During our recent trip to Japan, my wife and I were asked to present Kameoka’s Award Certificate for our Overall Best Program award from Sister Cities International during ceremonies on Labor Thanksgiving Day, a national holiday Nov. 23.

That evening, we attended a dinner where a number of friends and acquaintances were present. There was one empty seat at our table which we learned was for Former Mayor Taniguchi.

He called the next week to apologize for his absence and to say he was coming to visit us. He drove nearly an hour to where we were staying in Kyoto and we had a wonderful hour and a half visit.

He told us the reason for his absence at the dinner was because he was in Shiga Prefecture, which is just to the east of Kyoto, involved in activities for the Emperor of Japan. We took that as a very valid reason for his absence at the dinner.

We were thrilled and very flattered that he took time to come and visit us and we had a wonderful visit. He is still always smiling, full of energy and very active at the young age of 89.

He sent his regards to the people of Stillwater. Most of the credit for the fact that we have a sister cities relationship with Kameoka goes to Mr. Taniguchi so he’s a very special friend. On behalf of the Stillwater Sister Cities Council, may you and yours have a very Merry Christmas.

Larry Jones is a member of the Stillwater Sister Cities Council.

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