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Chairman’s Corner By KFA Chairman, Murray Ballantyne IN June I had the pleasure of meeting with the President of the Saitama International Language School, Mr Osamu Sato.

Mr Sato said that the school had had one student from New Zealand and that she was an exceptional student who went on to study art at university in Japan. Mr Sato explained that the school caters for four levels of language skills: beginner; elementary; intermediate and advanced (with the advanced level taking students to a skill level where they can enter university).

I met socially with Mr Sato and he outlined the reason for his visit to Invercargill and explained his company structure and the reasons why the company got involved with the Saitama International Language School.

We also spoke about opportunities that may exist for businesses in Invercargill to send some of their employees to Kumagaya to learn the language at an elementary or intermediate level.

Mr Sato explained the reason for his visit to Invercargill was to meet with high school principals and Japanese teachers and to encourage students learning the Japanese language to come to Kumagaya and study at the Saitama language school.

I can endorse the advantages of such a concept. The ability of my son Andrew to speak Japanese has helped develop a strong business partnership for our honey sales in Japan.

The company where Mr Sato works is Yumex, a Kumagaya based company specialising in the manufacture of plastic components for computers, phones etc.

We should be looking at all fields of tourism, marketing and manufacturing to foster such links with Kumagaya people and companies.

A number of years ago the company needed to expand its manufacturing base to other countries in order to remain competitive with its products in the market.

A Newsletter from the Kumagaya Friendship Association • July 2005 • Issue 4

Japanese drummers to visit Invercargill next month By Midori Sasaki

THE art of Taiko (Japanese drums) will be demonstrated at a special performance at Southland Boys' High School in August. A group of 10 university students from the International Pacific College in Palmerston North will be in Invercargill for a one-off performance on Monday 15 August, as part of a South Island tour. All members of the Kumagaya Friendship Association are invited to the one hour performance in the Southland Boys' High School Assembly Hall at 2pm. A gold coin donation for this wonderful cultural experience would be appreciated.

Mr Sato greatly appreciated the help he received from people involved with the Friendship Association in Kumagaya and Invercargill. After meeting with principals and Japanese teachers from James Hargest College, Southland Boys' High and Southland Girls' High Schools he had received positive feedback from them about students attending the language school.

To establish business in another country the company realised it needed to have trained employees from that country who could understand the way of Japanese business and speak the Japanese language. So it made the decision in 1988 to establish the Saitama International School as part of the company business, which helps train people from China and the Philippines where they now have factories.

I found Mr Sato to have a very positive approach to the advantages the sister city link had for his business. He said now there was a greater awareness from the business community in Kumagaya about developing links between our two cities.

Since 1990 the school has been open to all international students mainly from Asia.

Experience cherry blossom time

Contact details

By Tom Sawyer

IF you would like to contact the Kumagaya Friendship Association, please telephone (03) 211 1678, or email

THE Kumagaya Friendship Association intends to send a citizens' group to Tokyo and Kumagaya in April 2006. It is provisionally expected to be two days in Tokyo (shopping or sightseeing) and then three days home hosted in Kumagaya amongst the Cherry Blossoms of the Japanese Spring.

Corporate and community members The Kumagaya Friendship Association is supported by the following organisations: Platinum sponsor: Invercargill City Council.

The approximate all up cost is around $3000. A firm commitment is not needed at this stage, just your name is required if you are interested.

Corporate members: Bonsai Restaurant, Chamber of Commerce Southland, DT Carter Ltd, Jayel Trading Ltd, Pacific Shipping, Preston Russell Law, Ralph Moir & Associates, Southern Institute of Technology, Woodlands Apiary.

Towards the end of the year we will have exact dates and costs confirmed, and at that stage we will need a deposit to secure your ticket. This is the first citizens’ visit to our Sister City, so it is your big chance to experience Japanese culture.

Community members: Altrusa International Inc, Invercargill Kendo Club, James Hargest College.

To express your interest, contact Tom Sawyer on 0274 325 380 or email


BEAT IT: Members of the International Pacific College's Taiko Group performing in Christchurch's Cathedral Square.

KFA members invited to Japanese competition

This year the competition will be held at Southland Boys' High School on 16 August from 9am to 12:30 pm. Year 7 to Year 13 representatives from Southland's secondary schools will compete for top honours. The Kumagaya Friendship Association is one of the sponsors for this competition for the second year in a row. Come along and see the skills of Southland's Japanese students.

