Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Japanese Sister Region Visit

Madison County, Kentucky and Hokuto City, Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan
have a unique Sister Region program. 
This year the group is celebrating the 25th year of the program.
Each year, the Japanese Delegation visits Kentucky in May,
and the Kentucky Delegation visits Japan in October.
For the last umpteen years, GJ, AJ and I hosted the Madison County Committee and the Japanese Delegation at a Welcome Reception on the day of arrival.
This year they arrived Tuesday, May 8 and departed Saturday, May 12.
This reception and dinner took place at the Berea office of Delta Natural Gas.
The Kentucky hosts and Japanese delegates introduce themselves and tell a bit about their connection to the program. 
Wednesday was spent visiting Richmond, the county seat of Madison County.
Dinner was hosted by Eastern Kentucky University.
Thursday was filled with a day of visiting Berea, including lunch at Boone Tavern Hotel hosted by Berea College.  
On Thursday evening, Peoples Bank of Madison County entertained the group at a special dinner at the Great Saltpetre Cave in nearby Rockcastle County.
The cave visit and dinner was a very unique experience for everyone
AJ is in the photo above, and I am in the photo below with
 several members of the Japanese Delegation.
A delicious dinner was catered by a local caterer. 
The buffet dinner and tables were set for 100 guests in the
Great Hall of the historic Great Saltpetre Cave.

Berea folk singer Jennifer Rose entertained after dinner with her Appalachian Dulcimer.
A very special tour was led through parts of the cave by volunteer preservationists. 
Saltpetre from this cave was used to make gunpowder during the War of 1812.
After a day of hiking and touring at Natural Bridge State Park and a visit to Madison County's
the farewell dinner and party was sponsored by the Madison County International Committee
on Friday evening.
After a casual BBQ dinner, the Kentuckians and Japanese friends
celebrated with a performance of Bluegrass music and
traditional Appalachian and Japanese dances around the campfire.
Do you see AJ dancing with our Japanese friends in the photo below? 
What a fun and busy week for everyone involved!

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