Sunday, November 27, 2016

Imōto (Sister): Sister City Exhibit

Kashima Jingu Ichi no Torii
Imōto (Sister), an exhibit of photos of Kamisu, Japan, Eureka's Sister City, by Holly Harvey and the Horai Center at Studio 424, 424 Third Street, Eureka. An opening reception will be held during Arts Alive!, Dec. 3,  2016 from 6-9 p.m. The exhibit and opening are a fundraiser for the Sister City Association, and a portion of gallery sales will benefit the association.

About the show

Some words for familial relationships in the Japanese language are relative (no pun intended). There are unique words, for example, to describe the relationships within your family that are different from the words used to describe the relationships between someone else's family. Likewise, the words for sister are linked to the age of the individuals, with unique words for older and younger sisters. Ane 姉 means older sister and imōto 妹 means younger sister.

Eureka and its sister city of Kamisu, Japan, have a similarly complicated relationship. Based on the age of each city, Kamisu should be the older having been settled as a village since before Japan’s Middle Ages (Eureka was incorporated a city in 1874). However, the modern city of Kamisu was formed in 2005 by a merger of the former town of Kamisu and the neighboring town of Hasaki. As such it is a little older than ten years, making it the younger of the two.

The city commemorated its 2005 incorporation with a ceremony in August of 2015. It invited its Sister City Eureka to attend, and Harvey II and Holly Harvey of the Ink People’s DreamMaker program Horai Center represented the City of Eureka at the ceremony. The photographs in this exhibit were taken during a brief introduction to Kamisu’s people, her industry, natural beauty and cultural treasures. The contrast of the ancient and the modern was a source of constant fascination.

You may view the exhibit in an online gallery here.

Mounted prints are $75.00 each. A portion of the proceeds from this exhibit benefit the Eureka-Kamisu Sister City Association. Inquiries for additional prints are welcomed. (Obi are for display only and are not for sale.)

About Kamisu

Kamisu is port city with a population of 93,550 about 55 miles northeast of Tokyo. Kamisu and the surrounding area is considered rural by Japanese standards. Originally a fishing and farming region, it has grown rapidly in the years following World War II. It is home to one of the world’s largest artificially-created deep water ports in Asia, and because of its proximity to Tokyo it is ideally situated for the region’s cargo shipping, light and heavy industry, power generation and clean energy development. The region is still renowned for its agriculture, especially green bell peppers, or piman, which are shipped fresh daily to Tokyo. Despite modernization and trending industry — and perhaps because of it — the people of Kamisu cherish their cultural heritage and natural resources.

Relationships are fragile, complicated things. We are born into them as infants. We create new ones with each person we meet. We try to end them with a mouse click. Taken for granted, relationships languish. Given attention, they may flourish.

About the Eureka-Kamisu Sister City Association

The EKSCA works to maintain the sister city relationship and to foster cultural exchange and mutual understanding between the citizens of the two cities. It is developing a network for, student exchanges and family home stays. For more information, visit or connect with us on Facebook,

The Horai Center is a DreamMaker Program of the Ink People Center for the Arts.

Updated Dec. 9, 2016

Friday, September 2, 2016

The Port of Kashima

Eureka tour boat at the Port of Kashima. Holly Harvey
The Port of Kashima, adjacent to Kamisu -- the Sister City of Eureka, California -- is one of the world’s largest artificially-excavated ports. Kamisu (神栖市 Kamisu-shi) is a port city located in Ibaraki Prefecture on the east coast of Japan. As of March 1, 2008, the city has an estimated population of 93,551 and a population density of 635 persons per km². The total area is 147.24 km2 (56.85 sq mi).

The depth of outer port channel is 24m (26yd), the center channel is 19m (20yd) and both south and north channels are 10m (10yd).

Kamisu and the Port of Kashima from the air. Wikipedia
The Port of Kashima and surrouding area Google Maps


The earliest development of the area's waterways date to 1654. Over the centuries, rivers and canals were dredged and deepened to accommodate the needs of the region, including a canal that extended to Edo (Tokyo) Bay. Silting and flooding presented constant difficulties.

In 1960 Ibaraki Prefecture conceived a plan for the development of the port. Construction began in 1962 and the harbor opened its port in 1969.  

Read more about the history and development of the port here:

The Port of Kashima

Cargo ship with spill containment boom. Holly Harvey
About 13,000 ships come in and out of the port per year. The amount of cargo handled at the Kashima Port is about 65 million tons per year. Imported cargos make up 60% of total cargo handled. Common items are iron, stone, crude oil, coal, and corn.

Cargo ship and tugs near harbor entrance. Holly Harvey
There are nine tugs at Kashima Port and they are operated about 7,000 times in a year.

Cranes and silos. Holly Harvey
There are 4 public wharfs and 20 company-owned wharfs in the Kashima Port. Each wharf has their own equipment such as cranes and loading docks. Cargo handling machines differ for the types of cargo.

Gantry cranes unload bulk items. Loading arms connect pipelines between ground and ship for liquid items such as crude oil. Company-owned wharfs handle their own products and materials. At the public wharf, many types of cargo are handled including containers, bulk grain and cargo over the size limit of containers.

