2021 New Year Party

On January 16th, a Saturday that was so warm it felt like spring, the 2020 Atsumi fellows as well as Raccoons from around the world and staff from the Atsumi Foundation joined in the New Year party for 2021. Because of the recent increase in coronavirus cases the number of people who could participate in person at the foundation was limited to ten, and the rest of the 61 participants joined online for a hybrid-style celebration.

Since December last year, we, the 2020 fellows, had been holding "strategic meetings" to discuss how to celebrate Executive Director Mrs. Atsumi's birthday, discussing what type of cake, flower bouquet, and present to get. While the online discussion with the Raccoons was going on, preparation for bringing out the cake was underway in the Atsumi hall. When the lights went out a specially ordered birthday cake adorned with a candle shaped as the number "93" was brought out as we all sang happy birthday. As Mrs. Atsumi blew out the candle she was presented with a bouquet of flowers - sweet peas (the birthday flower for those born in January), green hydrangeas, light pink roses, tulips, and carnations. We also presented her with a drawing of her in a room full of flowers. Finally, she was gifted a video message from the 2020 fellows prepared by Gen-san ( Yuan Xiao Yu / 2020 Raccoon), who was participating online. In the video each fellow expressed their gratitude and best wishes for Mrs. Atsumi in their own words and way. Watching the video in the Atsumi hall personally made me feel warm inside.

This year's celebration was not as lively as past years, but I think that we managed to celebrate the New Year and Mrs. Atsumi's birthday as best we could given the circumstances. Being able to hear from Raccoons all over the world is also something that could only be achieved online.

After the various ceremonies had ended, Mrs. Atsumi gave her New Year's greetings. As I listened to her, I realized that although this year had brought about dizzying changes, there is no change in the fact that a new year is here.

To close, Mrs. Atsumi thanked the Atsumi staff who had made preparations for the New Year party, the Raccoons who participated, and the 2020 fellows who also made preparations for the event. Our time together was made stimulating by the participation of the 2020 fellows as well as our seniors from around the world, and this is time that I will treasure.

Happy Birthday message for Executive Director Mrs. Atsumi from 2021 Raccoon


Lee Sujin

Translated by Sonja Dale