What a great meeting last week with Gil Garcetti! More than 70 attendees enjoyed Gil's photographs of "Reverence for Beauty." Our favorite Far Bar generously provided delicious lunch, and so many people new to Rotary had a chance to learn about what we do. The garden room of the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center, our co-sponsor, was appropriate for the beautiful presentation! (Pictured below from left to right are Terry Handa, to whom we presented Gil's book as the President of the Japanese Community Pioneer Center, Gil Garcetti, and Makiko Nakasone)
On Tuesday, June 14, Mr. Hitoshi Ishikawa, VP of Japan Business Association (JBA) of Southern California will come and speak to us. He will be our last guest speaker of this Rotary year, so don't miss. JBA is a trade organization with membership of about 500 Japanese owned companies and Japanese subsidiaries in Southern California. Come learn about the difference with the Japanese chamber and how we may work together in the future.
Our guest speaker tomorrow morning is Ms. Kitty Sankey, the president of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Southern California. She is the first female president of its almost 70 year history. Though she is an Optimist, I am sure there will be many future opportunities for us to work together.
Please rise early, and join me in welcoming Kitty tomorrow!
On Sunday, May 22, 2016, we unveiled the stone monument to honor late Frances Kazuko Hashimoto at the Frances Hashimoto Plaza. Members, families, and friends gathered to celebrate this special occasion. We were also joined by Frances's son Brian Friedman and community leaders, Chris Komai, the president of Little Tokyo Community Council, and Jan Perry, former LA City Councilwoman. This project was made possible by the Rotary District Grant and the funds raised by selling the rice cooker generously donated by Japan tiger Corporation of USA.
Since April, 2015, on the fourth Sunday of every month, we have been cleaning up this once neglected plaza, where planters had been used as trash bins, planted drought tolerant Rosemary, and have been maintaining the plaza. Along the way, local businesses and passers-by have recognized our efforts. The store owners on the plaza offered to water the plants daily, and La Canada Nursery donated 48 one gallon Rosemary pots, thanks to the in-depth reporting by Nikkan Sun newspaper and the blown-up photos on the windows of U & U Graphics. Our special thanks must go to Derek Furukawa of Southern California Gardeners' Federation, who from day one has been offering professional advice and never failed to come help us with the clean up.
We owe Derek and Brian Yamazaki our sincerest thanks for installing the monument in a very tight schedule. They spent countless number of hours, preparing and setting the stones professionally.
My personal thanks to Mike Okamoto, who is my Community Service Chair, for close communication and design of the monument. He could not join us due to his business obligations, but the fruit of his work was evident.
Another thanks must go to Haru Takehana for gathering important documents to include in the Time Capsule to be open in 2066! It is placed on the right front corner of the base. The capsule includes roster of the charter and new members of the Rotary Club of Little Tokyo, maps of Little Tokyo, clippings of Rafu Shimpo, LA Times, and Nikkan Sun, roster of other major organizations of the community, etc.
This was a great day, when we all felt a sense of accomplishment to properly honor the remarkable leader of this community, Frances Hashimoto!
We had a birthday party for five of our members who were born in this quarter: Joyce Chinn, Chris Komai, Makiko Nakasone, Helen Ota, and Jan Perry! Though many could not make it, we had a fun Who's Who quiz and the winner who identified each member got a package of delicious Oolong tea package directly imported from Hong Kong. To know that Chris has been a dedicated Dodger fan who used to cry when the team lost and that he drives his mom's 2005 white Honda CR-V, we all felt we now know him a little better. Makiko treated everyone with the famous Porto's fruit tart to celebrate the occasion.
The beautiful Storrier Sterns Japanese Garden in Pasadena hosted the re-plantong ceremony of the A-bomb survived camellia tree on Sunday, May 8th. This was a project by Hiroshima Rotary Club, Yoneyama Yuai Rotary Club, and Yoneyama Yuai E-Rotary Club in collaboration with Green Legacy, a non-profit to promote peace in the world by re-planting bomb survived trees and plants.
