Feature of the Week
January 26, 2020
link to facebook link to twitter
More Stories
About Artful Arrangements Starting the 74th year of the Miss Sonoma County competition Friendly greetings at The Studio salon RP City Managers then and now A dedicated Sonoma County gentleman Astronaut has high hopes Cotati Chamber of Commerce celebrates 60 years SSU ranked as U.S. News ‘Top Public School’ Royal King, Freedom Rider In Memoriam Jud Snyder (1925-2018), Cantankerous Newsman RP Public Safety Dept. and Cotati Police Dept. promotions This is the zodiac speaking High school counselor retires again Field retires from Special Education Nafe Nafe, a seasoned performer I just make bowls! Factory and trades training facility at SOMO Village Harmony’s Joel, Cotati storyteller Brian Harvey’s love for cars Scott Goree, Executive Director of the Accordion Festival Rohnert Park’s Balldude, Leff Brown Lonnie Mack, a longtime barber and musician A roving community nurse in Cotati From farmland to vineyard Avila collects tokens A spirited heart with compassion A sports doctor putting players together Covering a multitude of braces in the local community Bringing positive to a negative world Celebrating 42 years of business in Cotati Rohnert Park students get schooled in kindness Every day 22 veterans commit suicide RCHS alumnus moves on to the bigtime A Cub reporter’s first scrapbook Recognition of Oliver Fraenkle’s excellence in teaching A special class for children with autism The Cotati Fairy Tale dance brought out the best Grant helps City of RP prioritize creek clean up New gym dedicated and named after Henry J. Sarlatte A Reflection on Women’s History Month 35 years an educator Kindness and generosity comes from many corners of the world Cotati’s Veronda/Falletti Ranch Gegan, an educator of 32 years retires Peace Park at Rohnert Park’s Burton Center Local author tells her story Keeping the faith for 45 years From a garage to an authentic art studio Kitty Collins, an animal whisperer with passion 40 years in real estate and still going strong Cheryl Nixon and Friar Tucks Larry Phan, Living the American Dream Ferrari Salon Celebrates 34 Years Straightening spines for almost forty years A proud Cotatian A repair man with humor Hot cars and good-looking women A Swedish and German lass in Rohnert Park The Stones go to printing A night of pride for the Devil Pups “One Cold Night” raises money for SAY Pet peeves that irritate me (an article of opinion) Cotati Police Officer takes on new role Mastering the art of dance Nonn’s poetry inspired by RP Creeks Students help with rebuilding efforts Cotati’s tree lighting Marionettes at the local library Local Girl Scout Troops receive grant A walk on spot for Barbato RP grant to help host 2019 One Planet Summit 140 years of Japanese American History in new exhibit in Cotati Orion greets the public A new face at the school district office "Streetcar named Desire” stops at 6th St. Playhouse Flying Frog to sponsor upcoming Parkour Competition SSU to help with Mi Futuro Youth Healthcare Credo High’s reprisal: “The Aretha Tribute” Stories matter: Judson Snyder Physics in action at Technology High School Tech High Titans undefeated champions How to do origami Annual Holiday gift and toy drive kicks off The Zschach’s and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang SSU launches ‘financial literacy’ project with Redwood Credit Union Spreckels’ ‘Nutcracker’ ---Precision, color and elegance A day of wood and amazement Ensure holiday packages don’t get stolen DA’s office and Social Advocates for Youth selected to receive grant City of Rohnert Park celebrates Veterans Nov. 11 Change of seasons can be stressful Experience Credo High School Faith Ako: Creating “A Wonderful World” Tech High’s warm clothing drive huge success Get musical instruments back into homes Donaghey has new career after retirement

RP honors Sister City’s Ambassadors from Japan

  • Koko Kuraito and Shota Gushima, Hashimoto City Student Ambassadors to Rohnert Park gave a presentation about their city and showed the calligraphy writings by Koko. Following the presentation Fri, March 29 at the Community Center, a traditional tea ceremony was performed and gifts were exchanged between the Mayor, Gina Belforte, and the students. Photo by Jane Peleti

By: Stephanie Derammelaere
April 5, 2019

On Mar. 29 The Rohnert Park Sister Cities Relations Committee hosted a reception to honor the two young ambassadors from its sister city, Hashimoto, Japan. Mayor Gina Belforte presented the two students, Shota Gushima and Koko Kuraito, with a certificate of recognition as well as a few gifts from the City of Rohnert Park. In return, the students presented Belforte with a letter from their own mayor, Yoshiyuki Kinoshita, as well as some textile gifts – a big industry in their hometown. 

“All of our countries around the world have had conflicts at so many different times,” said Gina Belforte, Mayor of Rohnert Park. “It’s programs like these where we get to know people for who they are and for the future they hold because this is the future of the world – these two right here. When we can have people come into our borders and they can learn about us, and we can learn about them, it does so much to promote world peace.  Forever Rohnert Park will be in their heart and they will be in our hearts as well.”

The two students, who are considered high school freshmen in Japan (equivalent to a U.S. sophomore) gave a presentation about Hashimoto, including its cultural heritage, its townscape, and the main products they produce which are textiles using pile weave and kushu-hera-zao, handmade bamboo fishing poles. Afterwards Koko presented some of her calligraphy work and the audience asked questions, which primarily revolved around some of the differences between school in Japan and the United States. 

Part of the reception also included Sachiko Knappman explaining, and then demonstrating, a traditional Japanese tea ceremony.

“The tea ceremony developed during the 1500s in Japan, which was in the midst of our civil war period in Japan which lasted about 200 years,” explained Knappman. “Some people were born and died during the war period. It was a very hard time of Japanese history. It’s interesting to see that this is a spiritual practice. It helps us go inside and go deeper and find out who we really are. There is limited conversation between host and guest, which helps us connect on an energy level instead of using language.”

Every turn of the cup, every fold of the napkin, every movement throughout the whole ceremony is done with purpose, reflection and focus. 

“When you have a meticulous way of doing something,” said Knappman, “you forget about what else you have to do. It helps us focus.”

Knappman discussed how people can do this in their own lives, everyday, even without a traditional tea ceremony. 

“I tell people, even if you do a mundane thing like making coffee, rather than doing it fast, slow down,” said Knappman. “Take twice as long as you normally take and pay attention to each movement that you do, that also helps. Even folding laundry, paying attention to each fold, you’ll have a different experience.”

The purpose of the Rohnert Park Sister Cities Relations Committee is to foster international understanding and friendship through exchanges of people, artifacts, and ideas with citizens of foreign cities, and to develop an increased appreciation of cultural diversity in order to better understand one’s own culture. Rohnert Park became Hashimoto’s sister city in 1983. Currently the board members of the committee are Shari Lorenz, Sachiko Knappman, Olga Senyk, Gay Deady and Cyrel Tramel, who acts as Chairman of the group.

“The City of Rohnert Park funds this right now and the mayor just informed me that we have some grants we can apply for which would increase it from sending one to maybe three students,” said Tramel. “We’re trying to expand the program to what it once was. The student applicants need to be a Rohnert Park resident, 15 to 18 years old. We do an interview with them and the committee works to choose the best candidate.”

To get involved in the Rohnert Park Sister Cities Relations Committee, interested participants are invited to attend one of their monthly meetings, held the second Thurs. of each month at 4 p.m. at the Rohnert Park Community Center.