USJC Members End the Year with a Kampai

USJC members from all around Japan and the United States are celebrating the end of the year through bonenkai and holiday parties. Here are some of the celebrations!


On December 13, more than forty USJC members in Japan got together for the big event of the year, the Bonenkai, at the exclusive Roppongi Hills Club, where they had the opportunity to learn more about the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and build excitement for the Olympics’ return to Tokyo in 2020.

Council Leader Roy Tomizawa gave a timely presentation on the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and how it symbolized Japan at a time unrivaled in the nation’s sense of self-confidence and optimism. It was eye-opening to learn about a very important and inspiring period in Japan that very few Americans, as well as Japanese, know much about. Roy’s interactive style kept members engaged and entertained, and after correctly answering one of Roy’s tough Olympics trivia questions, a lucky member received a copy of Roy’s book, 1964: The Greatest Year in the History of Japan – How the Tokyo Olympics Symbolized Japan’s Miraculous Rise from the Ashes.

After the presentation, the fun times continued with a kampai from U40 member Kenji Negi (ELP ’16), and our members spent the rest of the night enjoying free-flowing champagne and fine dining, including slices of yummy wagyu beef.



Braving a snowstorm, members in the Boston region gathered for networking and holiday cheer! Hosted by Ginny Fordham, Chair of the New England region (left), the event was attended by members including (L-R) Akiko Otani (Takeda), Yuga Cohler (ELP ’19) and his wife Hillary Ditmars, Jessy LeClaire (Japan desk at the Cambridge Innovation Center), Chris Pilcavage (MIT & JALD ’20) and Massachusetts State Representative Donald Wong (AALD ’14). Representative Wong gave an update on the State House, and members caught up with each other and discussed upcoming regional events.

San Francisco

(L-R) Board Member Tasha Yorozu, CG Uyama, Glen Fukushima, Ms. Murase, Mrs. Uyama, Mrs. Okamoto, Floyd Shimomura, and Member of the USJC Legacy Council Allen Okamoto

On December 17, USJC Members in the San Francisco region gathered at a Bonenkai reception hosted at Consul General Tomochika Uyama’s residence. The event was organized by Northern California Region Co-Chair Emily Murase and grew out of the informal JAJA (Japanese Americans and Japanese in America) gathering held in August. Member of the USJC Board of Councilors Glen Fukushima gave his views on the 2020 presidential race and a delicious buffet followed. 

South Bay

The spirit of the holidays and festive cheer filled the air on December 12 at Hukilau restaurant in Little Tokyo, San Jose. Members, including Suzanne Basalla, Pam Kato, Gordon Endow, Tatsuki Tomita, Floyd Shimomura, Ellen Kamei, Chris Takeuchi, Shohei Narron and guests of the U.S.-Japan Council NorCal South Bay region got together to network over wonderful Hawaiian cuisine and beer, and to learn more about Michael Sera’s work as the President of the Board of the Japanese American Museum of San Jose. Together we toasted sayonara to 2019 and welcomed 2020, which is right around the corner!