May 15, 2004

Japanese City Councillors Visit Byrne Creek

Byrne Creek Streamkeepers hosted a group of seven city councillors from Okayama City in Japan this morning. They were in Vancouver and Burnaby on an unofficial visit and wanted to meet a volunteer group working on environmental issues.

It was interesting to see a group of men in suits with nearly no English-language abilities loosen up and have a great morning with a bunch of T-shirt clad streamkeepers. We are fortunate to count two Japanese volunteers in our group, Maho Hayashi, and my wife Yumi, who helped AK Travel Canada Ltd. owner Masaaki Kawabata interpret throughout the morning.

Our visitors quickly shed their ties as we explored the creek, and initial awkwardness on both sides blossomed into animated exchanges of questions and answers about storm drains vs sanitary sewer systems, flap gates and tides, city contributions and volunteer work, and even some mutual "testing" of playground equipment and a seesaw in Ron McLean park.

We presented our guests with our own brochure, a City of Burnaby storm drains brochure, and a Japanese-language streamkeeping synopsis and history of Byrne Creek prepared by Yumi and Maho.

Louise Towell and Joan Carne, streamkeepers and founders of the Stream of Dreams Murals Society, gave each councillor a small dreamfish. We were also pleasantly surprised when they all bought Byrne Creek Streamkeeper T-shirts!

This was the second time that Byrne Creek Streamkeepers have hosted a group from Japan through Masaaki's auspices, and we'd like to thank him.

Posted by Paul at May 15, 2004 06:59 PM