This year’s dinner was held on Saturday, November 5th at the Holiday Inn – San Jose•Silicon Valley. The theme was “Kansha” (Gratitude). Andrea Nakano, KPIX 5 sports anchor and reporter, served as mistress of ceremonies. Following dinner, four honorees were recognized for their activities and involvement in and around San Jose Japantown. Vernon Hayashida was the first honoree. Vernon is an active member of JAMsj, Wesley United Methodist Church and Yu-Ai Kai. The next honoree was Reiko Iwanaga. Reiko has been involved with many Betsuin activities as well as CATS and other organizations outside of Japantown. The third honoree was Stanley Kawamata and he was introduced by Alvin Hironaga, a past honoree. Stan has devoted over three decades to the Betsuin scouting program and it was so fitting for Al to tie the Boys Scout oath into his introduction of Stan. The final honoree was Rich Saito. He can be seen helping at numerous events around Japantown. As a retired police officer, he is a proponent of public safety and is heavily involved in Japantown Prepared.
With the recognition dinner being the Chapter’s major fundraiser, there was a silent auction and two opportunity drawings of a quilt, donated by the Betsuin Sangha Quilters and a framed Otsuka print, donated by Sharon Uyeda. Serving as dinner co-chairpersons were Tom Oshidari and Sharon Uyeda. The hard working planning committee members were Leon Kimura, Caroline Kurimoto, Iris Lou, Joyce Oyama and Marge Tsuji. Numerous volunteers helped during the night of the dinner. They were Christy Chung, Ken Furukawa, Chris Hioki, Yoko Kobashi, Mark Nakamae, Jeanne Nakano, Kristin Okimoto, M. Oyama, Marian Suhama, Brandon Uenaka, and Joyce Yamamoto. Gary Jio served as the photographer and Vi Onishi provided the flowers for the honorees. The very clever table centerpieces were created by Joyce Oyama. Designing the photo board, which displayed Chapter events was M. Oyama. Domo Arigato to all who helped make the 13th Annual Community Recognition a success.