New Year party - Dumpling party and Advisor Itoko's birthday party (January meeting) - report

The 2023 New Year Party was held on January 21 (Saturday) at the Kajima Shinkan Hall. There were a total of 35 participants at the hall - Advisor Atsumi Itsuko, Executive Director Atsumi Naoki, Associate Director Imanishi Junko, the foundation staff, Raccoons, and the current fellows - as well as Raccoons participating from all over the world via Zoom.

As the organizer, I planned the gyoza making project which involved 4 types of gyoza (beef, pork, chicken, tofu) which each had a different method of folding. As far as possible I involved people not from China in the making process. For example, it was Zahar Moharramipour from Iran's first time making gyoza, so she tried making the gyoza skin. Takeuchi Kyoko from Japan also learned about the Chinese style of folding gyoza for the first time, and said, "I'll try this at home." The intercultural communication through gyoza led to a lively atmosphere, and to end we all partook in the delicious gyoza.

After eating, we had a birthday party for Itsuko's 95th birthday, known as "Cinju" in Japan. As the 28th batch of scholars, the sixteen of us looked at the records of what had been done from 2008 to 2022, and based on Itsuko's fondness for "Purrple" and "the rabbit year" we split into three groups to make preparations.

The first present was a bouquet of flowers. We made a special order to a flower designer who crafted an elegant bouquet of purple, blue and orange flowers.

The second present was a piece of embroidery. The 16 of us each chose a symbol from our home countries that represented auspiciousness. Yokota Chieko, who is researching Kazakh embroidery techniques, then embroidered and framed each of these. As we handed over the gift we each explained the significance of the symbols we had chosen.

The third present was a birthday cake. We made a special order to Atelier Anniversary for a berry shortcake which made use of the color purple. The purple cake was pleasing to the eye, and added a festive touch to the birthday party.

From the Zoom participants singing a birthday song together upon Takeuchi-san's signal to Itsuko's joy at receiving each of the presents, everything was very enjoyable. After the relaxed birthday party, we had the last activity of the evening - bingo. We were all excited about the bingo prizes and had a great time.

Meeting and talking with my fellow batchmates in order to prepare for this event has also become a nice memory for me. I hope we can meet again to get to know each other better. More than anything, I hope we can strengthen our academic networks. I wish that each and every day of this year is one full of joy for Itsuko as well as all of the Raccoons.

Text: Qian Haiying(2022)
Translation: Sonja Dale

Photos of the day