On Saturday, October 10, 2015, some 300 sake aficionados gathered in the beautiful grand ballroom of the Coast Coal Harbour Hotel at 1180 West Hastings to enjoy another evening of sake, plum wines, delicious appetizers and an amazing silent auction. Hosted by the charming Margaret Gallagher from CBC Radio, the event enveloped its participants into a work of Japanese sake, from the soothing sounds of the koto played by kimono clad musicians during the exclusive VIP tasting period to the jarring beat of the taiko drums as the main event began, this was an event to be remembered. Thanks to the cooperation of the Sake Association of BC and the 13 different sake distributors and sake producers who presented their wares at this event, this was a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn about and taste nearly 60 different sakes and plum wines. In addition, award winning restaurants and food suppliers such as Azuma Foods, Forage, Hapa Izakaya, Minami and Octopus Gardens provided an array of tasty appetizers to accompany the many sake offerings. We wish to thank the Sake Association of BC, the Coast Coal Harbour Hotel, Deputy Consul General of Japan Mr. Akira Uchida, Ms. Margaret Gallagher, Ms. Yuriko Nariya & Ms. Komoda, the senior members of Chibi Taiko, Tetsuomi and our many sponsors, donors and volunteers for everything they have done to make this event a success.
On September 23 and October 1, 2015 Tonari Gumi held its first seminars on elder abuse in order to raise greater awareness of what constitutes elder abuse and what we can do to stop its destructive effects. The September 23rd seminar took place at Tonari Gumi and nearly 30 interested seniors and care givers were in attendance. The seminar was led by Todd Katsuyama, Tonari Gumi’s Team Leader on Elder Abuse. The main part of the presentation was given by Ms Grace Balbutin of the B.C. Centre for Elder Advocacy and Support. Her presentation was translated by Mariko Takashina, Tonari Gumi’s Community Service Coordinator. Grace helped to define what constituted elder abuse and made everyone aware of the wide range of ways in which seniors could experience and feel abuse or neglect. Grace also introduced the range of different programs and services available through the BCCEAS and the Seniors Abuse & Information hotline. The second seminar took place on Oct. 1, 2015 in the Iwasaki Room and the New Sakura-So Residence in Burnaby. Hosted together with the Nikkei Seniors Health Care & Housing Society, some 20 seniors and their care givers participated. Again, Grace Balbutin, of the BCCEAS, made her presentation, translated into Japanese by Mariko Takashina. Following both seminars at Tonari Gumi and the new Sakura-So, there was a lively question & answer session where the participants raised questions regarding various possible examples of elder abuse. Participants were very much engaged regarding this issue and it is clear that various forms of abuse and neglect are not unknown within our community. Tonari Gumi is planning additional seminars to be held in Richmond and at the Vancouver Japanese Language School. Interested individuals would register for these sessions by calling Tonari Gumi at 604-687-2172.
On Wednesday, Sept. 16, some 16 Tonari Gumi seniors and Atsuko Ichigo and David Iwaasa of the TG staff went on an outreach excursion to the Apple Barn in Abbotsford. Despite worries that it might rain that day, it turned out to be gorgeous late summer weather. It was ideal for apple picking which for many of our seniors was their first experience. However, it wasn’t long before everyone was an apple picking expert, telling everyone that their apples were the sweetest and that further up the hill where the sun was the brightest was where you found the best apples. There were also endless discussions as to whether the big ones or the little ones were the best. After picking all we could carry and enjoying a delicious bento lunch, we drove to the Honeybee Centre in Surrey where our seniors enjoyed tasting the many different types of honey and some tasty treats and tea in the tea room. Many thanks to Kent Tours for providing their bus and David Iwaasa his mini-van to transport everyone on an enjoyable excursion. As we approach the fall, let’s hope “an apple a day will keep the doctor away”. Our next outreach excursion will be on Oct. 1st to the Yaletown farmers market. Please register. See you there!