Recently Sara and I were invited to visit one of Madison's sister cities, Obihiro Japan, to celebrate the ten year anniversary of our sister city relationship. Our trip was packed full of activity. We had the opportunity to meet with several Obihiro officials, among them were Mayor Norihisa Yonezawa, Congress Chairman Tadanaga Komori, and the President of Obihiro Chamber of Commerce Mr. Katsuhiro Takahashi.
There are actually several similarities that exist between our two cities: we are both located at 43 degrees latitude, we have comparable populations and weather, and Madison is home to four lakes while Obihiro hosts five lakes. Their international training center the Japan International Cooperation Agency, is also similar to our own University of Wisconsin-Madison in that it attracts people from diverse backgrounds and countries around the world.
We also had time to take in some sites such as the Obihiro Historical Museum, the Obihiro Library, as well as the Indoor Ice Speed Skating Race Track. We had the pleasure of touring the Obihiro University of Agriculture & Veterinary Medicine and enjoyed some wonderful meals along the way. I was particularly impressed with the many ways the people of Obihiro prepared the Chinese yam, a popular crop found in various dishes throughout Japan.
The trip was an excellent way to reaffirm the mission of our sister city program and share our respective cultures. I would like to thank Jo Oyama-Miller for her efforts in organizing our visit. Our hosts were extremely hospitable during our entire trip and we are looking forward to returning the favor when they come to visit our wonderful city this fall.