The sister city delegation of three Chiba City Council Members, Hon. Hiroaki Kawamura, Hon. Toshiyuki Ogawa and Hon. Satoshi Abe, came to Houston from April 11 to 16, 2014. Since 1972, Chiba City has the sister city relationship with Houston. The main purpose of the visit was to donate the official Chiba City flower, the "Oga Lotus" roots to Houston, where its sprout and blossoms will be carefully taken care of at Hermann Park, including the Japanese Garden. The first “Oga Lotus” grew and bloomed with large pink flowers from ancient lotus seeds which was discovered in an ancient geological layer of Chiba City in 1951. Dating of the lotus revealed that it was a type of ancient lotus that existed roughly 2000 years ago. The official donation ceremony was held at the opening of the Japan Festival at Hermann Park on the morning of Saturday, April 12th. The ceremony also celebrated the one hundredth anniversary of Hermann Park, which was created in 1914 thanks to Mr. George H. Hermann, Board of Parks Commissioner.
On April 15th, the delegation visited the Houston City Council meeting. During the session, Mayor Parker declared the day to be "Houston-Chiba Friendship Day" and presented the delegation the Proclamation. Earlier on the same day, they had a friendly and convivial meeting with two Houston Council Members, Hon. Richard Nguyen and Hon. David Robinson.
Thanks to the cooperation of both the city of Houston and in particular the Japan America Society of Houston, the Chiba delegation also visited three Japanese companies based in Greater Houston area, as well as the University of Texas School of Dentistry during their stay.