Ship hangars Holly Harvey
Grain silos Holly Harvey
Cargo ship in the port, wind farm in the distance. Holly Harvey
Cranes in the port, wind farm in the distance Holly Harvey

Hasaki Wind Farm 

The 43 windmills at the wind farm generate 76,100 kW (Nov. 2015).

Hasaki Wind Farm skyseeker/Creative Commons
The windmills generate enough electric power for about 46,200 households. There are 38,879 households in Kamisu (July 2015). The amount of power generated by the windmills would cover the entire household electrical needs of Kamisu city, however it is actually sent to the Tokyo area.

Environmental assessments were required prior to construction to evaluate effects on wildlife.

Kamisu city officials cite that each windmill has an output of 2,000 kW and an estimated speed of 11.1-19.6 rotations per minute. Bird strikes are uncommon.

Kamisu was chosen because of its suitable location  for wind power generation. The windmills were constructed by private enterprise (Eco Power Corporation).

According to research by the Japan Wind Power Association, it costs $6 million USD to build an average windmill that generates 2,000 kW. Equipment costs make up 58.3% of the figure, and the rest is spent for engineering work, conveyance and assembling.

An offshore wind farm is in the planning stages:

Murals adorn the sea wall along this stretch of coastline.

Windmill and mural. Holly Harvey

Murals along the sea wall. Holly Harvey

Mural of Kashima Port's Observation Tower
and Kashima Shrine's Ichi no Torii. 
Holly Harvey

This mural attests to the popularity of surfing
along this stretch of coastline. 
Holly Harvey

Kamisu city has an interest in renewable energy to protect the environment and address the issue of global warming, however, they do not have an exact plan yet.


A double-deck touring boat, Eureka, takes passengers on a 45 minute trip around Kashima Port, passing enormous tankers and industrial facilities.

Eureka tour boat. Holly Harvey

Eureka tour boat. Holly Harvey
A 52-meter-high (171 feet) Observation Tower in Minato Park commands a breathtaking view of the Kashima coastal industrial area.
Minato Park Observation Tower Holly Harvey

Kashima Harbor Fishing Park is a facility built at the mouth of the harbor for recreational fishing. There are charter boats, equipment rentals and restroom facilities.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Living the Dream

It is with gratitude that we offer this guest post from Fred Nelson, a stalwart supporter of the Eureka-Kamisu Sister City relationship. Fred, along with several locals, hosted, drove and toured with a Japanese family as they realized a man's long-time dream to visit the redwoods of Northern California.

Prairie Creek State Park / Redwood National and State Parks
This month I had the pleasure of being part of a group that entertained some out of town guests. I drove a family of four on a sightseeing trip of Eureka and Humboldt County for three days. The family of four consisted of an elderly grandfather who lives in Kamisu, Japan, his daughter and son-in-law and his eleven year old granddaughter who live in Tokyo, Japan. Mr. Nishijima had dreamed for a number of years of making a trip to our area and found that he could make it a reality this year although he is in ill health. Being involved in such a visitation was an honor and a privilege for me. 
 In 2008 I had been the driver for a delegation of officials from Kamisu, Japan who came here on an official visit as members of the Kamisu International Friendship Association (KIFA), the driving force behind the Kamisu-Eureka Sister City program. Although Mr. Nishijima is a retired director of KIFA, his visit was not in an official capacity but as a family pleasure trip. Mr. Nishijima had been in touch with a friend and associate whom I had become acquainted with at the time of the 2008 KIFA official visits to Eureka. She had given him my name as a possible contact. With the family’s permission, I set up a three day itinerary which had to be changed a number of times. Unexpected flight delays and our local McKinleyville fog saw to that. The big disappointment was the cancelation of a one hour tour of Humboldt State University. The family was able to meet two of the people who were responsible for arranging the tour, but only for a brief period.
During the three day stay the family was able to enjoy Eureka’s Sequoia Park and Zoo, our Redwoods to the North and South of us along with our amazing scenery plus they were able to taste some of our local cuisine. One of the challenges that faced all parties during the stay was the language barrier. I must say that the Japanese try much harder to understand the English language that we do the Japanese. Did I find the language barrier a bit much? Not really! Naturally it does slow down the conversation somewhat but it does make you pay closer attention to the subject matter that is being conveyed.
Hosting a Japanese family is most rewarding and helps build our Japanese/United States relations. Those locals that have visited Japan over the past number of years have been very warmly received. This should be a ‘two way street’. I would ask you that the next time a Japanese visitor is announced locally, feel free to contact the City of Eureka and volunteer your services even though they might be limited to a friendly “welcome and hello.”
— Fred Nelson

Fred Nelson was stationed in Japan during his time in military service. He is retired and lives in Eureka, California.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Cha-no-yu at HSU

Horai Center is offering a presentation of Cha-no-yu, Wednesday, July 27 from 1 to 2 p.m. in the Humboldt State University Library Fishbowl meeting room.

This demonstration is free and open to the public, but seating is limited.Visit for reservations and information, or email

HSU parking regulations apply. Visit for details.

Read about our 2015 presentation here:

Thursday, April 7, 2016

I'm a Little Tea Bowl

Add a tea bowl emoji to your next text or email. Find them here at Emojipedia:

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

New Eureka-Kamisu Sister City Website Launched

Behold the brand-spankin' new Eureka-Kamisu Sister City website:

And a big round of applause to developer Johnson Tilghman!