Preparing for Sakura Festival 2012

The leaves have turned autumn colors and are falling from the trees but we are thinking of the cherry blossoms in the spring as our committee meets to plan the 2012 Sakura Festival at Clark College, Vancouver, WA. The new Royce Pollard Friendship Garden is under construction on the campus. It was named by the Chihiro Kanagawa, President & CEO of Shin-Etsu Chemical Company and parent company of Vancouver’s SEH America and donor of $1 million to create a Japanese garden on the site. Royce Pollard was mayor of Vancouver from 1996 to 2010 and very involved in developing the relationship with Japan for America’s Vancouver. He welcomed the Mayor of Mihama-cho Japan and visitors from the hometown of the first Japanese to visit Vancouver in 1934, a castaway named Otokichi. He also visited Vancouver’s sister city Joyo and many exchange visitors from the sister city over the years. SEH America is the largest Japanese company in southwest Washington and Mayor Pollard worked closely with SEH to expand their operations and create new jobs over the years so it was in view of these contributions that Mr. Kanagawa honored him with the naming of the new Japanese garden. The Sakura Festival is held annual to commemorate Vancouver’s ties with Japan and recognized the gift of 100 Japanese Cherry Trees that were gifted to the college by John Kageyama, former president of American Kotobuki on Earth Day 1990 – see http://www.clark.edu/special/sakura/history.php

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