The Rotary Club of Little Tokyo supports the project, and some of us sacrificed Mother's Day and attended this very special event. Pictured are from left to right Larry Gillham, PDG Elsa Gillham, Hiro Yokota and his wife, Yukiko Yokota, Mari Robinson, Haru Takehana, Makiko Nakasone, Weili Materna, Derek Furuta of Southern California Gardeners' Federation (SCGF), Tsukasa Watanabe, Ellen Sun, DG DJ Sun, and Brian Yamazaki of SCGF.
There were also Koto performance as well as the tea ceremony by Omote Senke school of tea.
It was a beautiful ceremony, which provoked many thoughts on peace.
Hiro Yokota and Makiko Nakasone were very warmly welcomed by the Glendale Rotary on April 28. We could thank the 45-member club in person for their generosity to sponsor our club, send PDG Chuck Reinhart as our mentor, and purchased our 4-Way Test banner. We exchanged the club banners with President Armen Khalafyan.
One of the inspirational moment is when the long-time Rotarian and the most generous member, Sam Carvajal, stood up after the presentation by representatives of the Healthy Start, a Glendale Unified School District's department which serves the homeless and foster care students. Sam proposed, "Let's donate to Healthy Start. I will match ever dollar!" In the next 5 minutes, more than 10 members raised hands, donating $100 each. With Sam's matching, they donated more than $2,000!
Eleven members and friends got up early again and gathered at the Frances Hashimoto Plaza for our monthly beautification project on Sunday, April 24! For many, this was the second weekend clean up in a row, but we were all happy to see the end results. Our Community Service Chair/VP/President-Elect, Mike Okamoto, brought his impeccable drawing of the stone monument we are planning to install to honor late Frances Hashimoto at the plaza. After the clean up, our own Yokko-san and her husband/designated photographer, Hiroyuki-san treated us with tasty coffee and sweets. Thanks always for your kind hospitality!
Pictured are from left to right are Mari Robinson, Makiko Nakasone, Weili Materna, Yokko Ueda, Joanne Kumamoto, Collin from Sustainable Little Tokyo, Collin's mom, Derek Furukawa, Collin's dad, Mike Okamoto, and Hiro Yokota. Not pictured are Hiroyuki Ueda and Tomomi Kanemaru of Nikkan Sun newspaper.
Meeting on April 19 @ Far Bar from 11:45 am to 1:00 pm
Attended: June Berk, Makiko Nakasone, Mike Okamoto, Mari Robinson, Tsukasa Watanabe, Hiro Yokota
It is terrible to hear about the earthquakes in Kumamoto and Rotary Club of Little Tokyo express sincere sympathy to those we were affected by them. We are currently collecting your kind donations to the victims. If you would like to make a donation, please make your check payable to the Little Tokyo Rotary Foundation and give it to Yokko Ueda, the foundation treasurer.
Pledge of Allegiance: June Berk
4 Way Test: Hiro Yokota (Japanese) & Mari Robinson (English)
Rotary Day of Service at the LA River was successful. There were 15 club members, families, and friends. Everyone enjoyed the day. Thanks, Mike, for organizing the group!
Frances Hashimoto Plaza Monument project is making progress. Mike showed the design and reported that we picked up 3 stones and a granite plaque. Wording for the plaque is being finalized with JACCC and Hashimoto family.
FHP beautification project is on Sunday, April 24 from 9:30 am to 10:30 am.
We will have a Spring Social for the seniors at the Little Tokyo Tower on Wednesday, April 27 from 11:00 am. Lumbini preschool children from Higashi Honganji will sing TWO songs!!
We will be dark next Tuesday as we will have a joint meeting with Glendale Noon club on Thursday, April 28 from noon to 1:30 pm at the Embassy Suites in Glendale.
District Conference will be from April 28 to May 1 at the Hilton Hotel Mission Bay.
A-Bomb survived camellia tree re--planting ceremony at Storrier Steaner Japanese Garden in Pasadena on May 8
District Assembly in Carson Community Center from 7 am to noon on May 14: new board members and officers for the next Rotary year are encouraged to attend.
