Kisarazu City Mayor Watanabe, the City Council Chairman and other eight members visited Oceanside city, our sister city, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Kisarazu & Oceanside sister city relationship in October.
Oceanside City Mayor Jim Wood took us to the city tour and held the 25th anniversary reception. We were touched by the reunion with the Sister City Foundation members,
the former host families and a former English assistant teacher of Kisarazu city.
We confirmed the long-lasting friendship of the two cities.
We really appreciate their warm welcome and excellent hospitality.
This visit will lead to a further development for our sister city relationship.
Jim Schroder, the ex-chairperson of the Sister-City foundation, traveled around the world and a newspaper carried his story.
EDC chairman knows well what moves the world
By Lola Sherman | Special to the U-T 7 p.m.Feb. 19, 2013
Around the world in 80 days? Jim Schroder has just done it in five weeks.
On this trip, he did not get arrested, nor was he declared dead in a hurricane. He didn’t have to escape demands that he marry a belly dancer. He did not see a man murdered in front of him. He wasn’t shot at. He didn’t have to hide on top of a toilet.
Yet in past trips, all of those adventures really have happened to the exceptionally well-traveled Schroder, a 1963 graduate of Oceanside High School.
His travels started at the age of 17 — three days after his high school graduation. He journeyed around 13 European countries in two months and came back to Washington, D.C., where he was advised to stay in a bus-station bathroom while race rioting was going on outside. He sat on the top of the toilet so as not to be seen.
Almost always, he arrives at his destinations at the most-fortuitous times — in Vietnam in time for Tet (new year) celebrations, in Kenya when it was celebrating the election of U.S. President Barack Obama, whose father was born in that African country.
He had visited 131 countries until this most recent trip — which included a cruise from Capetown, South Africa, to Singapore — added five more: Mozambique, Madagascar, the Seychelles, the Maldives and Sri Lanka. A flight to London, then to Capetown and one from Singapore home completed the global circuit.
Schroder’s adventures read like something out of a novel.
It was in Dubrovnik in Tito’s old Yugoslavia that he was arrested the first time, accused of being a spy. Schroder managed to escape with a group of Romanians going to the airport. “I had no idea where the plane was going.” It went to Rome, the place he was headed next anyway.
The second arrest was in Asunción, Paraguay, then also under the rule of an infamous dictator, Alfredo Stroessner. “Pistols were pointed to every part of my body,” Schroder said, “Again, I was an American in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
He was taken back to his hotel, where he found all his luggage ripped open. He shouted, “Help. I am an American, Call the American Embassy.” There were attempts to plant drugs on him. He heard his captors say in Spanish, “He will not be alive tomorrow at this time.”
The American Embassy didn’t help, but the Swiss Embassy did and got him out.
In the Caribbean, his Windjammer cruise was interrupted by a hurricane. It was so fierce that, when the ship finally docked at St. Barthelemy, Schroder picked up a newspaper with headlines reading that the ship and “80 some souls had been lost at sea.”
Schroder admits to having had too much alcoholic refreshment when he was watching a young woman dance in a presentation before 270-some people in a hotel in Tangier, Morocco. She ordered him to dance with her and, caught up in the moment, he twirled her into a back bend, lifted her veil and kissed her. That meant, her family said, that he and the girl would be married the next day. He left his hotel by a back way as the family came in the front.
The murder of the man in front of him took place in Garoka, Papua New Guinea, which nevertheless Schroder considers “one of my favorite parts of the world even though I have never been back.”
He was shot at in Bogota, Colombia, and used a “duck-and-roll” maneuver to escape injury.
And while there were no outlandish experiences on the most-recent cruise, it did have its moments, as when it was diverted from Mombasa, Kenya, because of U.S. State Department warnings that tourists were being targeted there.
While many of Schroder’s trips have involved multiple destinations, some have been virtual commutes, like the 12 times he’s been to Japan, often to Oceanside’s sister cities, Kisarazu and Fuji. He’s a member of the Oceanside Sister City Committee.
Schroder also is chairman of the city’s Economic Development Commission.
Trips to visit friends or attend special events in Argentina or England and “back and forth to Mexico City” also are routine.
Schroder said he got the travel bug working as a youngster in Best Western Marty’s Valley Inn owned by his father, the late Marty Schroder.
“We had customers from all over the world,” Schroder said. “As a kid, I had the opportunity to meet these people. I was hooked on travel, I’ve never regretted it. Somewhere out there is always calling.”
He remembers an evening spent in a Chinese home just as the country was opening up to the West, and meeting with a Masai chieftain and having a private audience in Mexico with the late Pope John Paul II even though he is not Catholic.
On his most-recent trip, Schroder said he found interesting changes in countries he’d previously visited: Muslim nations had become more conservatively Muslim. More women were hidden behind burqas, the full-length robes and headdresses that expose only their eyes.
“Now it’s on to the next adventure somewhere in the world,” Schroder said. He’s not sure where yet, but he’s been thinking a bit about West Africa
Wherever he goes, he said, his motto is “Friendship moves the world.”
Mr.Kiriishi, who was a chaperon of the sencond Sister City High School Student Delegation, visited our sister city at the end of November 2012 and met the Mayor of Oceanside city, , City Council Chambers, the members of the Sister-City foundation and so on.
Mr. Kiriishi said they welcomed him very much so he had a wonderful time with them.
They are expecting more young people to come from Kisarazu and study at their MieaCosta College, he added.