CHEERS: Tazuko McLaren (right) and some of the delegation from Katano City, Japan, enjoying lunch/drinks at Councillor Susan Meehan’s Ballina home.
CHEERS: Tazuko McLaren (right) and some of the delegation from Katano City, Japan, enjoying lunch/drinks at Councillor Susan Meehan’s Ballina home.

Visitors adapt quickly

THE latest cultural exchange between Ballina and its Japanese sister city, Katano City (Osaka), began over lunch hosted by Councillor Susan Meehan at her home.


While chopsticks were in use by some for tackling sandwiches as well as sushi, the 17-strong delegation from Katano City showed that they were adapting quickly to Australian habits, with most of the men gathering to eat outside around the barbecue seating while the women sat inside to eat and chat.


“We want our exchanges to not just be about young people,” said Tazuko McLaren, Japanese Student Liaison Officer for Southern Cross University.


“This is an over-65 group of tennis players. Some have hosted our Australian students and a couple have been out here before.”


While the group tucked into lunch, Tazuko explained the busy itinerary planned for the delegation, which had only arrived the day before.


“They spent last (Thursday) night on the Gold Coast and they have another night up there before they fly out next Tuesday (April 20).


“After lunch we are planting a cherry blossom in a nearby park and tomorrow morning they’re playing tennis with the local club, which will also host a morning tea and barbecue lunch.


“Then they are having a Richmond River cruise and lunch on Sunday at the Ramada Hotel.”


Last year Katano City hosted two visits from Ballina delegations.


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