Tuesday 1 October 1991

Chairman's Report 1990/91 - Noel Ferguson

It has been business as usual during this last 12 months which began with the party of seven led by the Chairman of S.O.F.A., Dr. Ohashi being in-our midst in August last year and in attendance at our last Annual Meeting. At the same time we chose two students to go to Japan commencing March this year, on this occasion we chose two girls, Tasha Grigor and Keryn Milham who appear now to be well settled and enjoying their stay in Susono.

The news at the time of our 1990 students in Japan, Steven, Elissa and Nicole was that they were participating in a full program of activities being particularly keen about their advancement in Aikido. Then the startling news that Nikki Hughes was our first student casualty when in November on her bicycle she took on a car, head on. Fortunately she subsequently make good progress and returned home with the other two in January, each in one piece.

Meanwhile, Tamayo, Yuki and Yoshio were enjoying their stay in Frankston participating in a lot of activities both at school and with their various host parents, sadly returning home in March. We have since welcomed Koji Ohba (at Frankston High School) and Manami Osada (at John Paul College) who from all accounts have fitted in very well despite the dramatic culture shock they have undergone.

Our social activities have included a successful Progressive Dinner in December, a welcome home and farewell to the respective students in February, a get together at Rugantino's to welcome Koji and Manami, and again when Sugiyama visited us (Two day visit in June 1991 to Frankston by the Co-ordinator of the Susono Overseas Friendship Association, Mr. Hiromichi Sugiyama), plus a number of social nights enjoying films, learning about Japanese culture and enjoying Japanese food.

We are now into our 10th year of our sister-city relationship with plans for a number of celebrations being underway. Preparations are well in hand for a Japanese Cultural Fair to be held on the 4th August, 1991 at Frankston TAFE with a long list of activities and displays being arranged, this also coincides with the City of Frankston's 25th Anniversary celebrations.

Also, a party of approximately 45 Susono students and teachers will arrive later in August and propose to visit local Schools and be hosted by students from those Schools. This visit will be followed by a group from Susono coming out here late in September when a well-known and internationally renowned Japanese artist Mr. Enokido will be conducting an exhibition at McClelland Gallery.

The expected climax of the future activities is our proposed visit to Japan early in November where big celebrations are being prepared to recognise our 10th Anniversary and coinciding with the 20th Anniversary of the formation of the City of Susono. Arrangements include a home-stay in Susono for two nights and attendance by the group at the official opening of a new Art Centre that has only recently been completed.

I'm pleased to confirm that with the co-operation and assistance of Frankston High School, the long planned Japanese Garden will be constructed adjoining the Senior High Library in Towerhill Road and the magnificent gift of Japanese Stone Lanterns will at last find a permanent home. The Executive decided to assist the Frankston High School in establishing a Japanese Garden at the school. Plans of the garden were on display at the meeting and the Chairman advised that these had been prepared by Harry Lucy, an Architect experienced in the design of Japanese Gardens. It had been decided to proceed with the development of a "Dry Garden" and the Association had agreed to assist financially to a limit of $4,000 towards the preliminary ground preparation works which include the extension of the perimeter brick wall and planting of mature trees. The Council had also agreed to the stone lanterns, donated by Susono, being installed in the Garden.

Finally, on your behalf I extend my thanks to our Secretary, Adrian Butler, for his continuing involvement and time consuming assistance, as well as to all other members of the Executive, the Counsellors and all those who have worked so hard to further our sister-city relationship.