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Saiki City visit 2011
A delegation of Council staff, the Mayor and community representatives are in Saiki City as part of a visit to mark the 15th anniversary of the signing of the formal declaration of friendship between the two centres.
Cr Sellers said the visit marked an important milestone in the shared history of the Sister Cities.
Saiki City Visit - Day 1
A royal reception, the meeting of Mayors, a tour of a waste recyling plant and a tree planting ceremony at Kangaroo Park were the hightights of the first full day of the Sister City visit.
Saiki City Visit - Day 2
The Gladstone contingent started its second full day in Saiki City by splitting into two groups.
Jason, accompanied by Gladstone Industry Leadership Group Chief Executive Officer Kurt Heidecker and official translator for the Gladstone group Izumi Kearns, observed Mr Matsumoto and his team at work in the kitchen, and discussed many topics including food preparation and presentation, staffing, and the use of local produce.
Saiki City Visit - Day 3,4
The Gladstone Regional Council delegation said goodbye to new friends at the Sister City 15 Years Anniversary Ceremony at the Kinsuien hotel's events room on Wednesday night.
The Gladstone visitors were guests of honour at a generous banquet, with traditional Japanese dancing and performance adding to a memorable final night in Saiki City.
Gladstone Mayor Gail Sellers and her Saiki City counterpart Yasuyoshi Nishijima were among those to speak at the ceremony, both emphasising that the visit, although short, had done much to consolidate the Sister City friendship shared by the two centres.
There was an exchange of gifts between Saiki City and Gladstone Region representatives with Cr Sellers accepting a magnificent ceremonial mask created by a master craftsman which will be placed on display at the Gladstone Regional Council Civic Centre upon the delegation's return.
The Gladstone group was also persuaded to take to the stage to deliver a rendition of Waltzing Matilda.
Rocksalt Restaurant and Lounge Bar owner and head chef Jason Faint rose early Thursday morning to spend time at the restaurant owned by Mayor Nishijima, adding to valuable experience gained on the visit.
The formal component of the visit was also completed on Thursday morning when Saiki City Council representatives, including Mayor Nishijima, were joined by other locals the Gladstone delegation had befriended in attending a farewell ceremony for the Gladstone party.
The two groups parted ways confident that the bond between the two centres would continue to prosper and that valuable contacts had been forged by the visit.
Formalities completed, the Gladstone group began its journey to Fukuoka Airport, and were delighted to visit to Beppu and its astonishing geothermal hot springs and a geyser, on the way.
Having taken in the sights at Beppu, it was then back on the bus for the remainder of the journey to Fukuoka.
The Gladstone delegation continued its Japanese education with a visit to the Dazaifutenmangu shrine and the Kyushu National Musuem on Friday morning before departing Fukuoka Airport on their long return trip to Gladstone.