Saturday, 28 March 2020

Susono 2018 Frankston Delegation Visit - 18 months on

Article by David and Anita Cross

It’s been 18 months since our Frankston delegation visited Susono and participated in the Australia Fair at the Susono Citizen Cultural Centre.  Eighteen months on and the world has changed with the onset of COVID-19, effectively isolating communities both locally and  internationally.  However, that doesn’t mean the world stops, what with the means of communications available today.  For us, currently, we are teeing up a Skype call with our host family Sayaka and Brian so we can catch up with the latest news from Susono first hand, and to see how our Japanese friends are weathering these difficult times.

In September and October of 2018 Anita and I travelled to Japan for our first visit. After just a couple of days in Japan, we decided that it wouldn’t be our last trip there.  The highlight of our time was with our Susono host family (including their two young children), experiencing first-hand the culture and the way of Japanese life from an outsider’s point of view.  To us, to be able to live in a Japanese home was an experience not to be missed – while we enjoyed our travels elsewhere across the country staying in hotels, the time with our host family was by far the most enjoyable part of our trip.

We have immersed ourselves in the Frankston Susono Friendship Association and look forward to contributing to the sister cities relationship.  One of the enjoyable tasks is attending our monthly committee meetings (if work doesn’t get in the way) to discuss and plan future events, such as Japanese Festivals in Frankston, or contributing to festivals in other parts of Melbourne.  There is always something of interest, whether it be our recent Proclamation Day celebrations in the beautiful Japanese garden at Frankston High School, or planning for our Susono delegation to visit Australia this November.

A lasting benefit to our visit was the building of an on-going relationship with our host family – we don’t talk regularly, but when we do, it’s great to spend an hour catching up on what’s happening in our respective lives in the two hemispheres.  We look forward to catching up with them at some stage in the future when they hopefully have the opportunity to visit Australia.  Similarly, we’re eagerly anticipating our next trip to Japan as part of the Frankston Susono Friendship Association delegation.  But before then, we’re looking forward to hosting some members of the Susono Overseas Friendship Association when their delegation visits Frankston.

Anita and David with their host Sayaka outside Susono City Hall

Wednesday, 4 March 2020

FSFA March Bulletin No 13

Frankston Susono Friendship Association

Bulletin No. 13

March 2020

Dear Members and 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 7 April 2020.

Proclamation Anniversary Function

On Sunday 23 February members of the Executive Committee and Friends of FSFA gathered in the Japanese Garden at Frankston High School to celebrate the 38th anniversary of our sister city relationship with Susono.

To read a detailed report with pictures posted to the FSFA website, please click HERE.

Simon Hast, Julie D'Arcy, Mayor Mayer, Noel Ferguson and Peter Patterson

FSFA Life Memberships

At our recent Proclamation Anniversary celebration, the Association was thrilled to award Life Membership to 3 of our long-serving members. FSFA Life Membership is awarded for long service and recognises a significant contribution to the sister city relationship and to the Frankston Susono Friendship Association. There had been 9 awarded in the first 37 years of the Association.

Life Membership was awarded to our recently retired Chairperson Peter Patterson, his wife Margaret, and our longest serving member of the Executive and current Treasurer Bev Hannan.

To view the report and photos posted on our website, please click HERE.

Life members Peter Patterson, Margaret Patterson and Bev Hannan pictured with Mayor Mayer and FSFA Chairperson Julie D'Arcy

Sumo Tournament to Proceed Without Spectators!

In response to the novel coronavirus which has been dominating the news cycle, the Japan Sumo Association who are the organisers of the March Tournament to be held in Osaka, have decided to proceed with the tournament BUT without spectators! This has not happened since the summer tournament of 1945, during World War II.

This follows the closure of facilities such as Disneyland and Disney Sea, the suspension of the J-League soccer competition, as well as all Japanese schools for the month of March!

The 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:

Emperor Naruhito’s 60th Birthday Function

Emperor Naruhito celebrated his 60th birthday on 23rd February but local celebrations took 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 represented FSFA at this function and attended with Frankston Mayor Sandra Mayer and Deputy Mayor Colin Hampton.

For more details, you can read Therese’s report posted on our FSFA website by clicking HERE.

Therese Sakamoto, Mayor Sandra Mayer, Consul-General Matsunaga and wife Yoko, Deputy Mayor Colin Hampton and Simon Hast

Japanese National Tourism Organisation

This is not the first time the JNTO has been mentioned in our monthly bulletin, and for a very good reason. Their monthly Newsletter always contains great information and travel tips if you are planning a Japanese holiday. The latest edition has the ‘Ultimate Beginners Guide to Japan’ and I recommend you have a look at the article by clicking HERE.

Box Hill Japan Festival

Our Association will once again be involved in the Box Hill Japan Festival on Sunday 17th May 2020 by having a booth in the Main Hall. We enjoyed a great day at last year’s Festival meeting people, signing up new FSFA members, and distributing FSFA information plus our 2020 Japanese Festival flyers. We were also able to catch up with many of our regular stall holders, food vendors and performers plus meet with some new and exciting performers we hope to see at our own Japanese Festival on Sunday 29 November to be held on the Senior Campus at Frankston High School!

Tastepoint Fundraising Event

On Wednesday 20th May we are holding a Tastepoint Fundraiser at Frankston High School. We are looking to ‘recruit’ 60+ people to come to our meat tasting night for just an hour to help us raise funds. There is no cost involved and you get to eat delicious meat for FREE! Three timeslots are available – 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. Please email if you are able join us and help out!

