A Message From Consul General Ken Okaniwa

New developments in
Japan-Florida relations

In February, I attended the Consular reception hosted by Governor Rick Scott at his Mansion. I updated the Governor about new developments in Japan-Florida relations. This was my fifth visit to the State capital.

The Palm Beach Jewish Film Festival screened a movie about Consul Sugihara who saved thousands of Jews fleeing Europe during World War II. After my opening remarks, I had the great pleasure of meeting Susan Kushner Lipsey, who fled to Japan with the visa issued by Consul Sugihara.

Later in the month, I joined Governor Scott and Tampa Mayor Buckhorn at Tampa International Airport (TPA) to celebrate the inauguration of SkyConnect trains supplied by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI). MHI and Sumitomo Corp’s subsidiary will also operate and maintain the trains contributing to local jobs. It is so wonderful that Japan is part of this landmark achievement.

On February 25, the Consulate co-hosted a Japanese flower arrangement demonstration in Delray Beach. 170 people enjoyed the 11 arrangements created by Director of Sogetsu Ikebana Florida and Delray Beach resident Chieko Mihori. Special thanks go out to Sogetsu Ikebana Florida, Japan America Society of South Florida, Old School Square, and Sister Cities International, who helped organize this successful event!

Spring is a time for celebration in Japan. Florida residents can also experience Japanese festive culture throughout March. On March 3-4, the Consulate will host a booth at the 28th Annual Asian Culture Festival at Fruit & Spice Park in Homestead. Guests can try their hand at Ikebana, origami, and Japanese calligraphy. Attendees can also enjoy Taiko drumming performances by Fushu Daiko.

Additionally, Japanese Spring Festival will take place at Miami Beach Botanical Garden on March 25 with Japanese tea ceremonies, origami lessons, martial arts demonstrations, cosplay and more. The Consulate is sponsoring a Kimono Fashion Show beginning at 1 p.m., featuring original wedding kimono designs by New York-based fashion designer, Hiromi Asai.

I hope you will find the chance to visit these wonderful events!

Ken Okaniwa

Consul General of Japan

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