taiko. Following the welcome ceremonies, the guests and the public will be treated to a viewing of recently discovered student artwork from Okayama that dates back to the 1960s and 1970s.

Later that day, the guests will walk through the Kelley Park Japanese Friendship Garden. This garden was modeled after the famous Korakuen in Okayama, one of the three great gardens of Japan. Gifts of koi for the pond and the Momotaro statue at the San Jose Center for Performing Arts are also testaments to the lasting friendship between the two cities.

The Haiku Society and the City of San Jose Parks, Recreation & Neighborhood Services have prepared a haiku booklet and will be reading the haiku and providing information for the guests as they go through the garden. In the evening, the delegation will be hosted by the San Jose-Okayama Sister Cities at a barbecue dinner with mariachi and Ballet Folklorico entertainment arranged in collaboration with the San Jose-Guadalajara Sister Cities Committee.

On Saturday, April 22, the various groups of City Council members, the mayor and council chair, the Chamber of Commerce delegation and the citizens’ delegation will be visiting various places such as the Gordon Biersch Brewery in Japantown and AVAYA Stadium.

Cultural exchange performances at the Hammer Theater will enlighten, delight and energize everyone with kibigaku (ancient music and traditional spiritual dance, wadaiko (taiko from Japan), KalaAwishkar dance company, with dance from Pune, India, another San Jose sister city. The performances will end with hip-hop from The Get Down in San Jose Japantown.<