Toyama-Oregon 25th Anniversary Friendship Delegation

 

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This past April 23 – 28, a delegation led by Mr. Hidetoshi Sunuma, Toyama Prefecture Public Enterprise Administrator, visited Oregon to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the establishment of sister-state relations. Among the visits made by the delegation were local companies such as Columbia Sportswear, Kokusai Semiconductor Equipment Co., and Ajinomoto Windsor, as well as the Portland Japanese Garden and vineyards at Rex Hill and Domaine Serene. During the delegation’s visit, several exchange projects and ceremonial events were held successfully; here is a brief report on some of the major events during the visit.

Toyama Cup Japanese Speech Contest
The delegation’s first order business was attending the 20th Toyama Cup Japanese Speech Contest, held on Sunday, April 24th at the World Trade Center in Portland. The speech contest is a program sponsored by Toyama Prefecture and organized with the cooperation of the Japan-America Society of Oregon. The contest encourages college and university students in their Japanese studies by providing an opportunity for students to hone their language ability and public speaking skills. Representing the Toyama delegation, Public Enterprise Administrator Mr. Sunuma and prefectural assembly member Mr. Seikichi Hienae joined the panel of judges.

IMG_1075Across two different divisions, 16 contestants shared their inspirational and thought inspiring experiences concerning themes of personal challenges, identity, future plans, and more. Toyama delegation members were deeply impressed by the language ability and quality of preparation of each participant. After the judge’s deliberation period, participants were recognized and selected contestants were awarded prizes for their excellent performances. This year’s winners included:

Level 1 (lower division):
1st: Lance Crafton, Willamette University
2nd: Graham Smith, Portland State University
3rd. Kateryne Velazco, Lewis and Clark College

Level 2 (higher division):
1st: Michaela Duffey, Linfield College
2nd: Peilin Linda Miao, University of Oregon
3rd: Alexandra Griffis, University of Oregon

The grand prize winner for this year was Michaela Duffey of Linfield College, who will be receiving an all-expenses-paid trip to Toyama!

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After the winners were announced, a small reception was organized for participants, former participants, JASO members and related parties. In attendance was Consul General Kojiro Uchiyama of the Consular Office of Japan in Portland, who congratulated the participants and praised the Toyama-Oregon relationship for remaining active over 25 years.

25th Anniversary Celebration of Toyama-Oregon Friendship

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On April 26th, an evening reception was held in the Wells Fargo Center in order to celebrate the 25th anniversary of friendship between Toyama Prefecture and the State of Oregon. The event brought together former exchange employees, members of local IMG_1276organizations such as JASO and the Shokookai of Portland, and other friends of Toyama. Starting off the evening, an address was given by Consul General Uchiyama, followed by delegation leader Mr. Sunuma. Representing the state of Oregon was Ms. Kristen Leonard, the Governor’s Chief of Staff, who gave a wonderful toast, followed by a Mr. Hienae, who finished the formalities with a kanpai.
Guests enjoyed music played on the koto while sampling the delicious food, a fusion made with ingredients local to Toyama and Oregon. Toyama favorites such as trout sushi, firefly squid and white shrimp were also available, and Toyama’s locally-brewed sake was available alongside Oregon beer and wine.
It was a very pleasant evening with new meetings and reunions of old friends; long-time Toyama supporters brought out photo albums, and old stories were told, and plenty of laughter was shared. At the end of the evening, Toyama delegation members were left impressed by how the sister-state relationship has touched the lives of so many people. It was an honor and a pleasure for our delegation to play a role in continuing this wonderful friendship!

Donations of the “Toyama Manga Collection”

In celebration of the educational exchange occurring between Toyama and Oregon, Toyama Prefecture donated collections of Toyama manga and books to two educational institutions that partnered with Toyama institutions for exchange programs, the International School of Beaverton, and Portland State University. Each collections contains nearly 200 volumes of manga and books whose authors are from Toyama, or are set in Toyama.

