I am pleased to be able to report on the activities of the Frankston Susono Friendship Association over the past 12 months. Our small group of passionate volunteers continue to look after the sister city relationship on behalf of the Frankston Council. Thank you to all the Executive members and others who have joined us during the year. Our special thanks to Chris Hodgins for providing outstanding admin support to the Association.
No doubt the highlight of the year was the Susono Delegation visit and Japanese fair held in April 2016.
On Sunday 17th April 2016 Frankston held a wildly successful Japanese Festival at the Frankston High School. In the region of 2000 people attended a celebration of Japanese culture. The festival involved performers, children’s activities, traditional crafts and sellers Japanese goods of many types and contributed to transporting the people of Frankston to another place. We were blessed with 18 citizens from our sister city of Susono here to celebrate the sister city relationship of 34 years.
The delegation was led by the Susono Mayor Mt Kenji Takamura and visited Frankston for 4 days. At the Festival, the group presented a number of activities to entertain the many people who attended the Fair. During the visit the delegation visited several local schools and were shown the sights of Frankston. Thank You to the over 30 organisations and individuals who contributed to the successful event. These included local schools that have Japanese as part of their curriculum. Thank You to all the helpers on the day and the wonderful people of Frankston who attended the event.
Frankston High school was a great venue and is the home of our special and highly regarded sister city Japanese Garden. A celebratory dinner was held at the Frankston Football ground on the Saturday night. Special guest was the Japanese Consul General.
We had a visit of students from Susono on a short term stay on Frankston. Thank you to Derinya Primary School community and Therese Sakamoto for looking after the group during their stay.
Simon Hast continues to manage our Japanese Garden at the Frankston High school. He organised several working bees during the year to prune a number of the plants and keep the bamboo under control. We painted the walls prior to the festival. This gave the garden a real lift. We also replaced the Shishi Odoshi.
Our annual Speech Contest at Monash University continues to develop and evolve and is well supported by local schools. Our contest last Friday attracted record numbers of participants.
A member of our Association Mr Sorin Ionascu has taken a position as a Community English Language teacher in Susono. This fulfils his dream of leaving in Japan for an extended period. We wish him well in his new role.
The Frankston Council continues to explore options for a relocation or redefinition of Susono way. We hope this is resolved quickly.
I would like to thank the Frankston Council for their ongoing support of our work and allocation of funding for our activities each year.
I thank you all for your attendance tonight and thank you again to all the Executive members and supporters of our sister city relationship.