Lucie Stern Community Center in Palo Alto turned into a cultural hub Sunday as the City of Palo Alto and its Neighbors Abroad program, with support from the Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco, threw a party to honor Palo Alto sister city Tsuchiura, Japan.
Origami, kimonos, anime, bonsai, sudoku and all-things Japanese were featured in the festival.
Mayor Koshi Nakagawa and City Council Chair Akira Orimoto of Tsuchiura were among the special guests, appearing at noon in a celebration ceremony with Palo Alto Mayor Pat Burt and former Mayor Yoriko Kishimoto.
The free event also featured activities and presentations including a silent auction, tea ceremonies and meditation led by a Zen priest, martial-arts demonstrations, dancing, art booths, films and games for kids.
Tsuchiura and Palo Alto became official sister cities in 2009 but have a relationship that dates back to 1993, when a student-exchange program started between the two municipalities.
Palo Alto's other five sister cities are Palo, Leyte, Philippines; Oaxaca, Mexico; Enschede, The Netherlands; Linkoping, Sweden; and Albi, France.