Archive for the 'Shinnenkai' Category

Shinnenkai Celebration Successfully Starts the Year

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]

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.