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Japan Meets Texas at Toyota Groundbreaking

Plano high school students participate in Japanese cultural tradition.
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Toyota Motor North America CEO Jim Lentz in front of 'wish trees' at yesterday's groundbreaking. Photo by Jeanne Prejean
Toyota Motor North America CEO Jim Lentz in front of ‘wish trees’ at yesterday’s groundbreaking. Photo by Jeanne Prejean

At Toyota’s unconventional groundbreaking for its new HQ in Plano yesterday, six so-called “wish trees” were placed behind CEO Jim Lentz inside a big white installation spelling out the word “TOYOTA.” Each tree in the display—they were actually native Texan Yaupon Holly trees—was festooned with little red tags on which students from Plano ISD Academy High School had written their wishes, hopes and dreams. The tags, apparently part of a Japanese cultural tradition, said things like “I hope to be a better artist,” “I want to go to a good college,” and “My dream would be a cure for cancer.” Lentz said the notes would be placed in a time capsule and the holly trees would be planted permanently once the HQ opens in late 2016 or early ’17. “It’s clear,” he said, “that this is the right place to begin the next chapter in Toyota’s history.”

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