I have said before that Salem MA and Ota ku, a city in Tokyo Metropolis, are sister cities. Assure that that is not just a name, both cities have an organization to keep the relationship alive and active. In Salem, it is the Salem Ota Cultural Exchange. In Ota, it is the Ota Salem Club. They keep in constant contact, and jointly plan tours and other activities.
The Salem organization meets monthly, while Ota’s meets four times a year. The most recent meeting was last night.
I was invited to join the meeting after the business session, when a great spread of food was brought in. Perhaps 18, maybe 20, members were present. The total membership is around 150, I am told.
Erin Dolan, President of the Salem organization, kindly sent me a letter to deliver at the meeting. I read a sentence at a time, and Atsuko Ebisawa was kind enough to repeat the sentence in Japanese, [sometime she went well beyond what I said; I presume she was providing background explanation.
Anyway, it was very well received.
Many club members have been very helpful in getting me settled in Japan. I am deeply grateful. I especially thank Zen Yamada san for so many things I can even begin to name them – and to Atsuko Ebisawa san and Ikuyo Suuki san for help in many ways, including furnishing my apartment.