Sunday, 23 February 2020

Emperor Naruhito’s 60th Birthday Reception

Report by Therese Sakamoto (FSFA Executive Committee Member)

On Thursday 13th February, Vice-Chairperson Simon Hast and I represented FSFA at Emperor Naruhito’s 60th Birthday Reception which was held at the Japanese Consul-General’s residence in Lansell Road, Toorak. Invitations were extended to government offices, sister city associations, Japanese companies, cultural groups and other promoters and supporters of the Australia Japan relationship. The City of Frankston was represented by Mayor Sandra Mayer and Councilor Colin Hampton.

Upon arrival, we were greeted by Consul-General Mr. Kazuyoshi Matsunaga and his wife Yoko and escorted to the giant marquee on the back lawn to mingle with the other guests whilst enjoying delicious cold beverages and delicate morsels of Japanese cuisine such as sushi, tempura prawns and karaage chicken. Local Japanese companies proudly introduced their products in stalls around the perimeter of the marquee including Choya, Asahi, Kirin, Itoen, Shimora drink companies, plus sake from Saga Prefecture, awamori from Okinawa Prefecture, rice promotion and Kobayashi Healthcare goods.

The formal part of the evening was opened with a lively taiko drum performance by the fabulous Wadaiko Rindo group, who have performed at many of our Japanese Festivals and will do so again in late November this year. A Japanese-born and Australian-raised violinist led all attendees in the national anthems of Australia and Japan, then Consul-General Matsunaga presented his speech. He spoke of the wonderful bonds between our two countries and gave examples of the support Japan received from Australia during its natural disaster recovery in 2011 and Japan’s reciprocity during our recent bushfires and recovery efforts here in Australia this summer. He also talked about the upcoming Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics and the Japanese tennis players’ magnificent results in this year’s Australian Open.

Victorian Members of Parliament also addressed the gathering and gave recognition for the long friendship, support and promotion of Japanese culture which we have received over the past 190 years since our connection commenced. The traditional ‘kagami biraki’ ceremony in which a barrel of sake is opened by the official party, followed by a toast marked the conclusion of formalities.

The Mayor, Councilor Hampton, Simon and I enjoyed a brief chat with the Consul-General and his wife during the evening and were impressed by his knowledge of the Frankston Susono Friendship Association and his praise and recognition of the close personal, not economical, ties that our sister cities demonstrate. What a huge compliment for FSFA to receive!

I felt very privileged for this opportunity to attend such an important event on behalf of FSFA. This year marks Emperor Naruhito’s first birthday since his ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne in May last year. In Japan, the 60th birthday is called ‘kanreki’ and is one of great importance and celebration as the person has gone through the 12 years of the zodiac 5 times. The birthday person traditionally wears a red cap, red vest and sits on a red zabuton (cushion). I have fond memories of sharing in this celebration of my host mum’s 60th birthday in Susono many years ago.

Therese Sakamoto (FSFA), Frankston Mayor Sandra Mayer, Consul-General Kazuyoshi and Yoko Matsunaga, Deputy Mayor Colin Hampton and Simon Hast (FSFA)

Saturday, 8 February 2020

FSFA February Bulletin No. 12

Frankston Susono Friendship Association

Bulletin No. 12

February 2020

Dear Members (Friends of FSFA),

Welcome to our old friends and new found friends to the FSFA monthly bulletin. It is a snapshot of our happenings and interesting things about Japan.

Don’t forget you are most welcome to attend our monthly FSFA Executive Committee meetings. They are held at 6.30 p.m. on the first Tuesday of the month. Location is the Acacia Room in the Frankston Council Offices. Enter off Young Street. Our next meeting will be held on 3 March 2020.

2020 is underway

As mentioned in our January Bulletin, we have many exciting events organised for 2020. Planning is well underway for many of these, including the delegation visit from Susono and the Japanese Festival to be held on Sunday 29 November at Frankston High School’s Senior Campus. We will again be relying on the support of many to assist us with these important events so please keep us in mind and note the date on your calendar. After our March meeting we will be send out Expression of Interest forms to our performers, stall holders, schools, exhibitors, food trucks and others.

A calendar of events appears at the end of the bulletin.

