Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Executive Committee Meeting With Frankston City CEO

Members of the FSFA Executive Committee recently met with new Frankston City CEO Phil Cantillon prior to our December meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to introduce ourselves and to give Phil a briefing on the role FSFA plays in the sister city relationship with Susono.

FSFA Chairperson Julie D'Arcy opened the meeting by giving a brief outline of the history of our Association and the formation of the sister city relationship from the early 1980's. This included the vital role Yazaki (Australian Arrow Pty Ltd) played in bring the two cities together, the early delegation visits between the cities, the proclamation ceremony in February 1982, and the subsequent student exchanges that commenced in 1983.

Vice-Chairperson Simon Hast outlined how our Association promotes Japanese culture, language and activities via the delegation visits, our bi-annual Japanese Festival, the annual Japanese Speech Contest, our Hanami (Cherry Blossom) Party, maintaining the Japanese Garden at Frankston High School, along with representations and presentations at a number of Japanese themed events within the wider Melbourne community.

We wanted to convey the strong commitment and passion members of our Committee have in promoting the sister city relationship with Susono on behalf of the Frankston City Council. Members of the Committee also spoke of their reasons for joining FSFA before CEO Cantillon outlined his background in local government, future planning and expectations in his role as CEO and any ongoing concerns we might have and how the Council may be able to support our Association.

Our positive meeting ended with the understanding to remain in contact and discuss any issues which may arise in the future.

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

ABC Article on Sister Cities

FSFA Executive Committee member David Cross has bought to our attention an interesting ABC article discussing the value of sister city relationships.

We strongly believe we have established a very worthwhile relationship with Susono that brings great value to both cities! We have passionate volunteers working to create meaningful opportunities for the citizens of our respective cities, and have done so for over 37 years!

The costs involved in sister city delegation visits appear to be the main area of concern. Frankston and Susono arrange delegations where they visit each other approximately every 4 years, often to coincide with significant anniversaries. These delegations offer citizens and school students potentially life-changing experiences as a part of their travel to another country, their sister city, and a homestay experience with a Japanese family.

However, our Association offers a great deal more than just delegation visits. We organise a Sister Cities Australia award-winning Japanese Festival every 2 years which allows Frankston citizens the opportunity to experience Japanese culture, music, activities, food and more; our annual Japanese speech contest provides over 70 primary and secondary students the chance to practice their Japanese language skills and supports the teaching of the language in schools within and beyond the City of Frankston; our annual Hanami (cherry blossom) Party held in the Japanese Garden at Frankston High School allows Japanese families to meet and extend their friendship and support network; we also petitioned Frankston Council to relocate Susono Way to the front of the Frankston Private Hospital and the construction of the Susono Tribute Garden along Susono Way.

These and more activities are organised and run by members and friends of the Frankston Susono Friendship Association on behalf of the Frankston City Council!

If you are interested in joining our Association or becoming more involved, then please follow the Contact Us tab at the top of this page. We would welcome your involvement!

Please click HERE to read the online ABC article on sister cities.

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Sister Cities Research Visitor in Frankston

On Wednesday 30 October our Chairperson Julie D'Arcy and Vice-Chairperson Simon Hast were delighted to meet with Associate Professor Hiroaki Mori from the Department of Policy Studies at Kitakyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan. Hiroaki is undertaking a research project investigating sister city relationships between Japanese and Australian cities and was visiting Australia to speak with representatives from a number of sister city organisations.

Our meeting took place at Frankston High School's Senior Campus which gave us the opportunity to show Hiroaki our Japanese Garden before we commenced our discussions. He was most impressed to discover we maintain the garden as a tangible symbol of the strong relationship which exists between our two cities. Hiroaki had sent us a number of questions prior to our meeting and we had prepared a copy of written responses which were discussed and clarified during our meeting.

The comprehensive range of questions focused on the origins of the sister city relationship, the structure of our executive committee and membership, the goals and expectations as well as any problems experienced, policy evaluation and influence, and finally the future prospects for the sister city relationship and our Association.

At the conclusion of our meeting we wished Hiroaki success with the completion of his report and asked that we be sent a copy. We then went out into our Japanese Garden for some photos.

Julie, Hiroaki and Simon in our Japanese Garden at Frankston High School

On our return journey to Frankston Station we visited Susono Way and the Susono Friendship Garden, which was officially opened in August this year. Click HERE to read more about the garden's opening ceremony. It is encouraging to see how the trees have grown and the addition of the commemorative plaque and replica torii gate which was created in 2012 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of our sister city relationship. An identical torii gate is located at the front of the Citizens Culture Centre in Susono where many of the Australian Fairs our delegations attend are held.

We farewelled Hiroaki at the station for his return journey to Melbourne. He will be flying home to Fukuoka on Thursday night via Sydney and Haneda Airport in Tokyo - a journey he told us will take him around 30 hours! It will then be straight back to work without any time off or a break - how very Japanese.