President's Report by Mike Dunphy, presented at the 2019 AGM of the Japan Australia Friendship Association on Wednesday 27 November 2019

 

Last year JAFA celebrated its 20th anniversary and my report to the AGM was a focus on the achievements of the Association over that time. It would be easy therefore, to rest on our laurels and take a complacent view of the future. But as an active volunteer community organization that is not an option.

Our biggest event each year is the Kodomo no Hi Japan Festival which attracts an attendance of 7-8,000 people who enjoy a unique celebration of Japanese culture as practised by Australians interested in Japan and Japanese residents in Adelaide. It brings together people from a variety of backgrounds in a spirit of friendship and harmony and promotes unity in our diverse community. And next year will be the 25th anniversary of the first Kodomo no Hi celebration.

The next big event is the AnimeGO! Japanese Pop Culture Festival in October. This year the festival was included in the OzAsia Festival program and showcased an exciting and innovative celebration of modern Japan presenting music, dance, food, fashion and anime and manga. It's not longer appropriate to present stereotypes of Japan and this event is our response to outdated images that are unrepresentative of modern Japan.

At this time of year, the JAFA committee is preparing to administer the Japanese Language Proficiency Test. Interest in taking the test has grown significantly in recent years and 159 people have registered for the test next Sunday.

 The Test is just one of the means JAFA engages to promote the study of Japanese language. An award was presented last night at the School of Languages Celebration of Achievement. And we have awards for students who score 20/20 in the SACE Year 12 assessment and this year JAFA presented the first awards to students of Japanese at the University of Adelaide for Excellence in Intermediate and Advanced Japanese.

Our commitment to promoting the study of Japanese has been recognised by the University inviting me to join the Program Committee for the Bachelor of Languages course.

JAFA also conducts classes in origami and calligraphy twice a month and this year has included sashiko Japanese embroidery, which was proved to be very popular. Our instructors are also kept busy throughout the year presenting these craft classes at schools, libraries and community centres.

Over the course of the year we have a number of social gatherings. While tonight is the last of our monthly J-Kai meetings for the year we have one more event to celebrate the end of the year - the bonenkai on Friday 13th December. The Mid-Winter Dinner is always very popular as are the picnics and winery tours, particularly the recent BBQ at Ubertas.

Other events that JAFA has been involved in are the Moon Lantern Festival and the Multicultural Festival where origami and calligraphy workshops were conducted and the Walk Together march to welcome new arrivals into the community and celebrate inclusiveness.

Our ability to organize successful events has been acknowledged by the NFAJS inviting JAFA to help coordinate planning for the national conference in 2020. The planning committee has accepted JAFA's proposal for a focus on Space as the theme for the business sessions and Dr. Mamoru Mohri the first Japanese astronaut has been invited to be the keynote speaker.

As a commuity organization JAFA is always ready to assist other organizations and we were very glad that one of our committee members, Naomi Pietsch, was able to give a presentation to the parents and staff of the Japanese Community School. Her talk on "Child Safety in Australia and what we can do" was well received and appreciated by the school community.

For any organization to be as successful as JAFA requires a committee working together as a team to ensure that events are planned appropriately. All the current committee members are nominating again: Emiko Mayer as Vice President, Victoria Kyriakopoulos as Secretary, Martin Pietsch as Treasurer, Wade Beger as Public Officer and Herbert Dorfmeister, Naomi Pietsch and Chris McKay as general members. We also have a nomination from Mark Brealey who has been doing great work at Kodomo no Hi. Rather than have a ballot and lose a nominee I would like to propose that the current committee be re-appointed and Mark be co-opted to assist the committee.

Finally, as JAFA has a history of making donations to communities in need I'd like to announce that we will be making donations of $3,000 each to the Okinawa Prefectural Governor's fund for the rebuilding of Shuri Castle, destroyed in a recent fire; Save the Children Japan to assist their work in supporting children affected by the flooding resulting from Typhoon Hagibis and Red Cross Australia to assist in their work with the victims and communities devastated by the bushfires in NSW and QLD.

JAFA is a unique association that doesn't take itself too seriously, instead taking what it does seriously. It has the creativity, imagination and passion to bring ideas to fulfillment and take its place as a dynamic community organization. 

Instagram @jafaadelaide #jafaadelaide

 

Diary Dates

 

Saturday 18 January

Origami & Calligraphy Class

2:00pm - 3:30pm

Cowandilla Primary School

21 Jenkins St, Cowandilla 5033

 

Wednesday 22 January

J-KAI 

6:00pm - 9:00pm

Courtyard Bar

Metropolitan Hotel

46 Grote St, Adelaide 5000  

 

Saturday 1 February

Origami & Calligraphy Class

2:00pm - 3:30pm

Cowandilla Primary School

21 Jenkins St, Cowandilla 5033

 

Saturday 1 February

Sashiko Lounge

2:00pm - 3:30pm

Cowandilla Primary School

21 Jenkins St, Cowandilla 5033

 

Saturday 15 February

Origami & Calligraphy Class

2:00pm - 3:30pm

Cowandilla Primary School

21 Jenkins St, Cowandilla 5033

 

Sunday 3 May

Kodomo no Hi Japan Festival

11:00am - 4:00pm

Thebarton Community Centre

Corner South Rd & Ashwin Pde, Torrensville 5031