SIOUX CITY -- There was the Sioux City spot that has historical significance, then there were the plain old fun options such as a specialty candy store.
On their first of four days in Sioux City, a delegation of visitors from Yamanashi City, Japan, participated in a variety of activities Friday. They visited the Sergeant Floyd Monument on a huge bluff, where the sole casualty of the 1804-1806 Lewis and Clark Expedition opening up the American West was buried.
The group of 15 toured Morningside College, exchanged gifts with Sioux City Council members, visited the Mid-American Museum of Aviation and later in the afternoon saw the plenteous chocolate offerings at Palmer's Olde Tyme Candy Shoppe.
the Yamanashi visitors looked over Jelly Bellys, Big Bruiser Jawbreakers, Candy Mega Buttons, plus a host of specially-made Palmer's chocolate fare.
Yamanashi City Mayor Haruo Takagi bought chocolate peanut clusters, and offered some to a reporter and Sioux City city official Angel Wallace. Takagi also shared observations of Sioux City.
"This is a very good, beautiful place. The walking space is very beautiful," Takagi said, speaking through an interpreter, summarizing a two-hour walk he had before city events began.
It was not only the mayor's first visit to Sioux City, but also any place in the U.S.
The two cities formed a Sister City relationship in 2003 in an effort to promote city exchanges, foster mutual respect, and as a means to appreciate the different cultures. In the Yamanashi Prefecture, akin to a state, nine of the cities have Sister City relationships with Iowa cities.
Yamanashi City has a population of around 35,000, compared to about 82,000 for Sioux City. Takagi is located in the mountains, and is packed into a smaller land area, which is why Takagi referenced the expansiveness of Sioux City along a river plain.
The Yamanashi contingent included 10 junior high students from age 12 to 14, who came with adults such as Shino Tonegawa, who has taught English for more than 10 years.
Tonegawa raved about Morningside College.
"I envied the students," she said, given the broad range of facilities.
Takagi spoke similarly: "The students are so happy to study there."
On Saturday, the Japanese adult visitors will make stops at the Sioux City Farmer's Market, public museum, art center and see retail offerings at the Southern Hills Mall. The students will spend much of Saturday and Sunday with the host families, and the group departs Iowa on Monday morning.
Tonegawa was pleased with her Palmer's haul of orange sticks, peanut brittle and trail mix, none of which she had ever eaten previously. She explained that a contingent from Yamanashi will return in two years, in line with the visits of 2016, 2014 and so on. A group from Sioux City will visit Japan on odd-numbered years.
Tonegawa said there is a huge benefit in traveling and seeing other cultures.
"I am very happy to visit Sioux City. At school, I teach the English language. I want my students to come to other countries, especially America, to get experience for their lives," she said.