Longtime friends bowed to each other as they gathered at Tyler’s Town Hall.
The friends were more than a dozen from Yachiyo, Japan, which has been Tyler’s sister city for 27 years.
The delegation arrived on a bus driven by motorcade to City Hall, where City Council, staff and representatives of the Tyler Sister Cities program greeted them.
The crowd then proceeded to the city council chamber for a series of speeches and gift exchanges.
Mayor Tomonori Hattori and Yachiyo City Sister Cities President Kimitaka Kobayashi presented the gifts for the Japanese delegation and City Councilor Don Warren and Tyler Sister Cities President Russ Jackson presented for Tyler.
Tyler received several Japanese artworks, including a painting of a swan and a wall scroll. Yachiyo received decorative roses.
State Representative Matt Schaefer, R-Tyler, also sent a commemorative certificate and a triangle-folded Texas flag for the Yachiyo delegation.
Jackson thanked the delegation for their visit and reflected on the time he spent in Yachiyo in 2017 as part of the program.
“You treated us like we were family,” Jackson said. “Some things I will never forget.”
He also joked that he was treated to many different foods, some of which he would never eat again.
Kobayashi recognized Tyler’s history in growing roses and the long history of the Sister Cities International organization.
Kobayashi said President Dwight D. Eisenhower created it because he believed that meeting cities would be “the best way to promote world peace.”
Yachiyo is a city in the region of Chiba Prefecture and had a population of around 200,000 in 2015.
The city is a dormitory community for Tokyo. The Pearl Musical Instrument Company is headquartered in Yachiyo.
Yachiyo’s delegation will be in Tyler until Monday and attend the Texas Rose Festival.
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