Planting an evergreen pear tree in Ken Yasui Park on Tuesday morning kicked off a busy day for an eight-person delegation from Tracy’s sister city of Memuro, Japan.

The Japanese visitors, headed by Mayor Akira Teshima, arrived in Tracy on Monday afternoon and will leave Wednesday morning for the return trip to the city on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido.

The reason for their visit was to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the establishment of Tracy-Memuro sister city ties in 1989, said Judy Mizuno, vice president of the Sister City Association of Tracy.

She was master of ceremonies at Tuesday’s tree planting ceremony in the park named for the late Ken Yasui, the first president of the association.

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Yasui’s wife, Harriet, joined Memuro Mayor Teshima in placing the first shovelful of earth around the tree. Others present, including those from Memuro and Tracy residents involved with the Sister City Association, also took shovels in hand.

After the tree planting, the Memuro delegation visited nearby Hawkins School and then took a walking tour of downtown Tracy, stopping at the Grand Theatre Center for the Arts.

After lunch at the Casa Grande restaurant in the Tracy Inn, it was off to City Hall for a tour led by Assistant City Manager Midori Lichtwardt and then a visit to Tracy High School.

A Tuesday night potluck dinner ended the visit.

A Tracy delegation will travel to Japan in the summer of 2020 to take part in Memuro’s observance of the sister city program’s 30th anniversary.

Contact Sam Matthews at or 830-4234.

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