On October 19, The Honorable Annise D. Parker, Mayor of the City of Houston and Consul-General of Japan, Jota Yamamoto co-hosted a tree planting ceremony to commemorate the Japan-U.S. Cherry Blossom Centennial and the planting of 20 cherry blossom saplings at the Japanese Garden in Hermann Park. The ceremony was attended by about 70 people such as the Honorable Wanda Adams, Council Member; representatives from the Houston Parks and Recreation Department; Houston Office of Protocol and International Affairs; Hermann Park Conservancy; Japan-America Society of Houston; Japan Business Association of Houston; Japanese American Citizens League; and Japanese Association of Greater Houston and Consular Corps.
In opening remarks Consul-General Yamamoto (link) communicated the appreciation felt by the Japanese community for Houston’s commitment to cultural diversities and their resolve to add to those diversities. Consul-General also expressed his thanks to Mayor Parker and the City Council Members for their strong support and attention to all the activities surrounding the cherry tree planting, the Japanese Garden, and the 40th anniversary of the sister-city relationship between Chiba City and Houston. To commemorate the occasion he presented Mayor Parker with a plaque and commemorative stamps.
Mayor Parker then offered remarks praising the first gift of cherry blossom trees from Japan which over 100 years have grown to be an integral part of the nation’s capital. She also shared her experience meeting Chiba City’s Mayor Kumagai in Houston in 2010 and her impression of his strong commitment to see the relationship between Houston and Chiba City continue to blossom and grow.
Following the Mayor’s remarks, Director Joe Turner of the Houston Parks and Recreational Department read the congratulatory letter from Mayor Kumagai of Chiba City. To conclude the ceremony, Mayor Parker, Consul-General Yamamoto, representatives from the city, and the Japanese organizations gathered around three of the newly planted trees for the ceremonial mulching.
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