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David Kelts | Spring — Where were our Japanese friends?

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World photo/Mike Bonnicksen Misawa Mayor Kazumasa Taneichi smiles in 2011 as he sits behind the controls of a 1973 Ciabria on display at the ninth annual Wings and Wheels Festival. He was with the Misawa delegation visiting the Wenatchee Valley.

It was very strange to have Apple Blossom time without our Japanese sister city guests from Misawa, Japan. I felt like I should have been scheduling tours of the area, visiting local schools and watching Misawa students and city delegates in our parades. However, I do understand they have decided to cut back to one visit a year in order to provide more financial help for their students wishing to visit the Wenatchee Valley. We sure look forward to 10 students and eight adult delegates who plan to visit us for Wings and Wheels this fall! They will then visit for Apple Blossom in 2015.

Meanwhile, we have 16 delegates, including five students and 11 adults, from here getting ready to visit Japan in August. My wife Judy and I will begin orientation meetings in June. We’ll encourage our delegates to practice basic Japanese phrases and learn about Japanese customs and geography. We know that the best part of the trip will be the time with families in Misawa. Our Wenatchee Valley delegates will be ready to share meals, enjoy the Misawa countryside and understand the differences that will make this such a special trip.

I want to say a special thank you to our volunteers who are already working to prepare for the Wings and Wheels visit. Since our association is run and supported by volunteers, we all should thank our sister city members and Wenatchee Valley companies who support the Sister City Association with their memberships and efforts to welcome Japanese visitors. The Wenatchee Valley Misawa Sister City Association was created to focus attention on the flight of the Miss Veedol and to strengthen the friendship between Misawa and the Wenatchee Valley. Our special and ongoing relationship with Misawa enriches everyone here and there. Just ask anyone who has hosted Japanese friends or visited Misawa as a delegate.

For more information, please check our web site at

David Kelts is the president of the Wenatchee Valley Misawa Sister City Association. He can be reached at