STILLWATER, Okla. — The Sister Cities Council has connected Stillwater with Kameoka, Japan, since 1985 and encourages activities that focus on cultural enrichment and friendly relations with the international community. Larry Jones, chair of the Stillwater Sister Cities Council, answered questions about the relationship with Kameoka and plans for the future.
1 Why did Stillwater partner with Kameoka, Japan, as a sister city?
After Kyoto Prefecture and Oklahoma became Sister States in the spring of 1985, Kameoka requested a sister city in Oklahoma. Stillwater looked like a perfect match and when asked if we were interested, Stillwater said “Yes.”
2 It’s been nearly 30 years since the first delegations were sent. What have the benefits of being partnered with Kameoka been?
Understanding and appreciation of Japaneses culture and customs, friendships and economic benefits from the former OSU-K in Kamoeka that brought some 500 Japanese students to OSU.
3 How often is Stillwater in contact with Kameoka, and what does that entail?
It depends on the time, but almost always at least monthly with the exchange of emails, newsletters, student art, etc. When a delegation is traveling from one city to the other, the exchanges of information may be several times a week.
4 Is there anything big being planned for the 30th anniversary of the first delegations, either here or in Kameoka?
Active planning has not started yet, but hopefully it will start in a few months. The chair of the Sister Cities Council had a meeting with Kameoka’s mayor in Kameoka in 2012 and he purposed an exchange of delegations every 10th anniversary.
5 What does Kameoka have to offer to people from Stillwater?
Kameoka has much to offer visitors, whether from abroad or from elsewhere in Japan. It’s an old castle town; it offers boat rides through the Hozu River Gorge; it has the “Romantic Train” ride through the mountains into Kyoto; and it has a well-known hot springs resort area.