News Release News Release The City of Palo Alto
Communications Department
250 Hamilton Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94301


PRESS RELEASE 09/24/2014
Subject :

Community invited to Celebrate Fifth Anniversary of Japanese Sister City at Tsuchiura Festival
Contact : Keiko Nakajima, Festival Organizer, Neighbors Abroad    (650) 561-9771
Palo Alto, CA—The City of Palo Alto and its sister city Tsuchiura, Japan will celebrate the fifth anniversary of their relationship with the Japan Tsuchiura Festival on Sunday, Sept. 28 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Lucie Stern Community Center, 1305 Middlefield Road.

The festival, cosponsored by the City of Palo Alto and Neighbors Abroad, and supported by the Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco, will include 16 delegates from Tsuchiura who will be on hand to help mark the occasion. The delegates making the trip from Japan are Tsuchiura Vice-Mayor Goto Hideaki, Tsuchiura Manager of the Department of Civil Activities Ryoichi Mochizuki, Tsuchiura City Council members Takuo Uchida, Keiichi Nakagawa, Masaki Shinotsuka and Hisashi Kubota, Tsuchiura International Association members Yuko Fujita, Masahiro Seido, Setsuko Kikuchi and Hitoshi Nishimoto, dance performers Tomiko Nakayama, Hiroko Ohara, Kiyoko Ehara, Yoshiko Wasahara and Tomie Miyamoto, and Zen meditation leader Yoshitomo Mitsui.

Palo Alto Mayor Nancy Shepherd will join Tsushiura Vice-Mayor Hideaki for a ceremony at noon to present the delegation with a plaque, and the two cities will also exchange flags to solidify their bond. The ceremony will also include a Kagami Biraki ceremony, a Japanese tradition which refers to the opening of a cask of sake at a party or ceremony.

The free event will immerse attendees in Japanese culture with activities and performances that include a tea ceremony, Zen meditation with a Tsuchiura Zen master, anime drawing contest, martial arts demonstrations, bonsai demonstrations, a yo-yo performance, a Japanese chorus performance, and a special performance from a team of dancers from Tsuchiura. The event will also include a silent auction, bake sale, food trucks, and children and family activities such as face painting, chopstick games, origami, calligraphy and Koinobori making.

Tsuchiura, a city of approximately 140,000 residents located 36 miles from Tokyo, and Palo Alto became sister cities in 2009. However, the relationship between the two cities dates back to 1995 when a middle school exchange program was created between the Palo Alto Unified School District's Japanese language class and the former Niihari Village, which merged with Tsuchiura in 2006. Today, the exchange program is still going strong, and every March, 16 Tsuchiura junior high students visit Palo Alto for a week, while Palo Alto students visit Tsuchiura in July for two weeks. Throughout the exchange program, more than 296 Japanese students and chaperones have visited Palo Alto and 266 Palo Alto students and residents have visited Tsuchiura, including 30 who made the trip this past summer.

The Tsuchiura Festival is free to the public. Reservations are required for the Tea Ceremony, 10 a.m. and 1:15 p.m., and Zen Meditation, 10:45 a.m. and 3 p.m., and can be made by calling 650-561-9771. For more information on the festival, visit