USJC Midwest Region Hosts Two-Day Kanpai Chicago Event

From April 28-30, the Midwest Region hosted Kanpai Chicago, bringing together 43 USJC Members, former delegates of the Japanese American Leadership Delegation (JALD), Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) Steering Committee members, and more for a weekend of education, networking and, of course, celebratory toasts! One special celebration was the commemoration of the 10-year anniversary of the 2013 JALD Delegation. Seven of the delegates from this trip reunited during the event in recognition of their transformative experience in Japan. 

The weekend kicked off with a dinner hosted by Consul General of Chicago TAJIMA Hiroshi that included sake pairings and City Pop music played by DJ Van Paugam. On Saturday, attendees visited the world-renowned Chicago Art Institute and were treated to a Beam Suntory whiskey tasting over okonomiyaki and networking at Gaijin Chicago. The evening also included sake tasting at Konbini & Kanpai, owned by Naomi Hattori (Choose Chicago, ELP ’19) and her husband, Jun-Jun Vichaikul. The evening ended with networking in small groups at the Nisei Lounge or Fulton Market Kitchen. 

On Sunday, attendees watched a special presentation of Resettlement: Chicago Story by Full Spectrum Features, and engaged in a discussion of the film afterwards. The event closed with a bento lunch at the Japan Information Center.

Kanpai Chicago was hosted by Midwest Regional Leaders Marion Friebus Flaman (Naperville School District 203, JALD ’13) and Bob Kumaki (The Ronin Group, JALD ’09), USJC Associate and Midwest Regional Chair Anna Ninoyu (METIS Design LLC) and Council Leader Michael Tanimura (Silver Image Creative Inc., JALD ’12). Thank you to the Midwest region for their hospitality, and congratulations on a wonderful event.

Click here to see more photos from the event.
Thank you to the Consulate General of Japan of Chicago for the photos.