The Bloomington Sister City Organization (BSCO) hosted its annual Taste of Japan on Saturday, March 24, 2012 at the Minneapolis/Bloomington Hilton. The theme for the 2012 fundraiser and dinner was the Year of the Dragon, from the zodiac cycle, and featured a silent auction, music by CODA, Sansei Yonsei Kai dance group, and a sword demonstration. Tabletops were decorated with dragons, a symbol of renewal, and large kites, from Mr. Kite, hung from the ceiling.
The event is the organizations main fundraiser. The money raised will be used to host and entertain the Izumi student delegation of twelve, ten students and two chaperones, visiting in spring. Corinne Shepherd is the current BSCO president and is very excited about the visitors.
This year’s special auction items included a Minnesota Valley Country Club social membership, a Toro snow blower, Crave gift cards, and a very unique and historical Japanese Garden print by watercolorist and architect Francis R. Meisch. The print was number 2 of 200 and was presented to Dale Lorenz, the first Normandale Community College president in 1984. Dale Lorenz passed away in 2005. His surviving wife, Lora Lorenz, was a strong supporter of the Japanese Gardens. She recently visited Bloomington and attended a Sister City Organization meeting. Afterwards she decided to donate the print to the organization and shipped it from her home in Oregon. Mark Geier of Larkin Hoffman and a BSCO member is the new owner and plans to display it in his office.
Attending with her host family was student teacher Reiko Miyazato, from Izumi, Japan. She teaches Japanese at Jefferson and Kennedy High School and will return to Izumi after the 2012 school year. About teaching Japanese in the United States, Miyazato said, “I get to know how different Japanese and American students are. I get to see how they get involved with clubs and activities.” Miyazato was also an exchange student in the 2008-09 school year and attended Jefferson High School.
More information about the Bloomington Sister City Organization as well as photos from Izumi can be found on its website.
Click on pictures to enlarge.