Rtn. Michel De Vriendt’s visit in Utsunomiya, Japan
I visited the Rotary Club of Utsunomiya in Japan on Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019, for the regular lunch meeting. I was surprised that Utsunomiya is a City about 1.5 hours from Tokyo and the 10th largest City in Japan where dumpling (gyoza) are very popular – so I could feel a link with China.
Utsunomiya is a city of around 500,000 people and has 10 Rotary Clubs which is a tremendous growth of clubs since 1975 when there was only 1 Club. My wife and I were well received at the regular Lunch Meeting of The Utsunomiya Rotary Club held at the Utsunomiya Tobu Grande Hotel. We were warmly welcomed by past President 2016-17 Mr. Hiroshi Ishijima, Mr. Yasuhiro Ohya, Secretary 2019-2020, and Mr. Sakai Makato, International Service. We also exchanged banners with the current Club’s president and we met Mr. Takasuke Kondo, past DG 2007-2008, Mr. Yuji Kumamoto, Rotary Youth Exchange, and Dr. Itarau Ohita, Astro physician who has been in contact with Chinees universities and very interested in Tibetan culture.
I was given the opportunity for a 10 minute speech included translation in Japanese which my wife Emiko kindly assisted me with. I highlighted in a room full of men that our RCS President is a Lady for the second consecutive time in our RCs 99 year history. I understand that the RC of Utsunomiya has a Sister Club agreement with the RC of San Rafael and another Club in Thailand with whom regular visits are held including projects, fellowship and Golf activities. We had 8 Tables with about 70 plus members present and timely 1 hour+ meeting.
This Utsunomiya Rotary Club is the oldest Club in the City going back to 1950s and I was impressed on how International this Rotary Club is and active & how many youth activities they sustainably diligently.
The connections with Rotary Club of Shanghai is made by an invitation to join our Centennial Gala Night.