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Sister Cities - Santa Barbara and Toba

Sister City Anniversary Celebration

Dec. 16 - Two beautiful communities on the Pacific Coast, Toba City in Mie Prefecture and Santa Barbara in my home state of California, celebrated 45 years of friendship as sister cities last month.

During these decades, each city also has proudly shared cultural representatives with the other, creating a sense of kinship between the citizens of Japan and the United States. They have also exchanged delegations of students so that their young people could develop friendships on the other side of the ocean.

A friend of mine who lives in Santa Barbara told me that nearly half a century of mutual goodwill has yielded close personal bonds between residents in these two cities. She explained that in 1990, after Santa Barbara suffered a devastating fire in the surrounding mountains, the residents of Toba raised money to help its American sister city replant their forests. She also told me that this year residents of Santa Barbara citizens held fund raising events to assist their friends in Toba rebuild the fishing fleet that had been damaged by the Tsunami on March 11.

Both Toba City (left) and Santa Barbara (right) are on the Pacific Ocean coast.

After my friend told me about her hometown's efforts to foster international understanding through the Santa Barbara-Toba sister city relationship, I congratulated her for these efforts. It is through such grassroots activities that the friendship between our two countries remains so strong.

Until next time,



Dear James Zumwalt,

It is very sad to learn that you left Japan. I enjoy reading your blogs ever since you had started.

When you will visit Osaka again, please let me know your schedule in advance.

Enjoy happy holidays !!

I agree with you that everyone deserves a second chance. Sometimes that person given a chance is better than the previous person he/she before. Not all has given a chance and if one of us will be given such, will we have to make the most out of it.

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