HANAMI season

Two ways to share ‘hanami’ (blossom viewing)
Tonight 4/3/21 at 6pm PDT with Tokuzenji in Shimane Prefecture, Japan, with Okinawan music and Shamisen performance by Kyle Abbott on sjbetsuin.videos on the Betsuin YouTube Channel (You can find a link here too: http://sjbetsuin.com)

And – Go in person to a local park! The Consulate of Japan in San Francisco created and published this video just this week! https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=4041979872536631Grab some snacks and your favorite drink and join in!

The Japanese Friendship Garden

at Kelley Park in San Jose, CA – The garden is a symbol of the friendship between Okayama and San Jose. Groundbreaking was in May 1960.

“Two years later- detailed plans for the garden, patterned after Okayama’s world famous Kōraku-en Park (後楽園) were approved by the city council of San Jose. Authenticity of design was a foremost consideration; and in the planning and construction special attention was paid to the traditional and symbolic meaning attached to the placement of rock, bridges and other features. Construction funds were budgeted by the city council, and these were generously supplemented by donations from various sources of money, materials and services.

The park was dedicated October-31, 1965, at a memorable program which marked also the eighth anniversary of the “sister city” affiliation. Among those present at the dedicatory ceremonies were Mayor and Mrs. Hirao Akazaki of Okayama.” (- these paragraphs are quoted here from city history of the sister city relationship)


Walking Map Brochure – created by “Friends of the Japanese Friendship Garden” led by Aderyn Clark for her Girl Scout Gold Award Project 2020-2021

Friends of the JFG Volunteer Day Jan 2021

Volunteers gathered at the Japanese Friendship Garden on January 16, 2021 for the first Volunteer Day in the garden in 2021!

Twenty-seven volunteers who had signed up beforehand through the Eventbrite link), wearing facemarks and able to distance while working, cleared about 15-20 years of green waste and 1500 feet of fence line before tacking weeks and grass along the smoke tree hill, removing redwood chip to spread it outside the fence and worked on the stay weeds and thistles popping up in the garden.

We all thank you for doing so much work and the Friends of the JFG to make the Garden a good place to go!

Subnational Global Young Professionals Forum

The first – USA-Japan Subnational Global Young Professionals Forum
San Jose, CA & JCI Okayama, Japan
November 12, 2020

Hosted by KIF Japan and JCI Japan with Subnational Collaboration from San Jose-Okayama Sister Cities. A set of six forums between USA cities and six cities in Japan will round out the first Young Professionals Forums. A report generated from discussion in these forums will be submitted to the Office of the Prime Minister of Japan through CULCON Japan and to the Office of the President of the United States of America through CULCON USA.

Bells for Peace: 8/5/20 Hiroshima event photos and article-Next is 8/8/20 Nagasaki

Thank you to KTVU Jana Katsuyama, Jon Kawamoto (SJ Mercury New) and Photojournalist Dai Sugano from the SJ Mercury News)

Here is a link to the San Jose Mercury News article published today: https://www.mercurynews.com/2020/08/06/throughout-bay-area-bells-ring-on-75th-anniversary-of-hiroshima-bombing/

And the video of Bells for Peace August 5. 2020 in San Jose 4:15 PDT is on the SJBetsuin Videos YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYMMKnmEK2k

Thank you to all those who viewed and participated!
This may and should become an annual event. What do you think?

Bells for Peace

on August 5th, San Jose-Okayama Sister Cities joins 50 (fifty) cities throughout the USA and thirteen prefectures in Japan in commemoration of 75 years of peace following the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan. The nuclear weapon was dropped on Hiroshima at 8:15am on August 6th. Japan, being 16 hours ahead of us here on the West Coast, USA, we will be ringing simultaneously here (Aug 5th, 4:15pm PDT) and in Japan (Aug 6th, 8:15am).

Tokuzenji in Oda City, Shimane Prefecture, Japan will be ringing their temple bell simultaneously with San Jose (on Zoom) and others in San Jose will be joining us.

The event will be on the SJBetsuin Video YouTube channel (access here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNzzDwOSv9YWh7nNfh1IjGw

In this time of the COVID19 world pandemic, it is good to remember that we are still working with our friends everywhere around the world through sister cities to become a peaceful collaboration of culture and community.

Bell Ringing for Peace

Team Japan of Sister Cities International is organizing something nationwide between USA and sister cities in Japan for peace. In remembrance of the 75th Anniversary of the Nuclear Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to remind us that this should never happen again, everyone is invited to ring bells, at home, in your city, whoever you are.

Our sister cities in Japan will be ringing bells at the same moment in time, literally creating good vibrations across the Pacific.

The dates are Aug 5th and Aug 7th in the USA.
Please look to this website for more detailed information after July 4th, so that we can make a joyful noise together!

Where We Are (with others)

The Sister City movement started after WWII when transgressions of race, ethnicity within the USA and atrocities were committed in wartime around the world. The idea was to promote familiarity and exchange between citizens in the USA and other cities, one by one, around the world.

As we look at the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic today, we are brought back to the point, once again, quite emphatically, that we are just that – all human, all one, in a hopefully mutually beneficial relationship with spaceship earth.

As systemic racism is once again brought to the fore in the USA and again, around the world, we know that the incremental challenges faced by us all will necessitate both large, massive change and small, incremental changes throughout our way of life, our thinking, ourselves.

These challenges are known as we’ve faced them before.
Having the wisdom of those who have led us before encourages, supports, allows breathing to resume.

Here are two statements from San Jose-Okayama Sister Cities Honorary Advisor, Secretary Norman Y. Mineta. He writes these statements as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Japanese-American National Museum in Los Angeles, CA.

On Black Lives Matter
http://www.janm.org/press/release/500/

On Justice Bradley’s comments about Korematsu
http://www.janm.org/press/release/499/

His should not be the only words spoken. We must, with our own words and more importantly with our actions, put ourselves forward as citizen diplomats with our friends around the world.

Stay Safe and Be Well.
😷