Wadaiko Rindo Taiko Drumming Group performing at the 2018 Japanese Festival

FSFA Chairperson Julie D’Arcy on the mend

We are very pleased to report that our Chairperson Julie D’Arcy is making great progress as she recovers from her recent hip replacement. After her Wednesday operation she spent several days recovering at Beleura Private Hospital before heading home the following Monday. Julie is moving well with the aid of crutches and is looking forward to attending our Proclamation Anniversary event.

Former FSFA Chairperson – 2020 Frankston Citizen of the Year!

Our former Chairperson Peter Patterson was recently awarded 2020 Frankston Citizen of the Year by Mayor Sandra Mayer at a ceremony held on Australia Day. Peter has made a significant contribution to the Frankston community over many years with his service to FSFA and many other community organisations. Under Peter's leadership, FSFA was transformed into one of the most innovative and robust sister city organisations in Australia. Congratulations Peter on receiving this most prestigious and well-deserved honour!

FSFA Committee member David Cross’s article posted on our website can be viewed HERE.

Emperor Naruhito’s 60th Birthday

Emperor Naruhito will celebrate his 60th birthday on 23rd February but local celebrations will take place at the residence of Japan’s Consul-General Kazuyoshi Matsunaga on Thursday 13th. FSFA Vice-Chairperson Simon Hast and Executive Committee member Therese Sakamoto are looking forward to representing FSFA at this function and will provide a report in the March Bulletin.

Japanese Summer Festival

The Melbourne Japanese Summer Festival returns again in 2020 at Federation Square to delight Melbourne with all that Japan has to offer. Come down to Federation Square on Sunday 23rd February 2020 from 11:30AM to 5:30PM. The 2020 Festival will bring you all of the traditional performances, food and activities that you have come to love – and introduce a new generation of young performers who love to sing, dance and cosplay. The whole family is welcome!

For more information please visit the Festival website:

Cat Café Melbourne

Cat Café Melbourne is Australia's first cat café. It offers a calm and relaxing environment where you can come and play with the cats. There’s a selection of snacks and beverages you can take in with you to the cat areas. Sit back with a cat on your lap and enjoy your latte. There’s also a range of cat merchandise and gifts for both humans and cats.

All the cats are from rescue shelters. Cat Café Melbourne works with The Lost Dog’s Home and the Geelong Animal Welfare Society to increase awareness of the benefits of rescue animals. There is a charge to enter the cat area – bookings can be made online. For safety reasons, children must be at least 8 years old to enter the cat area.

The café is located at 30 Guildford Lane, Melbourne –

Working in Japan or Planning an Extended Visit?

For those of you who may be thinking of working in Japan or perhaps planning an extended visit I was recently sent information about this official Government of Japan website. It contains lots of interesting information and a large number of links – particularly at the bottom of the page.

To visit the website please click HERE.

Sumo Surprise!

In our January Bulletin I admitted to being obsessed with sumo wrestling and I always look forward to each tournament held during the odd numbered months of the year (6 tournaments in total). The January Hatsu (Opening) Basho is held at the Ryōgoku Kokugikan in Tokyo – this is Sumo HQ and also stages the May [Natsu (Summer) Basho] and September [Aki (Autumn) Basho] Tournaments. Each tournament is held over 15 days, usually starting on the 2nd Sunday of the month.

Rikishi (sumo wrestlers) in the top two divisions (makuuchi and jūryō) wrestle once each day and aim for a majority of wins to secure promotion within their division – a losing record will usually result in a demotion in the rankings. The wrestler with the most wins after 15 days is declared the champion – a playoff bout may be required in the event of a tie.

A unique result occurred in the January tournament where the highest makuuchi division was won by 33-year-old Tokushoryu (pictured below), the lowest ranked wrestler in the division! There are usually 42 wrestlers competing, ranked from Yokozuna through to Maegashira – Tokushoryu started the tournament at West Maegashira 17 and finished with a 14 – 1 record to secure his first ever top division championship. Upon winning his final bout to secure the victory we saw a rare display of emotion as the tears flowed probably due to the pressure he had felt in the build-up to the final day, as well as the loss of his University sumo club mentor who had died suddenly at the age of 55 on the seventh day of the tournament. It was an emotional conclusion to what had been an enthralling competition!

