Members and guests of the Japanese Women’s Society Foundation gathered at Natsunoya Tea House on Feb. 3 for the organization’s shinnen enkai (New Year’s party) luncheon. The day included traditional Japanese New Year’s foods, entertainment and fellowship.
The bake sale table was covered with cookies, cupcakes, party mixes and other sweet treats, all available for purchase to support the JWSF. Also available for purchase were two JWSF books –– “Kokoro: Cherished Japanese Traditions” and “Sharing Our Heats Through Cooking.” Lucky Me prize drawings and fukubukuro (lucky grab bag) were also part of the fun.
Special guests at the luncheon included Misako Ito, wife of Consul General of Japan Koichi Ito; state Sen. Michelle Kidani; Honolulu City Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi; attorney and former U.S. Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa; Carole Hayashino, recently retired president and executive director of the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i; and Faye Shigemura, president of the United Japanese Society of Hawaii.
JWSF president-elect Melanie Takahashi also recognized the organization’s grant recipients: Dr. Tomoko Iwai and Yuka Wada, co-chairs of the University of Hawai‘i Culture Day; and Laura Kurata, a student at the UH John A. Burns School of Medicine.
Sheree Tamura, master instructor of the Hanayagi Mitsusumi Dance Studio and past president of United Japanese Society of Hawaii, emceed the entertainment portion of the program. The performers included vocal instructor and 2005 KZOO Karaoke Festival Grand Champion Kyoko Sano, Andrew Yamamoto from the Oshiro Music Studio and Leila Miyano. Past Cherry Blossom queen Heather Omori and princess Jennifer Ezaki performed a cute and lively dance titled “Happy Samba.” Nanako Numazaki from Fukushima, Japan, and Hanayagi Mitsusumi Dance Studio’s Kami Kim also performed a few Japanese dances.
The hands-down favorite performer of the day was deputy consul general of Japan Takayuki Shinozawa, whose J-pop number, “Sekai ni Hitotsu Dake no Hana,” by SMAP, took down the house.