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Sister city Nyuzen residents to teach Forest Grove residents through sewing classes.

COURTESY PHOTO: SANDY GARCIA - Six women from Nyuzen, Japan will visit Forest Grove to teach sewing with kimono pieces. Forest Grove and its sister city of Nyuzen, Japan, are strengthening their bond as Forest Grove prepares to host six women from the Nyuzen Sewing Club.

The visitors, who have saved money for years to visit Oregon, will stay in the homes of many Forest Grove residents, including Pat Truax and Sandy Garcia.

Garcia taught Japanese at the Forest Grove High School for 23 years before the program was cut. She currently teaches at Pacific University and heads the Forest Grove Sister Cities Committee. She visits Japan almost every year, she said.

When Garcia was a high school teacher, the city contacted her to ask is she could host Japanese students coming to the United States.

"The first adult to come with them is now the mayor of Nyuzen," she said. "He brought a group, and I got to be invited on the sister city committee."

From then on, Garcia traveled with students to Japan and the relationship lasted ever since, she said.

For Truax, the sewing class will feel like a party as she hosts it in her home, she said. A resident in Forest Grove for over 50 years, and the wife of Forest Grove's own mayor, Truax has visited Japan through exchange, while also hosting the same person each time they visit.

With this particular visit, the women will hold a series of sewing classes, teaching how to make creations out of ripped-up kimonos they packed with them to repurpose, Garcia said.

"It is special, because they don't speak a lot of English but they are so eager to share, and anywhere you are in the world, people want to share. They have the skill and want to share it with others," Truax said.

About 20 people are signed up, traveling from around the state to participate.

The chance to do can feel like once in a lifetime, Garcia said.

"It is about people getting to know people," she said.

Space is limited, but spots are still available on Saturday, March 9, from 1 to 4 p.m. for the bag-making class, and Sunday, March 10, from 2 to 5 p.m. for the doll making class. To reserve a space, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with "Sewing Club" in the subject line. Supplies will be provided. The cost is $25 per class.

By Janae Easlon
Features Editor
Forest Grove News-Times and Hillsboro Tribune
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