Strengthening the relationship between Aichi and Victoria
Aichi Prefecture and the State of Victoria first became sister-states in 1980, and have since enjoyed various cultural exchanges between the states, including staff deployment and training.
(For reference, please see ‘Visit to Victoria by Mr Hideaki Ohmura, Governor of Aichi Prefecture, Japan‘).
This year commemorates the 35th year of the sister-state relationship. To commemorate this important anniversary, both Aichi and Victoria have held celebratory events.
On the 25th of August, the Aichi-Victoria 35th Anniversary of the Sister-State Relationship was held at the Sofitel Hotel in Melbourne. The reception was hosted by the Vice-Governor of Aichi and was attended by members of the Victorian government, the Consulate-General of Japan for Melbourne, delegations from cities in Aichi, delegates of companies with headquarters in Aichi, representatives from sister schools, as well as previous and past exchange students.
The reception opened at 6pm. The host for the night was the Australian-born Aichi resident Chris Glenn, who works as a radio announcer. Chris also participated in the 30th anniversary celebrations five years ago,.
The ceremony was opened with a video introducing the close relationship between Aichi and Victoria.
The opening addresses were given by Senta Morioka, the Vice-Governor of Aichi, and Gavin Jennings, the Special Minister of State for Victoria. The speeches conveyed not only words of celebration, but also hopes to continue the Aichi-Victoria partnership into the future and promote further interaction.
The anniversary was used as an opportunity to strengthen the academic relationships between the two states with an academic agreement between Aichi Prefectural University, Deakin University and Swinburne University. This was conducted through a signing ceremony.
Following this was the exchanging of a framed plaque between the Aichi Prefectural Assembly and Victorian Parliament. This was a symbol of the friendship between the two states. Takashige Sugiura, the Aichi Prefectural Assembly’s vice-chairperson, presented Telmo Languiller (Speaker of the Victorian Legislative Assembly) with a commemoration plaque that featured Mt Fuji.
Bruce Atkinson, President of the Victorian Legislative Council, presented Mr Sugiura with a plaque featuring rabbitear iris (a flower of Aichi), pink heath (a flower of Victoria), and the Japanese characters for ‘thirty-five’.
After the presentation of plaques, there was a commemorative photo taken with all guests.
Adam Cunneen, Commissioner for Japan for the Victorian State Government, gave the toast. The guests were able to mingle as food was offered throughout the venue.
The menu was under the supervision of Ikuei Arakane, who was a chef at Taxi Dining Restaurant when it won Best Restaurant of the Year in 2006, and filled with special products from both Aichi and Victoria. Aichi’s local cuisine available on the night included kishimen, hitsumabushi, miso katsu and Aichi’s specialty miso in a sauce with boiled daikon.
Aichi’s local sake, ‘Houraisen‘ was also available in the venue. Both the menu and the sake livened up the guests’ conversations.
At the end of the night, there was a piano and guitar performance by students from Nossal High School. Aichi and Victoria implemented a staff exchange project this year, and Nossal High School was the first school to receive a teacher from Aichi. The students performed one piece each, receiving a great reception from the full-house audience.
The Aichi-Victoria 35th Anniversary Reception came to an end at 8pm. It was a huge success. And yet, the exchange between Aichi and Victoria is anything but over – rather, it will continue for many years to come.