Archive for December, 2010

Toast the Japanese New Year at Shinnenkai

The Portland-Sapporo Sister City’s Annual Shinnenkai (New Year’s Party) is scheduled for January 14, 2011 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at the Portland Japanese Garden Pavilion. A shinnenkai (“new year gathering”) is the Japanese tradition of welcoming the New Year by toasting its arrival in a gathering of friends and co-workers in January.


This year the general public — along with friends and supporters — is invited to come and start the New Year Japanese style with Japanese entertainment, food and fellowship. Community leaders and board members of the Portland-Sapporo Sister City Association (PSSCA) will be in attendance.

Michael Bacon, PSSCA board member and Portland Public School Immersion Achievement Coordinator, will be in attendance, along with students of Grant High School who will participate in the inaugural five-week Sapporo Summer Institute (or Sapporo Kakikenshu) program. Attendees will learn about this great new program for Portland area students who study Japanese language and culture through Portland schools.

The TEAM USA Oregon Snow Sculpture Team will be on hand to share details about their participation in the Sapporo Snow Festival Snow Sculpture Contest in February, 2011, when they will host a self-guided tourist and business delegation traveling to the Snow Festival. Shinnenkai guests will meet the team of Oregon master artisans who will complete against 16 other international snow sculpture teams from around the world at this world-renowned event that attracts more than two million visitors a year.

Entertainment for the evening will be provided by Takohachi Taiko, Portland’s newest and most dynamic Taiko and Dance Group. This highly talented group of performers is led by performer and composer Yumi Torimaru and shamisen master Kohei Kimura. This special ensemble will ring in the New Year for this wonderful celebration at the Portland Japanese Garden.

Guests will enjoy delicious bento made by one of Oregon’s newest Japanese Izakaya restaurants, Shigezo, and beverages provided by PSSCA supporter, Sapporo Beer. Wine and soda will also be available.

Emcee for the Shinnenkai celebration will be Steve Orcutt, PC, Vice President of the Portland-Sapporo Sister City Association. Steve is a Portland attorney specializing in Real Estate, small business, and asset protection. he’s been a PSSCA board member for the past seventeen years.

Space for this special celebration is limited. Reservations are $20 per person, available through the Japanese Garden, 503.542.0280.

Oregon Snow Sculpture Team Warming Up

The 38th annual Sapporo Snow Sculpture contest begins in February of 2011. Part of the world-famous Sapporo Snow Festival that attracts over two million visitors annually, the contest will host eighteen teams from around the world in its International Division. One of these teams will be Oregon’s own Team USA Oregon Snow Sculpture Team, which will be competing for the eighteenth year.


2011 Snow Festival Poster

The all-volunteer team has been working hard for the last several months planning, designing, visiting sponsors and launching their new website, which contains information about the team, its history and its members, as well as a listing of support staff, sponsors and supporters that help make everything possible.

The Team USA Oregon Snow Sculpture Team was formed in 1985 by members of the Schnee Vogle Ski Club; one of the team’s first sculptures was the Hokkaido Bear, which place second overall in the competition. Besides Sapporo, the team often competes in other countries, like Finland, China and locations in the United States. Supporters include the Portland-Sapporo Sister City Association, the International Trade Administration-Department of Commerce, the City of Portland, Travel Oregon and the Oregon Economic Development Commission, as well as many business and cultural sponsors in the Portland area.

For the first time in its history, Team USA Oregon Snow Sculpture Team will take sponsors, supporters and others interested in business with Japan on an unescorted ‘Introduction to Japan’ delegation tour. Sponsors have an opportunity to not only support the team with either monetary or in-kind donations, but also are invited to come with the team and partake in contest activities, events and meetings. The ‘Introduction to Japan’ opportunities allow a chance to meet city officials, business organization and introduce their Oregon products.

The trip is also a huge cultural opportunity, as the city of Sapporo hosts teams and offers home stays with Sapporo citizens. This is a wonderful chance to meet and live with some of Sapporo’s finest citizens and their families. Home stays are covered with trip costs and may include some meals and assistance with transportation (although tour and delegation participants should plan their own meals and transportation, as this is an unescorted tour).

For more information, visit the team website at TeamUSAOregon.Com. Downloads of the Festival itinerary and applications can be found there, as well as sponsorship applications and instructions on how to accompany the team. Call Charley Scott (Team Manager), at 503.255.2347 or James Hill (Assistant Team Manager), at 503.297.9268 for more information.

CLICK ME to go to the Snow Festival website!