The Twin Cities in East Texas -, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

The Twin Cities in East Texas

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Tyler has four sisters, and one of them just turned 20. We are, of course, talking about Sister Cities International.

Yachiyo City, Japan has been "twinned" with Tyler since 1992, and sent over two dozen Yachiyo residents half way around the globe to celebrate with us.

"Now therefore I, Barbara Bass, Mayor of the City of Tyler, do hereby declare October 18, 2012, as Yachiyo and Tyler sister cities day," proclaimed the mayor in the city council chambers.

Yachiyo City and Tyler have been twins for the past 20 years, so of course gifts were in order, as well as the exchange of all kinds of information. There are similarities between the cities.

"Natural beauty is very similar in Yachiyo and Tyler, and also the citizen's hearts are very warm here and there," Tony Tadasa translated for the Yachiyo Mayor, Toshiro Toyoda.

Climates, roses and even azaleas are also shared and even kids, like ten high school students who made the trip with the delegation. Senior Wakana Imaizumi was calm and cool during her speech to many officials from 8,700 miles apart.

But, as you might expect:

"Her heart was bouncing," Tony Tadasa translated for Wakana.

She's young. She can take it, along with a lot of pictures.

After the planting of a symbolic tree at City Hall, it was time for the big picture which took a lot less time than I thought it would.

And soon would come what is arguably the most important part of the trip:

"Barbeque," admitted Wakana.

"Barbeque, yes of course," Tony Tadasa translated for the Yachiyo Mayor Toyoda.

That's yet another commonality between nations.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower started the Sister Cities International project in 1956.

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