Sister city affiliation 20th anniversary, 2005

Kahoku delegation visits Messkirch to mark the 20th anniversary of sister city affiliation (September 30 to October 6, 2005)

October 2, 2005 was the 20th anniversary of the sister city affiliation between the city of Messkirch and the city of Kahoku (formerly the town of Unoke). To mark this occasion, a delegation of 26 people, including Mayor Aburano who headed the group, visited Messkirch. For most of the participants it was their first visit to Germany, and for a few their first trip overseas.

After the arrival at Zurich Airport the group traveled to Messkirch where the introduction ceremony (picture 1) with the 13 host families that would accommodate the visitors in groups of two took place.

As an anniversary present, the Japanese guests gave a reproduction of the Kotoji stone lantern of Kenrokuen Garden in Kanazawa, one of the most famous gardens in Japan. It was dedicated on the morning of October 2 in the Messkirch Castle garden (pictures 2 and 3). Furthermore, the dedication of a stone tablet took place. As a sign of the continuous friendship between the two cities it was installed on the outer wall of the Messkirch Castle garden next to the stone plate that was built 20 years ago in memory of the sister city affiliation (picture 4). As an anniversary present from Messkirch an identical stone tablet had previously been sent to Kahoku.

The official sister city affiliation anniversary festivities took place on the evening of October 2 in the festival room of Messkirch Castle (picture 5). In addition to commemorative speeches, the entertainment program featured modern dances by the students of Martin Heidegger Grammar School and traditional Japanese dances presented by the visitors.

The activities during the stay were comprised of many cultural experiences and sightseeing. In addition to visiting various facilities in Messkirch like the St. Martin church and the Heidegger Museum (picture 6), a German-Japanese friendship soccer match was held (picture 7). When hearing an explanation about the German educational system during a school visit, the Japanese were quite surprised (picture 8). The Japanese guests also got the chance to explore the surrounding area of Messkirch. By visiting the Open-Air Museum in Neuhausen ob Eck the guests learned about the history of the area. The guests also enjoyed the scenic beauty of the Danube valley and a visit to a local distillery.
Further sightseeing highlights were trips to Mainau Island, the Black Forest and to the city of Heidelberg. The Japanese guests were particularly impressed by the beauty of Heidelberg Castle.

In return for the German hospitality shown to them, the guests from Japan performed a cultural program. Among other things, the Japanese tea mistresses dressed in kimonos and celebrated a tea ceremony in traditional fashion using original items they had brought with them from Japan and offering Japanese tea and traditional sweets (picture 9).

After eight exciting days far away from home, and with suitcases full of memories, the party returned to their home town of Kahoku on October 7, 2005. For the citizens of both cities this visit will certainly be an unforgettable experience.

1 Welcome ceremony2 Dedication of the Kotoji stone lantern3 Mayors Aburano and Zwick at the lantern4 Mayors Aburano and Zwick at the stone plate5 Anniversary festivities at Messkirch castle6 At the Martin Heidegger Museum7 Friendship soccer match8 At the Martin Heidegger Grammar School9 Tea ceremony
10 Group photo