On April 26th, the delegation visited Portland State University, where the donation ceremony was held. Dean Cliff Allen and many faculty members and students of the School of Business Administration greeted the delegation warmly, and after introductions, the presentation ceremony of the Toyama Manga Collection was held. Afterwards, delegation leader Mr. Sunuma gave a short presentation on Toyama and overview of the prefecture’s activities to about 30 graduate students in the program. Students were particularly interested in the prefecture’s system of transferring employees between departments, which is somewhat different from the style seen in the US.
IMG_1228After fielding questions and thanking the students for their attention, we walked through the beautiful campus to the library, built around a venerable old tree. We toured the library and saw the stacks where the Toyama Manga Collection would soon be available for students to peruse. The group was very impressed at the comfortable and functional study areas, the library’s excellent resources, and its overall popularity with students.
Exchange between Portland State University and Toyama picked up last year, when a large group of students from Toyama Prefectural University participated in a short-term study abroad program. English is an important communication tool for Toyama students, and what better place to learn than Oregon, Toyama’s sister state? As some of the business administration students of PSU already know, Japanese language ability may prove to be a very valuable skill as well; as such, the delegation hopes to see continued partnership in education moving forward.

The following day, the delegation paid a visit to the International School of Beaverton, for the donation of the Toyama Manga Collection and a look at how Japanese language education forms part of the school’s culture. The International School of Beaverton officially formed a sister-school relationship with Toyama’s Kosugi High School in 2013, and this year short exchange trips have been held for small groups of students from both schools to visit each other.
IMG_1297Upon arriving at the school, the delegation was greeted by Principal O’Neill, and treated to a welcome performance by the school’s chorus. Afterwards, the official presentation of the manga collection was made, and a reception with tasty cookies was held. Many students of Japanese came to speak with our delegation members, who were happy to have the chance to speak to the students directly. As well, since the school has Spanish and Chinese programs, and a student body with many students from diverse backgrounds, the delegation enjoyed meeting many students and hearing about their experiences.
After the reception, the delegation was able to take a tour of the school, and was even allowed to sit in on the first part of Ms. Mikako West’s Japanese class. We were all very impressed by the student’s abilities and positive, relaxed attitudes toward learning. Later on during the tour, we were shown the library, where manga and books from Toyama will soon be color-coded and stacked alongside books in English, Spanish and Chinese. Some of the students were kind enough to explain their research projects to us, and show us what they were working on. As we left the school to continue with the day’s schedule, we felt inspired by the energy of the kids at the International School of Beaverton. Surely, the books donated by Toyama will be put to good use as the students continue their Japanese studies, and their interactions with their sister school here in Toyama.

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富山県・オレゴン州友好提携25周年訪問団
2016年4月23日―28日、富山県の須沼公営企業管理者を団長とする訪問団がオレゴン州に派遣され、様々な行事で友好提携25周年を祝いました。コロンビア・スポーツウェア本社やKokusai Semiconductor Equipment Co., 味の素ウィンザー社などの企業見学とともに、ポートランド日本庭園やワイナリーのRex HillとDomaine Sereneも視察しました。様々な会議と記念交流プロジェクトが行われた中から、主なイベントをここで報告します。

富山カップ日本語スピーチコンテスト
最初の行事として、訪問団が4月24日、ポートランド世界貿易センターにて行われた第20回の富山カップ日本語スピーチコンテストに参加しました。富山カップは、富山県が主催し、オレゴン日米協会の協力のもとに行うスピーチコンテストで、大学生が日本語学習に励み、言語能力と発表力の向上を図る機会となります。富山県の代表として、須沼管理者と稗苗議員が審査員のパネルに参加しました。

2つのエントリーグループに分かれた16人の参加者が観客の前に立ち、個人的な挑戦やアイデンティティー、将来の夢などの興味深いテーマについて、自分の経験を感情を込めて発表しました。訪問団のメンバーは、参加者の言語能力や良質なスピーチに深く感動しました。審査員の意見をまとめてから、各参加者を表彰、特に優れているスピーチには賞品を与えました。

コンテスト結果IMG_1112
レベル1 (学習歴が短い方)
1位 Lance Crafton, Willamette University
2位Graham Smith, Portland State University
3位Kateryne Velazco, Lewis and Clark College

レベル2 (学習歴が長い方)
1位Michaela Duffey, Linfield College
2位Peilin Linda Miao, University of Oregon
3位Alexandra Griffis, University of Oregon

