Tree planting seals Anglo-Japanese link

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Indy Lifestyle Online
An earthquake expert, a mountaineer and two women who specialise in helping clients to attire themselves in elaborate kimonos, were among those attending a tree-planting ceremony to mark Britain's first community-led exchange programme with Japan, writes Matthew Brace.

They are among a party of 18, from Goutokuji, near Tokyo, who have been sampling the delights of English life in their 'twin town', including demonstrations of flower-arranging, bell-ringing and a Women's Institute luncheon.

The link between Barnes and Goutokuji was established in 1989 and is different from usual twinning arrangements in that no local authority or public finance is involved in either town.

The exchange is organised entirely by the self-funded Barnes Community Association and its counterpart in Goutokuji, and is believed to be the only British-Japanese link of its kind.

Janet Falush, a spokeswoman for the association, said the guests were amazed at the cheap prices of London's houses and their age. Homes in Tokyo more than 70 years old are a rarity, they say.

However, while marvelling at the sights of London, the Japanese are also determined not to miss out on one of their great passions - a game of bingo.

(Photograph omitted)