October 2017 Oshirase – President’s Message

How awesome the first few months have been serving as your president!  We have hit the ground running during an exciting time for the Chamber!  A big thank you to our hard-working Board of Directors and committee chairs who held down the fort during our transition in the Chamber office.   I am happy to announce that Nadia Malloe has recently joined us as our executive assistant.  She is a blessing to work with and we look forward to an amazing year! Lots of good things are going on with your Chamber.

Beware: if you haven’t purchased a ticket for the 19th Annual Taste of Hilo, see the note from Co-Chairs Randy Kurohara, Ka‘iu Kimura and Tracy Yamaguchi. Also, a big mahalo to them and their hard-working committee members and vendors!

On August 27, 1st Vice President Steve Ueda and I attended the Japanese Community Association of Hawaii’s (JCAH) annual Irieto Hoyo Memorial Service at Alae Cemetery.  Among those at the well-attended service was Nathan Abe, family member of the late Senator Sanji Abe. Representatives from various organizations honored and remembered our Japanese ancestors, Issei immigrants that established their legacy by hard work.

This month a delegation of 15 JCCIH members will visit our sister chamber, Higashi-Hiroshima Chamber of Commerce & Industry in Higashi-Hiroshima, Japan.  We are excited to visit sister chamber friends and attend their famous Saijo Sake Festival.  The festival will have more than 900 varieties of sake and attracts over 200,000 people.

As chairperson for the Membership Committee, Carol VanCamp has been instrumental in the annual membership renewals and recruitment.  As the Chamber grows, we continuously look for ways to add value to your membership.  We are happy to announce that we have crossed over the 300-member mark!  Thank you to everyone who continued their membership and we look forward to engaging and meeting with those who have recently joined.

The Social & Cultural Committee led by Gina Tanouye held a successful Goji Kara at the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens.  Read Irene Yamanaka’s article May the Forest Be With You to learn more. Thank you to the garden’s executive director, David Tan, for a one-of-a-kind experience!

On September 17 we attended a farewell and thank you luncheon for the General Consul of Japan, Yasushi Misawa, hosted by the Japanese Community Association at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel. General Consul Misawa is transferring to Berlin, where he will be the deputy chief of mission at the Embassy of Japan in Germany.

Section 1 See the Education Committee’s article below on innovative “Lunch and Learn” communication workshop held last month. Thank you Co-Chairs Debbie Shigehara and Susie Dill.

Speaking of communication, please check out our newly renovated website. You can now access the membership directory by name and category.  You can also register for events, submit a membership application online or renew your membership.  Thank you to Gum Design and Hastings & Pleadwell for building the website!  In addition to a new site, you will notice a weekly e-blast every Wednesday.  The Shinbun Weekly Bulletin streamlines the number of emails you receive from the Chamber.  We hope that this will work for you.  Another upgrade is the ability to RSVP for an event electronically.  This not only saves time, it is more efficient.

This year has been a year of transition and I’m so excited for all of the events that will be coming through the pipeline! The Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Hawaii is so fortunate to have wonderful, caring and committed volunteers.  We can only be successful with the support and participation of our members.

Domo Arigato Gozaimasu!
Audrey Takamine