Last month the Portland-Sapporo Sister City Association (PSSCA) celebrated the New Year by hosting a Shinnenkai celebration at the Portland Japanese Garden. The event was a chance to network with community leaders, Japanese business associates and supporters of PSSCA. Nearly 100 attended the gala and were entertained by the dynamic Taiko and dance group, Takohachi. Catered by Portland’s new Japanese restaurant, Shigezo, the gathering also featured wine and Japan’s popular Sapporo beer.
Consul General Okabe was present and brought cheer to the event with the traditional New Year’s Kanpai (toast). A short speech and thanks for attending was delivered by Steve Orcutt, Vice President of PSSCA, who also read a welcome statement to everyone from the President, Dr. Thompson Faller, who was out of town.
One of the event highlights was the presentation by Grant High School students representing the Sapporo Summer Institute. Led by Michael Bacon, Immersion Education Coordinator at Portland Public Schools and PSSCA Board Member, this exchange program will allow the bright, hard-working student participants an unparalleled opportunity to experience the lifestyle and culture of Portland’s oldest sister city. As reported by Aurelia Wieber, student spokesperson for the group, they will leave June 18 for their trip to Sapporo and spend five weeks in Japan; while there, they will attend classes, conduct surveys and collect data comparing Japanese and American culture. The teen ambassadors will also spend a week in Tokyo where they will participate in an international debate with university students.
TEAM USA Oregon Snow Sculpture Team Members made a special donation to the students to kick-start their fundraising campaign and to show their support to the program. Team manager Charley Scott was on hand to make the presentation. The team leaves this week for the international competition at the Sapporo Snow Festival. (LEARN MORE)
PSSCA wants to thank the Japanese Garden for hosting this year’s Shinnenkai celebration, as well as Matt Weadick of Sapporo Beer for his donation and support.
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Flyer – Shinnenkai Student Speech [PDF]