By Midori Sasaki

ARTICLES INSIDE... Bonsai evening appeals to all ages Girls’ High students enjoy Japanese adventure Chairman’s Corner Experience cherry blossom time

THE Southland Japanese Teachers’ Association is inviting Kumagaya Friendship Association members to the Annual Southland Interschool Japanese Speech Competition.

Pg 2 Pg 3 Pg 4 Pg 4

Bonsai evening

Girls' High students enjoy Japanese adventure By Tanya Davis, Year 13 , Southland Girls' High School

appeals to all ages

ON the 13th of April 2005, 21 students and four teachers from Southland Girls' High School travelled for 11 hours on a plane bound for Japan. You could hear the girls' excitement as half a year's waiting finally became reality. Even from the air we began to see the many differences between Japan and New Zealand.

By Tom Sawyer THE place to be on 30th June was without a doubt The Bonsai Restaurant in Esk Street. The Kumagaya Friendship Association's first 'food' function was a resounding success.

After landing at Narita Airport, we spent the night in a magnificent hotel. The next morning, all 25 of us squeezed into a small bus and travelled to Kumagaya with our hosts Mrs Kobayashi and Mrs Inoue from Kumagaya Municipal Girls' High School (our sister school). All of us were anxiously awaiting the next 11 days with our new families.

A full house enjoyed the food of Chef Tsuyoshi Kaburaki and the sushi making demonstration of his lovely wife Iku…not to mention the sake! Unfortunately, whilst the teaching skills of Iku were superb, the learning skills of the 'gaijin' who was ordered by the Chairman to copy her were not so good. The resultant 'Kiwi' sushi looked more like a large, irregular, green dog dropping compared to Iku's culinary masterpiece! It was pleasing to see such a mixed crowd, old and young from the Kumagaya Friendship Association, plus a smattering of new faces, all enjoying the evening.

OH DEAR: Tom Sawyer learns to make sushi under the expert guidance of Iku Kaburaki.

By popular request, there will be more of these events. And to those of you who missed out because the number limit had been reached…well…be in quick next time. Watch this space for your next chance to taste the delights of Japan.

ALL SMILES: Girls' High students enjoying time at Tokyo Disneyland.

When we arrived, we met our host families and then we were quickly off to spend an exciting weekend with them. Some girls went to Tokyo and climbed Tokyo Tower, others went shopping, some travelled to Chichibu to see the beautiful sakura, or some even got dressed up in a traditional kimono. We all returned to school the next Monday with great stories to share.

Disney characters and enjoying the many rides. Some girls would say that this was the highlight of their trip. Some girls found communication difficult at first, but then found that even though they could not speak or understand Japanese, they could communicate in many other ways. They also found that an electronic dictionary always came in handy.

Our first week in Japan was focused on getting used to the different way of life. Some girls ate rice with every meal and near the end of the trip some started to like green tea. Some girls had an adventure just getting to school, having to bike to the train station, ride the train then the bus and still have to walk a few blocks to school. School life in Japan is extremely busy with some girls not getting home until 8pm or even later!

The final week came too fast and soon enough we were faced with the dreaded leaving ceremony. It was there where many proud host families said touching words about their New Zealand friends. The next day we left our loving host families with heavy hearts but many happy memories.

Throughout the week, we visited many attractions including the shrines at Nikko, Edo Village and even Disneyland. It was there that many of the girls lightened their purses buying their favourite

All of us left Japan with great memories, things we experienced, sights we saw and the friendships we established. The trip was a once in a lifetime opportunity and something we'll never forget.

Time for something new?


Here at The Bonsai Restaurant we would like to give people the opportunity to learn about and take part in Japanese culture through our food.

To do this we are holding presentations for social clubs and businesses, at the restaurant. Our presentations involve a talk on different types of sushi, how sushi is made and also sampling different flavours of sushi. If your business or social club is meeting soon and you would like to experience a little Japanese culinary culture and have a free sample of delicious sushi, please email us at with the details of your group, including the number of attendants and your phone number and we will contact you directly. A BONSAI NIGHT: Members of the Kumagaya Friendship Association enjoying their first ‘food’ function.


The Bonsai Restaurant - 35 Esk Street - Email - Phone 218 1292


Nyuusa Nov 2005  

Newsletter of the Invercargill Kumagaya assn

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