Eagle Point and Showa seem to develop a greater appreciation of each other with each visit. The visit by Mayor, Hidemitsu Kato, the superintendent of education ,Yoshiro Itabashi, and chair of the Showa assembly, Koichiro Takahashi, provided an even greater time to learn more about their village.
Showa is smaller than Eagle Point, with about 5,000 residents. It is a farming community. Lettuce, cabbage and other vegetables are prime crops. They have also developed a product they hope to market in the United States and after leaving the Upper Rogue area, they were Los Angeles bound to meet with prospective clients.
The Japanese people are very generous; in fact, overly generous. The city of Eagle Point and School District 9 have each received many beautiful keepsakes over the 14 years the exchange program has been in operation.
In addition to the kimonos, hand made doilies, colorful jackets worn in the parade, were among the gifts brought to the community.
Dinner at the Rogue River Lodge included a special tea ceremony for those who had not previously participated in it. It involved eating a candy made in Showa followed by cleansing with a special tea.
The one message that came across as each delegate spoke was, ”Come to Showa.” No official from the city of Eagle Point has visited Showa, although there has been some exchange with District 9 students and staff.
Students, chaperones and the superintendent of education will be in Eagle Point in August.
By Nancy Leonard
Of the Independent