NJS Shinnenkai 2015 Report

The first official event  of 2015 was the annual New Year Party at Matsuya Salon on January 20th.The traditional “Sinnenkai “was organized by the Norway-Japan Society and was held at Matsuya Salon of Tokyo Daijingu in Iidabashi with the opening speech by our President Masaki Seo. 114 people of our NJS members with friends and families gathered together for an evening with splendid performances by the NJS Singing Group as usual and by ”Wadaiko Oriji”, which both was received very well by the guests.

The new Norwegian Ambassador to Japan H.E.Erling Rimestad gave a his warm and encouraging message to us all.

We wish to extend our sincere thanks to our members, their families/friends gathered together and to the other Norway related organizations such as the NCCJ, the Enoshima Yacht Club, NorALUMNI, Josai International University, the Japan Grieg Society and to our honored guests who have kindly accepted our invitation. We would like to also thank all corporate members and individual members who contributed with gifts and prizes for the Shinnenkai door lottery lucky draw, such event is only made possible by the generous contributions by members of the society and supporting community.

Everybody seemed to enjoyed themselves, with conversations and laughter filling the room where old friends and new acquaintances met over Matsuya Salon’s delicious food and drink for about 2.30 hours. 

Please stay updated on our event-board, or receive event information e-mail by becoming a society member, for future events and gatherings in 2015.

With best regards from the Board of NJS

Transcript of NJS President’s Speech at NJS Shinnenkai 2015

January 20, 2015

Your Excellency Ambassador Rimestad, Excellencies, distinguished guests from our brother-like organizations and dear members and friends of the Norway-Japan Society,
Welcome to the Shinnenkai 2015 of the Norway-Japan Soiety! And a Happy New Year to you all! 皆さん、良くいらっしゃいました。そして、明けましてお目出度うございます。

It may have been cold but sunny most of the time this year in Tokyo, and in here this evening, I hope you will enjoy our Shinnenkai 2015 which is very special for us all, because we are honoured with the presence for the first time of His Excellency Mr. Erling Rimestad, new Ambassador of Norway to Japan who has kindly accepted our invitation for this.Shinnenkai. I, together with you all, wish Ambassador Rimestad, a pleasant, fruitful and rewarding stay in Japan, this year and in the years to come.

I also wish to welcome new friends from various Norway related Organizations. The type of activities we are interested in and cover may not be the same but we all share interest in promoting friendship, mutual understanding and exchanges between Japan and Norway. It would be nice to meet each other, make friends and exchange opinions and do whatever else we like to do together in the future.

We are also happy to have, like last year, young representatives from Jyosai University,  coming a long way from Togane in Chiba Prefecture. Young people are assets for the future; friendship and cooperation between countries will be best served and strengthened by increased friendship among young peoples. So dear friends, please come back whenever you can, if possible with more friends even from other Universities.

 Now turning our eyes from here to outside, in Japan and beyond in the world altogether, many things have been happening which deserve our special attention and I would point out just two things which would be relevant for this evening.

First, although some of the things happening at home or in our external relations cause us concern, we have been fortunate between Japan and Norway where ties of close cooperation have been maintained without any problem that would cause us concern. and we will continue to be so in the years to come, We in Japan also thank our Norwegian friends for the sympathy expressed and cooperation extended in relation to the Great Disaster which attacked Eastern Part of Japan on march11, 2011.

Secondly, I should like to point out that Norway is not only a good friend of ours but also we have much to learn from Norway, particularly on three important areas; namely, the problem of decreasing population, government expenditure and taxation and finally maintenance of peace and friendship with neighboring countries.

I have been following these issues and am convinced of the need for us to learn more from Norway. I can explain why but it would take an hour or two and do a great disservice to the nice dinner waiting for us. But to be serious, it would be nice if we can promote some event, seminar or otherwise, in that connection.

On our Society and its activities altogether, I am very happy and grateful to the interest and support our members have expressed on our activities and events and  have just two things to add.

First, our Society is a voluntary organization which depends entirely on the interest and support of its members. Please join in our activities and bring in friends and do something more and new. We would welcome that.

Second, as a voluntary organization we depend very much on the work of our Board members. The Board consist of about a dozen volunteers including two Vice Presidents, Mr. Ulvoy and Mr. Watanabe, now the master of the ceremony. I wish to thank them all for what they have been doing on which the success of the society depends. If you do not know all of them, soon there will be an occasion for you to come to know them all.

So this is all for now. Hope you will enjoy the rest of the evening Thank you for your attention.

(2015.1.20  Masaki Seo)

Transcript of Norway’s Ambassador to Japan’s speach at NJS Shinnenkai 2015

January 20, 2015

It is a special pleasure and honor for me to participate for the first time at this Shinnenkai.  When I took up the position as Norway’s Ambassador to Japan in the beginning of September last year, Ambassador Seo from NJS was one of the first to call on my office and to introduce me to further networks.  NJS is an important glue in many of the efforts to enforce the many bonds between our two countries.  I am pleased to see that today at this gathering different representatives of the many bonds are present, from students and academics to business representatives and people with background from Government service.

While 2014 was a year with a very high level of activities between Norway and Japan, 2015 will be no less active.  On the cultural side, hardly a week passes by without Norwegian musicians playing somewhere in Japan.  This spring New National Theatre here in Tokyo will stage Henrik Ibsen’s play “A Lady from the Sea” and Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra will play Edvard Grieg’s music to “Peer Gynt”.  In March Norway will be represented at the UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai which will also provide an opportunity to highlight the Norwegian supported projects for women and children in the areas which were struck by the disaster in 2011.  In May, together with innovation Norway, we will host the Norway Japan Energy Science Week where we will bring together experts and create new networks.  And, finally, our cooperation within Arctic affairs is increasing, following Japans membership as observers in the Arctic Council.  In all – we have a lot to look forward to in 2015.

We are now entering the year of the sheep – a year that according to the astrologists is characterized by the sheep’s mentality of peacefulness, harmony and close friendships.  In addition, those born in the year of the sheep can have strong creative sides and be devoted to art and culture. As you can now understand, also the astrology is on our side this year. Both Norway and Japan are peaceful and harmonious societies and we identify with and enjoy each other’s culture and art.  We have the best starting point for our further cooperation for 2015.  I am looking forward to continue working with NJS and wish all of you the best for the year to come.

(2015.1.20 Ambassador Erling Rimestad)

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