November 2003 - a celebration of two cities, two cultures
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Canberra Nara Sister City relationship, a diverse program of Japanese themed activities was presented in Canberra throughout November 2003. Canberra's arts and community organisations, the Embassy of Japan, the National Museum, the National Library, ScreenSound Australia and the National Botanic Gardens contributed to a progam of special events to mark the occasion of the 10th anniversary.
A highlight of the anniversary celebrations was the visit to Canberra by a citizen’s delegation from Nara. The 80-strong delegation was led by the then Mayor of Nara, Mr Yasunori Ohkawa.
ACT Chief Minister Mr Jon Stanhope MLA encouraged all Canberrans to participate in the sister city celebrations and to take the opportunity to learn about Nara, and to gain a deeper appreciation of Japan's rich and unique cultural heritage.
Chief Minister Mr Jon Stanhope MLA hosted a public welcome for the Nara delegation on Wednesday 12 November 2003 in Garema Place. Local school children performed a variety of traditional songs for the Nara citizen's delegation.
As one of the key 10th anniversary events, Canberra-based Mirramu Dance Company were commissioned to develop and present a performance at the Canberra Theatre on 13 November 2003. ‘Silk and Sun’, pictured left, was a visually stunning, contemporary dance production which explored as its theme the symbolic and mythical connections between Canberra and Nara.
Friendship 'fun run'
Keen to support friendly competition and goodwill between the people of Canberra and Nara, some of Canberra's elite athletes, school children and citizens of Nara participated in a Friendship 'fun run' on 14 November 2003.
A community health promotion event, the Friendship Fun Run encouraged Nara citizens and Canberrans to come together to enjoy some of Canberra’s finest scenery on the Lake Burley Griffin foreshores.
The Fun Run circuit was from Canberra Nara Park over Commonwealth Bridge and around the Lake to the National Museum and back again. The ACT Academy of Sport led a warm up session for participants at the commencement of the event and representatives of Healthpact were also on site offering tips on healthy living. The Fun Run culminated with an 'Aussie' style barbeque lunch and concert in Canberra Nara Park.
All participants were invited to relax and enjoy an 'Aussie' barbeque in Canberra Nara Park after completing the Fun Run. The ACT Senior Concert Band, having recently returned from a concert tour to Nara, entertained crowds assembled in the Park.
A plaque unveiling
A plaque was unveiled at Canberra Nara Park in honour of the citizens of Nara who contributed generously to the ACT Bushfire Recovery Appeal. The donation of $150,000 from the citizens, the Nara City Government and Nara City Council was among the most significant received, and was given during a time of relative austerity in Japan.
Nara citizens met with representatives of the Bushfire Taskforce and Canberra residents effected by the bushfires.