今回の最優秀賞、そして富山県への研修旅行を勝ち取ったのは、Michaela Duffey (Linfield College)さんでした。おめでとうございます!
優勝者の賞品贈呈式のあと、参加者や前回の優勝者、日米協会を集めたレセプションがありました。在ポートランド領事事務所の内山総領事からご挨拶をいただき、参加者の努力を称賛するとともに、富山県とオレゴン州の25年間の揺るぎない関係も高く評価しました。

富山県・オレゴン州友好提携25周年記念交流会
4月26日の夜に、ポートランド市のウェルズ・ファーゴ・センターにて、富山県とオレゴン州友好提携25周年を祝うレセプションが開催されました。これまでの両県州に尽力したオレゴン州政府職員や富山県に派遣されていた元州政府職員、現地関係団体等の方々と親睦を図りました。内山総領事と富山県の須沼管理者の挨拶に加え、オレゴン州政府知事室長クリスティン・レオナード氏からも挨拶をいただき、稗苗県議会議員は乾杯の発声をしました。IMG_1274
琴の演奏を聴きながら、富山県とオレゴン州のフュージョン料理を堪能しました。富山県のシロエビやホタルイカ、地酒に加えて、オレゴン州の食材を生かした料理やオレゴン州産のワインやビールも振る舞われました。
会場は思い出話や笑い声であふれ、県州関係の歴史を語る写真アルバムも登場し、新しい出会いと友達の再会の場となりました。両県州の間、多くの方々が関わってきたことは、深く印象に残りました。富山訪問団の一員として、この素晴らしい関係に参加させていただいたことは、光栄に思っています。

とやまManga文庫贈呈式
富山県とオレゴン州の教育分野での更なる交流を図り、富山県と交流を進めている二つの教育機関(ポートランド州立大学、インターナショナル・スクール・オブ・ベーバトン)に「とやまManga文庫」を贈呈することにしました。各文庫は、富山ゆかりの漫画や小説約200冊を含みます。

4月26日に、富山県の訪問団は贈呈式が行われるポートランド州立大学に向かいました。クリフ・アレン大学院プログラム長のほか、国際経営管理学部の先生や院生に温かくお迎えしていただき、贈呈式が行われました。その後、富山県や県庁の活動について、大学院生30名程度に須沼公営企業管理者が講義を行いました。特に、定期的に異動がある日本の公務員制度については、アメリカの公務員制度と異なるため、興味を抱いたようでした。
質疑応答が終わり、キャンパスを歩き、大木の周りに建築された図書館に案内されました。図書館を見学し、とやまManga文庫が保管される本棚のほか、快適な学習スペースや図書館の充実した施設、生徒たちに人気な点が印象的でした。

昨年、富山県立大学の多くの学生がポートランド州立大学の短期留学プログラムに参加しました。富山の学生にとって、英語は大事なコミュニケーションツールで、富山県の姉妹州であるオレゴンは、その能力を磨くための最適な場所ではないかと思います。また、ポートランド州立大学の国際経営管理学部の学生にとっても、日本語能力が貴重なスキルになる可能性は十分あることから、今後とも、教育分野でのパートナーシップをさらに発展していきたいものです。

IMG_1299翌日に、インターナショナル・スクール・オブ・ビーバトン(ISB)にて、とやまManga文庫の贈呈式と学校での日本語教育の様子を見学しました。ISB校は、2013年に富山県の小杉高校と正式に姉妹関係を結び、今年も両学校間の生徒派遣が行われています。

IMG_1309ISBに到着し、ジル・オニール校長に迎えられるとともに、合唱部の生徒からの歓迎パフォーマンスもありました。贈呈式が行われた後、レセプションがあり、日本語を勉強している生徒たちが訪問団に日本語で自己紹介したり、学校のことを話してくれたりしました。学校では、日本語だけではなく、中国語とスペイン語のプログラムもあり、多彩なルーツを持つ生徒たちの思いや経験について聞くことは楽しかったです。
レセプションが終わり、ウェスト先生の日本語クラスを視察しました。先生はテンポよく問題を出し、生徒らは、間違えることを恐れず、積極的に発言、発表をし、和やかで活気ある雰囲気で授業が行われていました。最後に、図書館を視察し、富山の漫画文庫を設置する場所を見ました。英語、中国語、スペイン語の本の横に、多くの新しい富山の漫画が並ぶことは、生徒の日本語能力、そして富山への思いへとつながることを期待しています。

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