On June 20, 2015, JASH partnered with the Bridge Club Hawaii (BCH) to create the first annual TOMODACHI – Aloha Leadership Program Reunion Party. About fourteen delegates from the 2013, 2014, and 2015 trips to Tohoku attended the potluck lunch at the JASH office. This inaugural party featured two guests: Giovanni Douresseau, a TOMODACHI Inouye Scholar from Los Angeles, California; and Atsushi Takebayashi, the founder of Move4Japan, from Honolulu. BCH members shared popular dishes with Mr. Douresseau to allow him to experience some of the local culture. Mr. Takebayashi generously shared some of his famous yakisoba, which he cooks for the people affected by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in the Tohoku region through his non-profit organization, Move4Japan.
Following a delicious meal, BCH members, Mr. Douresseau, and Mr. Takebayashi shared their personal experiences in Tohoku through their respective programs and the importance of volunteering in their communities. Mr. Douresseau gave a motivational speech to attendees to continue to do good work in order to build stronger connections and relations with Japan and the United States.
Later that afternoon, BCH members watched videos they had received from 2015 Rainbow for Japan Kids (RFJK) delegates in preparation for the 9th RFJK Camp in July. JASH staff then helped BCH members create their own videos to send back to RFJK delegates before their visit to Hawaii in July.
Both BCH and JASH would like to thank Mr. Douresseau for taking the time out of his schedule to meet with BCH members and to Mr. Takebayashi for preparing his delicious yakisoba for lunch.