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Otsu Prince Hotel, the main venue of the 11th Shiga Kenjinkai International Convention held Nov. 12-14, 2007.
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Convention Hall Omi at Otsu Prince Hotel. 第11回滋賀県人会世界大会のメイン会場。
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Entrance to convention hall at Otsu Prince Hotel. Every few years, all the Shiga Kenjinkai in Japan and overseas gather for a convention for a few days.
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Reception counter. The 11th Shiga Kenjinkai International Convention was held in Shiga for the first time in 16 years. There are currently 71 Shiga Kenjinkai groups in Japan and overseas.
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Main venue at the convention hall. A Shiga Kenjinkai is a group or association of people having ties to Shiga Prefecture who now live outside Shiga.
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There is at least one Shiga Kenjinkai in all the prefectures in Japan, and around 15 Shiga Kenjinkai overseas. The hall was lined with banners of many Shiga Kenjinkai from Japan and overseas. Ehime, Brazil, Osaka, etc.
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Toronto, Nagano, Hakodate, Argentina, and Kochi. Outside Japan, there is a Shiga Kenjinkai in Brazil, Peru, Mexico, Canada (Toronto, Vancouver, and Alberta), Argentina, USA (Seattle, California, and Hawaii), Hong Kong, Indonesia, UK, France, and Germany.
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Kita-Kyushu, Southern California (Nanka), and Hiroshima
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Western Canada, Yamaguchi, and Miyagi
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Saitama, Kanagawa, France, Matsumae
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Japanese-English interpreting was provided
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Opening ceremony started at 10:30 am on Nov. 13, 2007.
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Otaka Tokio, Chairman of the National Federation of Shiga Kenjinkai, delivers a welcome message. 大高時男
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Dehara Itsuzo, Shiga Prefectural Assembly Chairman
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A representative for Mekata Makoto, Chairman of the Shiga Prefecture City Mayors' Association and also the mayor of Otsu.
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Natsuhara Satoru, Chairman of the Shiga Prefecture Town Mayors' Association and also the mayor of Taga town.
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The Lieutenant Governor of Shiga (substituting for Governor Kada who was hosting the Emperor and Empress visiting Shiga) bestows awards to people who have long contributed to promoting Shiga.
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Chairman Otaka gives letters of appreciation to Shiga Kenjinkai members for meritorious service. In the afternoon, the keynote speech was given by Donald E. Devaney who talked about historical ties between Shiga and the U.S. (photography was not allowed).
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In an adjacent hall was the "Social Salon" with exhibits by most of Shiga's cities and towns and by various Shiga Kenjinkai. Many tourist pamphlets (mostly in Japanese) were provided.
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Hikone's exhibit in the Social Salon, featuring red samurai armor from the Ii clan.
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National high school soccer tournament award from Yasu. (Yasu High School won the national title in Jan. 2006.)
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Exhibit by Takashima city.
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Pamphlets and CDs (including Lake Biwa Rowing Song in English) from Takashima city. 琵琶湖周航の歌 英語版CDも展示
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Overseas Shiga Kenjinkai exhibits.
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Shiga Kenjinkai from Canada and Mexico.
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Niigata Shiga Kenjinkai exhibit included stuff from Hokuriku region. Web site here.
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Exhibits by other Shiga cities.
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Shiga Prefecture exhibited some plastic fish.
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Biwa masu trout above, and nigorobuna crucian carp (funazushi) on bottom.
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Caffy, official mascot for the Sports Recreation event in 2008.
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Popular Hiko-nyan from Hikone also made an appearance in the Social Salon.
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Hiko-nyan is a helmeted cat, related to the Ii clan.
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On Nov. 13, there was a symposium called "Shiga and Cultural Exchanges."
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One panelist was a priest from Enryakuji temple on Mt. Hiei.
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The Social Salon was a good place to hang out between meetings and symposiums. It also had mini presentations by several overseas Kenjinkai.
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Interesting slide show by the Southern California Shiga Kenjinkai showing their activities.
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A comedian from Mt. Ibuki in Maibara.
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Dinner banquet hosted by Shiga Prefecture on Nov. 13, 2007.
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Governor Kada Yukiko gives a welcome message in both Japanese and English. In Japan, extremely few politicians can do this. Nice that Shiga has a bilingual governor who once studied in the U.S.
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Kanpai!
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Buffet
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Koto entertainment by Maiko, a well-known singer-songwriter from Shiga. 真衣子
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On the morning of Nov. 14, a boat cruise on the Michigan. Narration in both Japanese and English explaining about Lake Biwa's ecology. I was unable to join this cruise, so no photos.
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In the afternoon of Nov. 14 was a "Youth Session," or panel discussion by representatives of various Kenjinkai overseas. They discussed about recruiting younger members and facilitating networking among members.
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Questions from the audience were also taken.
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Social Salon also served green tea and sweets.
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Mini presentation by the Biwako-no-Kai from Mexico.
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Door prizes were given out in a drawing. There were so many prizes donated by various Kenjinkai that it took almost an hour to give them all out.
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Final dinner on Nov. 14, 2007. Some wore happi coats or a kimono.
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For the first hour (6 pm - 7 pm), we suffered through endless speeches by politicians. (Speeches should not be longer than 20 min. total at any event.)
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Speech by Kunimatsu Yoshitsugu, Chairman of the Shiga Intercultural Association for Globalization.
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Kunimatsu Yoshitsugu, Chairman of the Shiga Intercultural Association for Globalization. He is also the former Shiga governor.
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Kanpai!
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Food, finally! All from Shiga. Lots of fish, and funa-zushi too.
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Entertainment started with taiko drumming.
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Governor Kada teaches us how to dance the Goshu Ondo, a native dance of Shiga. She spoke in both Japanese and English again. Also see the video at YouTube.
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Almost everyone got up to dance the goshu ondo. It's like a bon dance peculiar to Shiga. Also see the video at YouTube.
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Goshu ondo
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Members of the Toronto Shiga Kenjinkai dance goshu ondo.
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At the end, we sang Biwako Shuko no Uta (Lake Biwa Rowing Song). The party ended at 9:30 pm.
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Convention poster. More about the Shiga Kenjinkai here.
   
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