Our Sister Club - Hiroshima.
In 2008, POWERtalk Brisbane Central gained sister-club status with the Hiroshima Club. This came about when one of the Hiroshima members moved to Australia, and started to attend our club. This enthusiastic and intelligent member would send and share copies of our club meeting programmes back to Hiroshima who expressed great interest in our activities. On the suggestion of our then President, it was decided to ask to formalize the arrangement with Hiroshima at the time of the 25th anniversary of their charter. To our delight, they agreed, and a sister club was born. Currently we have 3 Japanese members at our club, all of whom have gained valuable improvement to their English-speaking ability throughout their membership.
The sister club arrangement involves regular email contact, sharing of programmes, regular member profiles and ‘getting to know you’ segments, and an open invitation to attend each other’s meetings. At POWERtalk Brisbane Central, we look on this as a wonderful opportunity to:-
ITW Kobe and Hiroshima Visit
On Oct 19th 2010, three members of POWERtalk Brisbane Central travelled to Japan for a dual-purpose visit, which included a visit to our sister-club ITC Hiroshima, and attending the International President’s Training Weekend in Kobe. What a fantastic week it turned out to be!
The visit to our Sister club more than fulfilled our expectations with members going out of their way to spoil us and make us feel welcome. Travelling by bullet train from Kobe to Hiroshima was an adventure in itself whizzing along at around 300km/h, so fast our eyes simply couldn’t adjust, whilst seemingly motionless due to the smoothness of the ride, is a very impressive experience and one I would thoroughly recommend. On our arrival into Hiroshima, we were met by the Hiroshima Club President and three other members who escorted us on a tour of Miyajima Island an area heralded as one of the most beautiful in the country. We were mesmerised by the tranquil beauty of century old temples as well as the sheer size of the monolithic Torii gate seemingly suspended in the waters of the bay. The deer on the Island provided a few interesting moments as the cheeky little chaps have a liking for cloth and paper and decided to sample some of our notes! Some of them even were attempting to enter one of the Island’s many restaurants. Lunch in one of these restaurants was a very tasty array of sea-food, exquisitely presented as only the Japanese can do and eaten in peaceful harmony overlooking a tranquil Japanese Garden.
After a tour of around 5 hours we were escorted to our Hotel for a quick freshen-up before attending a welcome dinner at which 19 club members were present. Next morning we wandered around the Hiroshima Peace Park and Museum [an infinitely moving experience which really makes one treasure our peaceful existence here in Australia] prior to attending the Club meeting. This was a luncheon meeting with a very delicious lunch at the regular meeting venue owned by the family of one of the members. We were treated to multiple gifts and made to feel as though we were royal visitors. The meeting was especially enjoyable and although much of it was in Japanese, members went out of their way to translate for us and to make us feel comfortable. We parted some 3 ½ hours later, feeling that we had made many new friendships that will last a lifetime.
On returning to Kobe, we sampled local food before collapsing into bed for a much needed rest. Friday heralded the commencement of the Training Weekend. We had some time free during the day to look around the city and get a small taste of the excellent variety and superb quality of the wares available in the Japanese stores. It certainly left one hungry for more retail therapy!
Then the Weekend commenced with a drinks and a buffet supper a very well attended event. We were given hand-made paper roses then treated to a spectacular performance of Traditional Japanese theatre, presented by members of Nishiki Club, Council 1, Japan Region. The facial expressions and vocal quality were superb, and whilst the play was entirely in Japanese, the non-verbal communication was easy to follow with the assistance of a précis which had been translated to English to assist those non-Japanese speakers present.
The training began in earnest on Saturday with multiple concurrent sessions with so much quality education on offer, it was quite a task to decide which session to attend. The Plenary Speech The Silent Power was given by Anita Henzler, Member at Large of the Southwest Region - the topic being the influence women have had throughout history when exercising their power to be a maker of change. It was heartening for this ‘stay at home mother’ to hear Anita add an assertion that moulding the lives of our young in our roles as mothers can be equally influential on world events as other more high profile activities.
Traditional Japanese art mini-workshops on Saturday afternoon saw us dressed up in Kimonos learning how to fan dance, and learning Japanese floral art, among other things. Saturday evening’s Gala dinner once again entertained us all immensely with a particularly beautiful Ballet performance of the Prologue to Sleeping Beauty by young girls aged 12 - 15 years. More gifts were presented with all non-Japanese guests being given origami cranes and dollies to mention just a few of the treasures that were bestowed upon us. Margaret Sutherland was presented with a stunning traditional Japanese Kimono by a member of the Japan Region.
Sunday’s education sessions were as busy as Saturday’s and were followed by a plenary workshop on Evaluation led by International President, Margaret Sutherland. This included two speeches one in English and one in Japanese. Again, the Japanese speaker’s language did not need to be understood as she displayed a spectacular command of non-verbal communication skills which had the audience practically rolling in the aisles.
Following on from this was the plenary session which was a most informative demonstration of the POWERtalk website, followed by a question session, during which there was lively discussion about the need for more translation on the website.
Following the plenary session, the weekend came to a close with the usual formalities, finished off by the non-Japanese Region guests thanking the Japanese Region with a touching and quite tuneful rendition of Now is the Hour. With 422 attendees [6 Aussies including International President, Margaret Sutherland plus 2 spouses] it truly was a remarkable event and well worth attending, well and truly fulfilling the meeting theme of 'Together we Grow, Together we Succeed'.
For one Australian, attendance allowed the fulfillment of an ambition to become a Fellow of ITC - Congratulations Janeen Vosper on achieving this milestone.
Of course, the Aussies cannot attend an overseas function without some frivolity, so we got together with the Kiwis on Sunday evening for some drinks and relaxation, hosted by Margaret Sutherland, prior to adjourning to the Hotel lounge to continue to celebrate what had been a marvelous week-end, topping off a spectacular week in my new favourite overseas destination, Japan.
I find it necessary to note here that it would have been almost impossible for our club members to travel to Hiroshima and attend the functions and formalities there without the assistance of Noriko Tsuji. Noriko put an immense effort into planning and organising the trip and was instrumental in the success of the inter-club visit. Her on-the-spot translating skills were put through many tests all of which were passed with flying colours. We owe an enormous debt of gratitude to Noriko for making this a triumphant success.
Japan Re-visited July 2016
Early in July, 2016, Australian Region President and member of POWERtalk Brisbane Central, Mary Wong, visited the Japan Region Conference in Kyoto. There, she was reacquainted with Hiroshima members attending conference.
As always, the Japanese members showed great warmth and hospitality, taking Mary under their wing and assisting with translations throughout the conference.
Mary hopes to again visit Japan Region Conference in 2017 in Nara.
And again in July 2017
Again in 2017, Mary Wong was fortunate to visit the Japan Region Conference and make contact with the members of Hiroshima club. The conference was held in the delightful Nara, where Mary was pampered and treated to the local delights - exquisite food, spectacular surroundings and very cheeky deer. What a delightful time!