So you’ve noticed similarities in mood, but it’s not till you stumble across the Australian pine on the Sumida River you learn you’re living in the sister city of the town where you grew up.

Taito Ward, Tokyo: in the city but not of the city. A faded amusement park, a river breeze, tourists and temples. Manly, Sydney: once had a famous fun pier. A sea breeze, tourists, and a temple (beach worshippers).



Walking past Hanayashiki amusement park, you can kid yourself the hiss of air from the rocket-launch ride is the sound of the ocean.

Keiichi Suzuki, whose family has sold display cases on Kappabashi for one hundred years, says the relationship has nothing to do with the breeze, the tourists.

He says, It was started by a painter named Yamada who lived up the street, I think he also lived in Manly and put on an exhibition there, and he just liked the place!

img 2589

Suzuki helped out with the sister city operations, but the committee hasn’t met for months now – he says the whole relationship is in limbo as Manly council no longer exists. The NSW state government has dissolved it to merge it with others.

Laid back and unflappable, Suzuki spends free time on weekends volunteering as an interpreter at the Youth Hostel. He doesn’t know when the next meeting will be.

At 11 years old and going strong, the tree doesn’t care.