On Saturday, August 16, 2014 more than 80 Tonari Gumi members, former staff, friends and relatives gathered at Trout Lake to enjoy the 4th biennial Reunion Picnic. It was great to see old faces and new ones as well and to renew acquaintances. Tonari Gumi has been bringing the Japanese Canadian community together for more than forty years and this year’s event was no different. Bring good friends and good food together and you have a hit. Coupled with the bento’s this year, we were able to enjoy tasty pastries donated by MLA Jenny Kwan. The “suikawari” or “smash the watermelon” event was a big HIT as always. The water balloon toss was also a splash.
While the weather was cloudy, it didn’t rain and the plus was that it wasn’t too hot either. Thanks to the good weather, the age range for this year’s picnic was especially wide, ranging from 5 month old Miyo Kumagai to the 95 years of Mytsu Fugeta. This year’s reunion also contributed to bridging the generations as many families came together to enjoy the event.
Special thanks go to our volunteers Yoshitaka Miyanohara, Ayako Oi and Motoko Reed; and to our Board members Joji Kumagai, Heidi Hamano, Sanae Moteki and Kikko Tasaka who all contributed to the success of this event. Staff members Junko Takashima, Mariko Takashina, Masako Arima and David Iwaasa also sacrificed some of their time off to ensure everyone was able to enjoy the day.