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.