January Tournament Champion Tokushoryu
The next tournament in Osaka will start on Sunday 8 March – International Women’s Day. You can follow every tournament’s matches, results, awards and other information by using this link:

Executive Committee Members Farewell

Bob and Heather Tanner have recently decided to resign from the FSFA Executive Committee. They joined our committee in 2018 and were members of the Frankston delegation that travelled to Japan and Susono for the Australian Fair held in late September 2018. We thank Bob and Heather for their service and wish them well for the future.

Keeping in Contact

Our website and Facebook Page will help you stay connected to what FSFA is up to.

Upcoming Events

Scheduled Date
FSFA Executive Committee Meetings
Frankston Council Chambers
First Tuesday each month @ 6.30 p.m.
Proclamation Anniversary 38 Years
Japanese Garden Frankston High School
Sunday 23rd February 2020
Tastepoint Fundraiser
Frankston High School Senior Campus
Wednesday 20th May 2020
2020 FSFA Annual General Meeting
Frankston Council Chambers
1st September 2020
2020 Japanese Speech Contest
Monash University, Frankston Campus
4th September 2020
2020 Japanese Garden Hanami Party
Japanese Garden Frankston High School
18th October 2020
2020 Susono Delegation Visit
Various venues in Frankston
Thursday 26th to Monday 30th November
FSFA Japanese Festival
Frankston High School Senior Campus
Sunday 29th November 2020
Frankston Delegation to Susono
Susono, Shizuoka, Japan
October 2021 – Dates to be confirmed


We welcome your thoughts on the bulletin and things we could include, etc. We all share a passion for Japan and its culture and traditions. This is one way we are using to share and spread the love.

Thank You and we look forward to keeping in touch!

Simon Hast

On behalf of the Frankston Susono Friendship Association

Wednesday, 29 January 2020

Australia Day 2020 in Frankston

Article contributed by David Cross

At the Frankston Arts Centre on Australia Day, our former Chairperson Peter Patterson was named the Frankston Citizen of the Year 2020 by our Mayor Sandra Mayer.  The ceremony was attended by Frankston’s new CEO Phil Cantillon (who acted as MC), our local Federal and State politicians, other award winners and more than 100 local residents who were duly sworn in as Australian citizens.

Mayor Sandra Mayer, Peter Patterson, Lauren Hornsby (2019 COTY) and Cr Colin Hampton

Peter was an excellent choice, as he’s made a significant contribution to the Frankston community over many years.  Apart from chairing the FSFA for 19 years (2001 to 2019), Peter’s undertakings have included:

·         Chair, Frankston Council’s Environmental Advisory Committee (2010 – 2013)
·      Deputy Chair, Frankston Council’s Economic Development Committee (2010 – 2012)
·         President, Greater Frankston Business Chamber (2011 – 2016)
·         Chair, Frankston Green Business Network (2010 – 2013)
·         Member, Committee for Greater Frankston (2013 – 2017)

Under Peter’s leadership, the FSFA was transformed into one of the most innovative and robust sister organisations in Australia. The Association has won a number of national awards from Sister Cities Australia (SCA) for its work.
Peter successfully organised and led a number of delegations of more than 30 people from Frankston on goodwill tours of Japan. These groups have included Frankston City Council representatives, students and local community members. In June 2005 Peter arranged through the Victorian Government for a 20-member student band from Frankston to perform at the World Expo in Nagoya as part of Victoria Week celebrations.

Back: Tai, Cheryl, Anita & David (Community Event); Peter Patterson (COTY)
Front: Gina Poulos (Senior COTY), Mayor Mayer, Michaela Goggin (Young COTY)

As part of his work with the Association, he has formed a strong alliance with Frankston High School, which houses the Frankston Susono Japanese Community Garden. Peter is involved in helping care for the garden, as well as negotiating the use of the school facilities to host the Japanese Festivals over recent years, which have attracted many hundreds of people.

Katherine, Peter and Margaret Patterson

Out of a population of more than 140,000 residents in Frankston, Peter is a worthy recipient of the Citizen of the Year for 2020.