Club Runner demonstration: President Makiko showed contents and function of our webpage: http://littletokyorotary.org/Please visit the website! If you have technical issues, please call toll free 877-469-2582 by 2pm as the service center is located in Toronto.
Kudos to our Community Service Chair/PE, Mike Okamoto, for recruiting as many as 15 club members, family members, and friends to participate in the Rotary Day of Service on Saturday, April 16. I think our club had the most number of participants in the District! The L.A. River near the Sepulveda Sports Complex in Van Nuys became so clean, and we all felt really good.
Those who sacrificed their beautiful Saturday morning to come for the clean up are: Mike Okamoto, Hiro Yokota, Weili Materna, Sylvia and Yoshi Ena, Joyce and Greg Chinn and their friends, Connie Yuhara, and Brian Ikeda, Chris Komai, Miyako Hotel's Keiji Kobayashi and his entire family, Ayaka, Kaeru, and Mahiro, and myself.
Sorry, I seemed to have missed the group photo, and could picture just five: (from left to right) Weili Materna, Brian Ikeda, Connie Yuhara, Joyce Chinn, and Makiko Nakasone.
Trying to beat the morning cross town traffic, several members became early birds and made it to the last quarterly District Breakfast at LAX Westin on April 5th at 7 am. We love the friendship with other Rotarians in the district, but also wanted to show our support to the Interact and Rotaract students, the next generation Rotarians, who were emcees and organizers of the breakfast. The room was packed with more than 300 attendees.
Our club was again recognized as one of dozen clubs which inducted new club members this Rotary year. We welcomed a total of five new members so far, a net gain of 25%.
Shown in the picture from left to right are Makiko Nakasone, Joyce Chinn, Mari Robinson, and Mike Okamoto. Attended but not shown in the photo are Sylvia Ena and Jan Perry who had to leave early for work. As you may see, some of us purchased Rotary backpacks to support the Interact abd Rotaract students who are already planning for next year's humanitarian trip!
The joint meeting with Burbank Sunrise was a big success on 3-29-16! Some of us became early birds, attended their 7:15 am meeting at the Burbank Holiday Inn, and were ever so warmly welcomed. We were happy that we could thank them for their generous support to our club in person. We will not forget their kindness to donate their $192 Happy Bucks earlier this Rotary year, several Tiger rice cookers they had purchased at our first fundraiser, and the banner banner they had given to us.
We proudly presented our brand new club banner for exchange. This banner is the creation by all of our club members over several months, but in particular with the time and effort thrown into by Yokko Ueda, our professional computer graphics designer. The banner was a big hit.
Accompanying Makiko were Tomoko Omura and Weili Materna.
At our monthly beautification project at Frances Hashimoto Plaza yesterday, we were delighted by the visit of Ryan Friedman, the son of late Frances Hashimoto, and his finance, Sharon Im. We were happy that we could personally show Ryan and Sharon what we had been doing to express our gratitude and respect to one of the most respected community leaders, late Frances. Even though it was Easter Sunday, 15 members and friends showed up to clean the plaza, and water the Rosemary we had planted.
Sown in the picture from left to right are: Weili's friend, Kumiko Nakamura, Mari Robinson, Hiro Yokota, Yokko's husband Hiroyuki Ueda, Haru Takehana, President Makiko Nakasone, Ryan Friedman, Weili Materna, Sharon Im, Chris Komai, Joyce Chinn, Mike Okamoto, and Yokko Ueda. Not pictured but came for the clean up are Kathy Ikeda and Derek Furukawa, past president of Gardeners Federation of Southern California. It is important to note that Derek had a conflicting schedule, but instead of skipping the clean up altogether, he came early in the morning to blow leaves on the plaza for us to make our work easier! Now that is commitment and dedication.
As part of the beautification project of the plaza, we are planning to install a stone monument to honor Frances with the money we raised by selling the 52 rice cookers Japan Tiger Corporation of U.S.A. had kindly donated last fall and the Rotary District community grants we recently received.
The next clean up will be ay 9:30 am on Sunday, April 24.