In early February, JETAANY hosted a gala event to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the JET Program. More than 100 JET alumni gathered at the Dumbo Loft in Brooklyn dressed to the nines to eat, drink, and raise a glass to the JET Program an exceptional individuals in the U.S.-Japan community. After a wonderful taiko performance by NY Taiko Aiko Kai, guests Honorable Masaru Sato (Deputy Consul General, Consul-General of Japan in New York), Mr. Wataru Tozawa (Executive Director, Japan Local Government Center (JLGC), CLAIR New York), Mr. George Rose (JETAANY’s 2nd President), & Ms. Wendy Ikemoto (JETAANY’s current President) participated in kagami biraki, which is a traditional sake barrel-breaking ceremony, followed by a toast.
After a few speeches, JETAANY honored a number of individuals for their contributions to JETAANY, the JET Program, and the Japan-U.S. relationship. The honorees included:
- Sue Brown for Exceptional Contributions to JETAANY
- Steven Horowitz for Exceptional Contributions to the JET Community
- George Rose for Exceptional Contributions to U.S.-Japan Relations
- Matt Gillam for Exceptional Support of the JET Program and Contributions to the JET Community
Additionally, two members of USJETAA's board of directors were recognized:
- Monica Yuki: For Exceptional Contributions to JETAANY
- Jim Gannon: For Exceptional Contributions to U.S.-Japan Relations
USJETAA extends a warm congratulations to all of these individuals, whom all deserved the recognition for their efforts for JET and the U.S.-Japan relationship.
(Left: Monica Yuki. Right: Paige Cottingham-Streater, Jim Gannon, and Amber Liang.)
Following the recognition ceremony the winners of the raffle prizes were announced. There were a wide range of prizes, including manga sets, Hennessy, and donations from the Japan Society, Kaoru Watanabe Taiko Center, New York Yankees, New York Giants, and the Nippon Travel Agency.
The evening ended with a slide show and videos from JET alumni and friends of JET extending messages of goodwill for the 30th anniversary of the JET Program, followed by dancing and, of course, a nijikai!
JETAANY received grant funding from the Sasakawa USA/USJETAA grant partnership.