The devastation and destruction of our beloved sister city of Otsuchi in Northeastern Japan in 2011 has only deepened the bond we share. This March 11th marks the 5th anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami.
In 2011, which ironically marked the 10th Anniversary of the Sister City relationship, the City Council chose the name Otsuchi Point for a promontory on the Coastal Trail. In addition to the beautiful compass rose on the site, there is a bench that also signifies the Sister City relationship. One side is a nod to the Pudding Creek Trestle and the other a Tori Gate.
The story of the program’s creation is compelling. When Ken Sasaki was a boy in Otsuchi, his father, a fisherman was lost at sea. Ken-san would sit on the bluffs overlooking the ocean, ever in search of any sign of his father. When he became older, he wondered what was on the other side of the ocean- wondering who lived over there and what were they like? He drew a line across the Pacific and found Fort Bragg on the exact same latitude. In 2001, he made contact and invited then Mayor, Lindy Peters to come visit Otsuchi. The following year, September, 2002, the first student exchange of Fort Bragg students went to Otsuchi. Subsequent exchanges took place in 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010. In 2005 a Sister-City Proclamation was solidified by then Mayor, Dave Turner and Mayor Yamazaki.
CBS 60 Minutes did a segment on the Fort Bragg Otsuchi relationship: