Hope everyone had a nice start to the new year.
Japanese culture features a number of fun events around the new year. When I lived in Japan, first we had a big Bonen-kai party to say good-bye to the old year. Then, we would welcome in the new year with another big Shogatsu party and feast a few weeks later.
While my friends did not adorn a Christmas tree, they did display a small Kadomatsu arrangement in their homes, made of pine and bamboo branches, and a few flowers. They symbolize good fortune and fresh beginnings for the new year.
I used to enjoy going to the temple or shrine for the Dondo-yaki ceremony, where local people will dispose of their Kadomatsu in a huge mound, to eventually create a dramatic bonfire.
Once the fire dies down, the worshipers are allowed to walk over the hot embers in their bare feet, as it is said that you will feel no pain if you are of pure heart and mind. Needless to say, my feet were burning up and I ran through the ashes as fast as I could!
Ok . . . now about the NVC Foundation. January is when we prepare for our elections of new Officers and Board Members. We are collecting nominations for these positions in January, including nominations from the “floor” during our Membership Meeting on January 29. So, if you are interested in participating, please let us know by the January meeting.
Then, the final slate will be prepared and voted on a month later by our membership, at our February 26th meeting.
Speaking of Officers, I’d like to extend a huge thank you to Steve Shinoda for serving as our Recording Secretary over the past year. He will be stepping down from this position, and we will miss him.
Bev Kashino and Craig Yamane are leading an effort to formalize our roles and responsibilities. This will start in February with training by the 501 Commons organization for all Board Members, on the best practices of governing non-profit organizations.
A big thanks to Kerry Taniguchi and Melvin Inouye for overseeing the installation of our security fencing at the NVC Hall and Memorial Wall. In addition to managing the project, the lunches they organized were fantastic!
We’d also like to thank Ryan Seo, a student and eagle scout candidate, who will work with the NVC Foundation on his Eagle Scout Service Project to build a permanent directory structure for our Memorial Wall. Ryan is the son of Stan Seo, a member of the NVC.
And finally, throughout the year, I have been amazed and humbled by the generosity of our Membership and Community at large. Your donations have really helped to support our Foundation during this year of pandemic which has severely restricted our fundraising activities. To our donors, a huge thank you for remembering your loved ones and our organization.
Wishing everyone a great 2021! Looking forward to good fortune and fresh beginnings for us all in the new year.