EDITORIAL: Sister city Abashiri’s dedication to Port Alberni something to honour

This week we welcome a delegation of students and adults from Abashiri, Japan

This week we welcome a delegation of students and adults from Abashiri, Japan—Port Alberni’s twin city. The two cities were declared Sister Cities in 1986, and have maintained a relationship ever since.

We believe this is a valuable relationship to keep, and to continue cultivating.

We live in a global society now, with interwebs shrinking our world. There are few places in the world that are inaccessible to humans now; with the way relations are going with our neighbours south of Canada’s border, it’s time we broaden our knowledge of other countries.

Having a twin city provides a welcoming way for our children to learn more about another culture, much as Abashiri has embraced Port Alberni’s culture. They celebrate Canada Day in our honour, and they have a Port Alberni fan club complete with a Facebook page and activities honouring our city and our twinning relationship.

While the Abashiri delegation arriving Jan. 9 is small—nine students plus chaperones—their visit is significant. Port Alberni has the opportunity to shine on a global level, showcasing who we are to representatives from another country. Abashiri is a city of 40,000 in Hokkaido, Japan with many parallels to the Alberni Valley, even if it is twice our size. There is a river that cuts through the city, a nearby lake and quasi-national park, agricultural land and the city is surrounded by hills.

Citizens in Abashiri have much respect for Port Alberni—it’s time we follow their example. Most importantly, this delegation’s visit gives us a chance to examine our own perception of our city, and adjust our attitude accordingly.

If residents of a country halfway around the world can celebrate Port Alberni, why can’t we?

The Port Alberni Twinning Society hopes to send a delegation of students and chaperones to Abashiri in July 2019. They are also looking for new members to join the society and maintain our relationship with Abashiri.

— Alberni Valley News

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