IT NEVER ceases to amaze me how people from all different walks of life just seem to love trucks.
Just recently I hosted the mayor of our friendship city, Minoru Shimamura from Ageo City in Japan.
Each year a delegation of dignitaries and school students from Ageo City who are hosted by families from Lockyer District High School come to visit the Lockyer Valley region.
Ageo City is located just 35km south of Tokyo and has a population of about 230,000 and a density of around 5000 people per square kilometre.
That being the case, I found it remarkable how interested in trucks Mayor Shimamura was upon his visit to the Lockyer Valley recently.
Put it this way, Mayor Shimamura was a "huge" rice farmer in his day with a "massive" eight-acre rice farm, so in Japan the need for large scale transport operations is minimal, although Japan obviously manufactures many trucks.
You wouldn't see many B-Doubles hurtling through the streets of Ageo City.
I took him to Nolan's Transport depot in Gatton and he was simply amazed at the size of the operation and more importantly to him, the size of the trucks.
I also showed him through the Queensland Transport Museum in Gatton and he was like a kid in a candy shop learning about the trucking and transport history of Queensland and beyond.
The museum is part of the Lockyer Valley Cultural Centre and is open seven days a week.
While Mayor Shimamura was suitably impressed by these tours, it wasn't until I gave him a ride in one of our Mack prime movers that he really got excited.
Although speaking very little English, the mayor was in his element and wanted to know what every little button in the cab was for. Even when we approached where we had to pull up, the mayor wanted to go further and I almost had to drag him down out of the cab to get him to his next tour of the UQ Gatton Campus.
Mayor Shimamura certainly got a taste of the Australian culture on his visit and will take back with him to Japan a better understanding of the importance of the trucking industry to Australia.
I certainly look forward to him visiting the Lockyer Valley in the future.