President’s Message March 2016

by Lorene Oikawa

I pulled out my phone today and took another peek at the short video I shot at the 2nd Annual GVJCCA Japanese Canadian Community Bowl-a-thon on February 21st. Music blaring, smiling faces, and the thunder of pins being knocked down. The camera pans across the venue, and I see the bowling lanes full, with familiar and not so familiar faces, and teams of families, friends, and colleagues, who came out for a fun afternoon of bowling in Burnaby.

It was fun, and for a good cause. The Bowl-a-thon is a unique Japanese Canadian community fundraising event supporting the GVJCCA, Nikkei Place Foundation, Tonari Gumi, Powell Street Festival Society, Vancouver Japanese Language School & Japanese Hall, and the Vancouver Buddhist Temple.

From young to senior, all ages participated, and we saw about 110 bowlers work their “armswing” to avoid a gutter ball and to achieve a strike. Kat Hisanaga showed us how it’s done and had the top score of 212 for male bowlers. Bowl-a-thon committee member June Nishi showed good follow-through and scored 170, the highest for the female bowlers. Congratulations to the winners, and thanks to all the bowlers for your participation and your pledges. Special congratulations goes to Ken Yada who repeats his win from the first Bowl-a-thon by raising the highest amount of pledges.

This successful second Bowl-a-thon is the result of great team work which includes our fabulous sponsors, donors, and volunteers. Thank you! The Bowl-a-thon committee put in countless hours meeting at the JCCA office, emailing, making phone calls, and running around to ensure the event would run smoothly. Thank you April Shimizu, Perry Nishihata, June Nishi, May Hamanishi, Yuji Matson, Rutsu Shikano, and Ken Nishi. It’s been great working with this team, and we’re already making plans for next year’s Bowl-a-thon.

Please check out the list of all the contributors, and some photos from the Bowl-a-thon HERE.

Your support is greatly appreciated, because it means we can continue our work including the monthly publication of The Bulletin magazine aka Geppo to our Japanese readers. The GVJCCA is a non-profit society and depends upon membership dues, donations, and fundraisers like the Bowl-a-thon.

We’ll have more to say about our plans for the next year, and a few highlights of our past year, at our GVJCCA Annual General Meeting at the Nikkei Centre, Room 200, at 2pm on Saturday, March 12. It will mark one year since I became president, and it has been an amazing year. Our Japanese Canadian community may not be as big as other communities, but there is a wealth of talent in our community and an indomitable spirit and passion for ensuring our art, culture, and stories will be preserved, lessons learned, and for social justice.

Together we have achieved so much, and there is so much more we can accomplish. I am honoured to have your support, and to work with our incredible board, volunteers, others in our community, and with other communities. I look forward to continuing our work together and meeting with all of you whether virtually on social media or in person at a gathering, workshop, or other event. I will also continue to do outreach and building more connections to strengthen our network.

We will be having more opportunities to come together in the coming year. In May, Asian Heritage Month, our Japanese Canadian community will be highlighted, and we are working on plans for a workshop and a unique walking tour. We will be a part of the Asian Heritage Month opening event in April. In June, practise your swing at our annual golf tournament with Tonari Gumi. Get ready to eat some delicious salmon in July at our annual Wild Salmon Barbeque at the 40th Powell Street Festival. You can pick up some musubi sushi too, and then drop by our community booth.

Stay tuned for announcements in The Bulletin / Geppo.

You play a part in all of this by being a member and a subscriber, and supporting us, and we are very grateful. If you’re interested in learning more about Japanese Canadian arts & culture or history or just want to spend some time in the Japanese Canadian community, consider volunteering at one of our events. Contact gvjcca@gmail.com or call 604.777.5222