Consul General Okada’s Web Message for June 2013
The weather has been up and down between the warm, early summer days and rainy days. I assume this must be how the weather changes in Vancouver.
Over the last month, I have attended a variety of events. On May 18th and 19th, I went to Ucluelet, on Vancouver Island, to participate in a tsunami debris clean-up event held by the Japan Love Project, which is a volunteer group of mostly Japanese students. A profusion of debris has been washing up on the coastlines of several small islands, which are not accessible by road. In only two days, the amount of debris collected was large enough to completely fill up the boats that had been brought there for the clean-up. The Japanese volunteers impressed the mayor and people of Ucluelet, whom they were cooperating with to clean up the shore. The people of Ucluelet felt a camaraderie with the volunteers in their joint effort. I keenly felt that this type of activity forms the basis of amicable relationships between Japan and Canada. The amount of debris that has reached the coastlines is more than volunteers are able to clean up alone; a system in which the relevant authorities are participating along with these kinds of volunteer efforts ought to be established. It is a project that I think the Consulate should consider.
Events celebrating a historical relationship between Japan and Canada were also held in May.
This year is the 50th anniversary of the sister city relationship between New Westminster and Moriguchi City. They have the longest sister city relationship among those between Japan and Canada. The mayor, council members and representatives of Moriguchi visited New Westminster and attended an exchange event. Participating in the event made me realize that interactions at a local government level are also a part of the historical foundation of amicable relationships between Japan and Canada.
I was invited to Tonari Gumi’s 40th and the Greater Vancouver JCCA’s 60th joint anniversary event. I found it very interesting to hear Gordon Kadota speak about the significant challenges that both organizations have had to overcome to reach where they are presently.
Combining the years of both organizations would make it the 100th anniversary, and coincidently, this year is the 100th anniversary of the building of the Consul General’s official residence. The Consulate and the Vancouver Heritage Foundation jointly hosted an anniversary dinner and provided various programs with the help of Japanese communities. Guests were introduced to a variety of Japanese food and sake, as well as performances of Koto, Shakuhachi, Lion Dance, and a chorus. An Urasenke tea-ceremony was also demonstrated. I was impressed, again, with the outstanding skills of the members of local Japanese communities and really thankful for their cooperation.
June 13, 2013