Cooma has opened its heart to 16 visiting students from the Japanese sister city of Yamaga who have been welcomed into the community this week. Together with six accompanying adults, the students have been billeted with local host families and have been guided through many aspects of local and Australian life.
Cooma Lions Club and Monaro High School teachers, students and parents have been instrumental in making the visit a success. The trip is a continuation of the annual exchange program jointly organised by the Lions Clubs of Cooma and Yamaga, and supported by Cooma-Monaro Shire Council and Yamaga City Council.
The students, and their Cooma hosts, were guests of honour at a civic recpetion organised by the council on Monday night.
A major feature of the visit was the erection of a torii gate at southern entrance to Cooma - in the Lions Park in Church Road.
In Japanese culture, a torii gate marks the approach and entrance to a Shinto shrine. It marks the division between the physical and spiritual worlds.
The logistics of finalising and erecting the 3.6 m high x 3 m wide torii was by no means simple but the project was completed just in time for the visit by the Lions Club.