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.
Box Hill Japan Festival
Box Hill Town Hall,
1022 Whitehorse Road
Sunday 17th May 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

Thursday, 27 February 2020

Proclamation Anniversary Celebrations

On Sunday 23 February members of the Executive Committee and Friends of FSFA gathered in the Japanese Garden at Frankston High School to celebrate the 38th anniversary of our sister city relationship with Susono. As guests arrived at the function, they were entertained by the delightful Frankston High Flute Choir led by teacher Kim Starr, who was a student member of the FHS Big Band that played at the World Expo in Nagoya in 2005.

Noel Ferguson, Former FHS Principal Ken Rowe, Sue Rowe and Lorraine Ferguson

FSFA Chairperson Julie D’Arcy and members of the current Executive Committee mingled with guests, including Frankston Mayor Sandra Mayer, Councillor Colin Hampton and his wife Nancye, former FSFA Chairpersons, FSFA Life Members, former Executive Committee members and friends and supporters of FSFA. We were also joined by Yuho Katsumata who was visiting from Susono and attended as a guest of Committee member Sam Warrington. When Sam was an exchanged student in Susono in 2005 the Katsumata family were his hosts.

Sam Warrington with Yuho Katsumata from Susono

The formal part of the afternoon began with FSFA Chairperson Julie D’Arcy welcoming everyone to the function and thanking the large number of dedicated volunteers who have worked over many years to build and maintain the strong connection we have with our sister city Susono.

Julie D'Arcy and Peter Patterson

Frankston Mayor Sandra Mayer spoke about FSFA’s role in managing the sister city relationship on behalf of the Frankston City Council. She also thanked the many hard-working volunteers who have delivered such a vibrant and successful range of activities focusing on Japanese language and authentic cultural experiences including food, music, demonstrations and activities. Mayor Mayer recounted how much she enjoyed her recent attendance at Emperor Naruhito’s 60th Birthday celebrations which were held at the residence of the Japanese Consul-General in Lansell Road, Toorak.

Frankston Mayor Sandra Mayer

The audience then heard from former councillor, mayor, inaugural FSFA Chairperson and Life Member Noel Ferguson who spoke about the genesis of the sister city relationship. He mentioned the role the late Sir Phillip Lynch and Yazaki (Australian Arrow) played in bringing Frankston and Susono together in the early 1980’s. Noel spoke of the early delegation visits and the great challenges presented by language differences, communication between the respective city councils and citizen groups, as well as organising and managing the student exchange program that was such an important part of the relationship.

Former Mayor, FSFA Chairperson and Life Member Noel Ferguson

Recently retired FSFA Chairperson Peter Patterson described how enduring interpersonal relationships were the foundation for the strong bonds of friendship that exist between our two cities. There were also stories of the many delegation visits to and from Susono, the Japanese and Australia Fairs held during these visits and the diverse cultural experiences afforded members of every delegation. Notable highlights included the Great Sumo Challenge of 2009 between Peter and Councillor Hampton and the 2012 Waterfront Festival held in the car park adjacent to Kananook Creek, where the South-East Water building now stands. The Susono delegation had come from their winter to an Australian summer where the temperature was above 40 and probably closer to 50 on the asphalt – how none of our Susono guests didn’t melt we still haven’t worked out!

Recently retired FSFA Chairperson Peter Patterson

The final speaker was our current Chairperson Julie D’Arcy who said what an honour it was to assume the role from Peter, just as it was to be selected as one of the first exchange students to visit Susono in 1983. This experience allowed her to make life-long friendships, gain in self-confidence, increase resilience and helped her to where she is today. Sadly, the long-term exchange program is no longer viable but Julie aims to continue supporting short-stay programs such as those run by Therese Sakamoto and Derinya Primary School.

FSFA Chairperson Julie D'Arcy

Julie also outlined FSFA’s future plans which include continuing to work to ensure our relationship with SOFA remains strong and the Frankston community are involved as much as possible. Planning for our regular events such as the Japanese Speech Contest, Hanami Party and bi-annual Japanese Festival which will coincide with the Susono Delegation visit in late November this year.

Frankston High Flute Choir entertains guests

Our Chairperson concluded by expressing her appreciation to a number of people including Principal John Albiston and Senior Campus Principal Helen Wilson for kindly hosting the party and providing the food and refreshments; Kim Starr and the Frankston High Flute Choir for the lovely entertainment; Vice-Chairperson Simon Hast and the team who help him maintain the Japanese Garden; and members of the FSFA Executive Committee who contribute with passion and dedication to allow the sister city relationship to flourish!

Bev Hannan, Mick Collard and Vic Webster

After the speeches concluded it was time for the presentation of Life Memberships to three very deserving and special people. FSFA Life Membership is awarded for long service and recognises a significant contribution to the sister city relationship and to the Association. Nine have been awarded to date with 3 of these - Noel Ferguson, Vic and Steve Walker – in attendance. Life Membership was presented to long-serving Chairperson Peter Patterson who has worked tirelessly to strengthen the sister city relationship by demonstrating passion, enthusiasm, creativity and leadership; the warm, supportive and welcoming ultimate hostess Margaret Patterson; and student host and counsellor, the Committee’s longest serving member and current Treasurer Bev Hannan.

Peter Patterson, Julie D'Arcy and Mayor Sandra Mayer

Margaret Patterson receives her Life Membership

Bev Hannan with her Life Membership

The formal part of the afternoon concluded with photos of Life Members and a group shot, followed by the opportunity to congratulate our new Life Members and catch up with other guests whilst viewing the slide show on the large screen highlighting the 38 years of the sister city relationship. It was fantastic to see so many long-time supporters of FSFA in attendance and thank you to those on the Executive Committee who were able to assist on the day to make it such a successful celebration.

Thank you also to Jess Hast for volunteering as photographer for the afternoon.

Peter, Margaret, Sandra, Julie, Noel with Vic and Steve Walker