The Izu-shi Friendship Society (formerly the Nelson – Shuzenji Friendship Society), is celebrating its 25th anniversary as a sister city with Izu, Japan.
The society which began in 1987 as an economic and cultural exchange between Nelson and Shuzenji is mainly now a cultural exchange.
The Izu-shi Friendship Society now maintains the garden at Cottonwood Falls Park, hosts Japanese students and adults in a homestay program in Nelson, which is struggling right now. The society also sends students and adults from Nelson to Izu in the spring, and although this has not happened for the last five years, because of various problems in the world, most recently the tsunami and nuclear power plant failure. There is hope that this program will get back on track with some new members.
The Izu Peninsula is approximately two hours from Tokyo and five to six hours from the Onagawa, Japan.
The largest part of what the society does is the organization of the homestay program. This requires a lot of time and volunteer work. The greatest reward from this is the long lasting friendships that develop and stay forever.
“I have been fortunate enough to go to Shuzenji twice 1990 and 1995 with the Kootenay Kiltie Pipe Band promoting Canada and the City of Nelson,” said society member Bruce Walgren. “The friendships I made during those two trips still carry on today.”
The society is looking for new volunteer members who would like to help maintain the Garden at Cottonwood Falls Park, learn about the Japanese culture, the people, language and the country and share the Nelson/Canadian culture with some new friends.
They will be holding their annual general meeting on February 28 at 7 p.m. in the Nelson Fire Hall meeting room. For more information contact Bruce Walgren at 250-352-7110 or email email@example.com.