The Japan America Society of St. Louis began the new year with a wonderful Shinnenkai at Sushi Sen in Lake Saint Louis on January 21. This year's Shinnenkai was well-attended, including Deputy Consul General of Japan from Chicago, Kenji Tanaka, and three full tables of our corporate members Nidec, Novus, and CSI. Once again, our attendees had the pleasure of hearing the insights of guest speaker Dave Lowry, an expert on Japanese culture. This year, Dave spoke of the concepts of omote, or "surface-level meaning," and ura, or "deep meaning." He explained this in the context of some interesting unpublicized (ura) Shinto practices concerning the emperor, as well as practices concerning the coming and unprecedented abdication, as Emperor Akihito will "retire" on April 30 and Crown Prince Naruhito will become the new emperor.
Deputy Consul General of Japan Tanaka spoke in glowing terms of JASSTL's commitment to strengthening relations between St. Louis and Japan, and in particular outgoing JAS President Dr. Chikako Usui's tremendous efforts and successes in strengthening the JAS in St. Louis. Dr. Usui retired at the end of 2017 and now serves as Chairman of the Board. So this year's event was also the first in 10 years to feature a new president, Mr. Greg Gorman of Nidec Motor Corporation.
Of course, no JAS Shinnenkai would be complete without the kagami-biraki (sake barrel opening ceremony), a raffle of fukubukuro bags, and Chef Ken's osechi ryori - special New Year's meal (and sake!). This is always a treat, and a good time was had by all!
To view more photo's from this event please click here.