LIHUE — Mayor Derek Kawakami interrupted his preparations for the opening of the Legislature to receive a courtesy visit by Fujisawa City Assembly councilman Mitsuru Miyato Monday.
“Councilman Miyato is here for just two days,” said former mayor Maryanne Kusaka. “He came to scatter his father’s ashes. My main task is to introduce him to Mayor Kawakami which was another of his trip’s goals.”
Miyato’s father is no stranger to Kauai, having visited the island and hosting Kusaka on visits to Japan.
“He fell in love with Kauai, and brought Darryl and Leilani Low along with several dancers from Halau Hula o Leilani to Japan to start the Mokihana Festival there,” said Kusaka. “To have him have his ashes here — so far away from his family — is quite an honor for us. I am truly honored that Councilman Miyato has come all this way to fulfill his father’s wishes.”
The meeting between Kawakami and the councilman from Fujisawa City, located in proximity to other sister city relations shared by Japanese cities and Kauai, was most cordial, the pair discovering a lot in common, like going surfing.
“My dad was a surfer,” Miyato said. “He started the Japan Surfing Association after buying surfboards starting in 1963.”
“You want to go surfing?” Kawakami asked. “My surfboard is right there.”
Perhaps on a future trip, Miyato said, noting the short length of time he had remaining on Kauai.
As the discussions progressed to where Kawakami learned about Fujisawa City with a population of 430,000 people, 35 council representatives, and a booming medical research technology made possible through a partnership with Tokyo and the Japanese government, Miyato suggested the possibility of a medical tourism diplomatic relationship.