As this year draws to a close, so does my tenure as president of our association. I am thankful to all of you for allowing me to lead our association.
There are a lot of people whom we need to thank beginning with the volunteers who have helped to plan, organize and carry out the various programs and events that the association has sponsored over the years. We could not have accomplished so much without your involvement and hard work. Doomo arigato gozaimasu.
Thank you also to the officers and directors for their unselfish service to our association. It is their experience and wisdom that have guided us over the past two years. Especially this past year as we endured and worked our way through the effects of the COVID19 pandemic on our organization.
It was unfortunate that the pandemic made its appearance this year. It not only caused us to cancel some of our programs but we also lost several members to this devastating virus. Our condolences and sympathies to the families of our deceased members.
The pandemic also motivated us to explore using technology to continue our work. Video conferencing was adopted to facilitate our meetings moving forward and video filming of our events was also started beginning with the Nikkei Kigyo and the Irei Sai Hoyo Memorial Service in August. We thank Na Leo TV for helping us make that possible.
The pandemic also caused the cancellation of this year’s Merrie Monarch Festival and the visit by our friends from Shibukawa, Japan. The pandemic also affected Shibukawa’s King Kalakaua the Merrie Monarch Hawaiian Festival and caused its cancellation this year. It also forced us to cancel the Student Artwork Exchange program that we have with elementary schools in Shibukawa and Hilo.
We saw the departure in September of Consul General and Mrs. Ito as they returned to Japan prior to departing for New Zealand where Mr. Ito will assume new responsibilities as Japan’s Ambassador. We welcome newly arrived Consul General Yutaka Aoki and look forward to more years of cordial relationships with the Consulate of Japan.
We do need to express our thank you and mahalo also to Jane Miyasaki for her dedication to providing voluntary administrative support for our association’s work. She is our backbone. She makes sure that things get done on time.
And thank you to all of you for being members of our association. We wouldn’t be able to do what we do without your support.
I hope that you will give your support and guidance to our incoming President Dwayne Mukai as we hopefully move beyond the pandemic this coming year and resume our programs and events.
Ja mata nei.