Japan, CQ friendship continues through pandemic
For nearly a quarter of a century, Fujisawa man Katsushi Miura has exchanged Christmas gifts with his Blackwater hosts, the Lennox family.
When the pandemic disrupted the Japanese airmail service, and without knowing how to email, Mr Miura contacted his local council in Ichinoseki.
A few emails later and thanks to two council staff from two countries, Gaylene Lennox received a phone call with a Christmas message and news that there would be no postcard in 2020.
Mrs Lennox said her family was surprised but happy to learn of Mr Miura’s struggle to reach out; that he wanted to make sure he had not forgotten about them was part of a long-standing friendship of care and respect.
“We think of Fujisawa when there are earthquakes and tsunamis on television,” Mrs Lennox said.
“Our daughter Tamara fondly remembers a trip up to the mountains with the Miura family, how cold it was, the fireworks, and how well she was looked after by her host family.
“It’s wonderful to have this friendship of two countries, to learn each other’s culture and appreciate our lifestyles.”
Mr Miura seconded the sentiment and said he had kept in contact for so long because the Lennox family looked after him so well.
He said the families had tried to talk on the phone before, but language barriers made it hard to hold a conversation.
Mr Miura visited Blackwater in 1997 and he came well prepared, having his teeth treated by a local dentist to be able to eat the “Aussie steak” - he had heard the steaks were a bit tough and chewy compared to Japanese beef.
With hindsight, he fondly remembers the tender and delicious steak from Blackwater that was “against all expectations”.
Both families have accumulated a collection of cards and gifts from one another as signs of the lasting friendship.