|Consul General's News Letter From Houston|
Japanese Film Night: Alamo Draft House-West Oaks
Welcome and thank you for attending tonight’s event, WARAU NIPPON ～ Love and Laughter. NIPPON is the name of my country in Japanese. The Japanese call Japan NIPPON in Japanese. Thus, WARAU NIPPON, Love and Laughter from Japan.
We have two films from Japan. The Consulate-General of Japan at Houston could not be happier at this chance to share Japanese culture with the greater Houston Community through two examples of Japanese cinema, Hula Girls for today and Train Man for tomorrow..
This has been a difficult year for Japan. After the March earthquake/tsunami disaster, our country still has a tough road ahead of us. But at the same time, my country is given the privilege. Indeed, Japan has received and continues to receive enormous support from the international community. To all of you, all Houstonians and all people in Houston, I like to convey our thanks from people of Japan. We really thank you. This support gives us hope and the courage we need.
With such courage, Japan and its people are now taking steps forward as oriented by the necessary optimism. Thus, this year for our Japanese movie night event, we chose two comedies. Both movies are based on encouraging and uplifting true stories. The main characters in both have to struggle and overcome great odds. In Hula Girls the struggle is to save a town, and in Train Man the struggle is to be accepted and loved. Both stories fill us with great hope for a brighter future, despite the challenges we face today.
Notably the first movie of our two night series, Hula Girls, takes place in the Fukushima prefecture, the area that was affected by the March disaster. Just recently the hula girls on whom the movie was based were recognized by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs for their efforts to raise funds for the disaster-affected areas in their prefecture. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has appointed the hula girls Goodwill Ambassadors and they will attend the 6th Pacific Islands Leaders meeting on May 25th and 26th next year.
Further recognition of the hula girls is seen in the recent documentary detailing their story, formation of Joban Hawaiian Center in Fukushima, and their efforts to help with the March disaster relief including the 28 hula girls working together to re-open the Spa Resort Hawaiians (their place of employment) after it was destroyed in March. The documentary is entitled, “We Keep it up, Hula Girls! Living in Fukushima, the Hula Girls Today” or in Japanese “Ganbappe Hula Girls! Fukushima ni Ikiru. Kanojo-tachi no Ima.” The documentary just opened on October 29, 2011. I hope it will not be long, before it will be available in the U.S.
I hope you will enjoy tonight’s movie and another one for tomorrow, learn something about Japan and feel encouraged by the message of hope found in both films.