Boston has a handful of "Sister Cities" around the globe with which it exchanges people, ideas, culture, and education. These cities include Barcelona, Spain; Strasbourg, France; Hangzhou, China; Padua, Italy; Melbourne, Australia; Taipei, Taiwan; and Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana.
Boston's first Sister City, though, was Kyoto, Japan. Boston doesn't have the same wealth of cultural history of Kyoto (few cities in the world do), but you could argue that both cities are the historical, cultural, and educational capitals of their respective countries. In addition, Kyoto is a smaller city in the shadows of the huge metropolis of Tokyo, similar to Boston’s relationship to New York. So we can commiserate about our inferiority complexes over glasses of Sapporo and Sam Adams as well.
Kyoto was the imperial capital of Japan, and it's home to castles and thousands of shrines and temples with traditional Japanese architecture and beautiful gardens, which are filled with color during the fall and the springtime cherry blossom season. I went on Friday to Robert Castagna's excellent photographic exhibition of Kyoto, which captures the essence and beauty of the city. The images are on display at the Rolly-Michaux Gallery at 290 Dartmouth Street through May 7.
Oh, and if you're ever in Kyoto, check out the Fenway Park bar, just one more connection between the Sister Cities. It's run by my new friend "Tiger," who was a Sox fan even before any of us heard of Dice-K. Here's a story I wrote about it in The Boston Globe last October.