In commemoration of Japan’s gift of 3,000 cherry trees to the people of the United States in 1912, the United States- Japan Bridging Foundation and the United States government have partnered to gift 3,000 dogwood trees to the people of Japan. These Friendship Blossoms symbolize the friendship between our countries and people.
On April 23, 2013, USJBF Executive Director, and former JET, Paige Cottingham-Streater helped plant dogwood trees at Mie University, in Tsu-shi, Mie-ken.
In her remarks at the planting, Ms. Cottingham-Streater emphasized her experience in Mie, and the influence that experience had on her life:
“More than twenty years ago, Mie-ken was my home. As a participant on the JET Programme, I lived in a nearby apartment, taught English at several of the area high schools, practiced Aikido in Matsuzaka, and explored the beautiful countryside by bicycle. I wanted to learn as much as possible about Japanese culture and society and be a part of a cultural exchange. I met so many people whose names I no longer remember, but whose kindness and generosity I will never forget.
My Board of Education colleagues, team teachers and students shared one year of their lives with me, and I shared with them a little bit of American culture. Through our experiences together, we helped to build what is the foundation of the U.S.-Japan relationship—mutual respect and understanding. My fond memories of life in Mie-ken have motivated me to dedicate my professional career to further strengthening the U.S.-Japan relationship.
These dogwood trees are a symbol of the important and enduring friendship that exists between our two countries. I look forward to returning to Mie-ken to see how the trees have grown and become stronger, in the same way that I know the US-Japan relationship will also become even stronger.”
Thank you to corporate sponsors: UPS, Chevron, Coca-Cola, Applied Materials, CAT, GE, and Raytheon for their generous support of this initiative.