|Consul General's News Letter From Houston|
Remarks by Consul-General Jota Yamamoto
at the Awards Ceremony & Reception of the 23rd Annual Texas State-Wide Japanese Language Speech Contest
at Baker Institute on March 10, 2012
March 10, 2012
I congratulate all the participants of today’s contest, whether you hereafter receive an award or not. I appreciate your dedication to the Japanese language and your attention to my country.
Like all of you, I believe in the power of speech. I believe in the value of speech.
I was in Moscow some years ago. I can count up to eight in the Russian language, but I cannot understand any complex Russian phrases. Still I can sense and grasp the core message of speeches given by Russian speakers.
I was in Islamabad, Pakistan. Urdu is completely beyond my understanding. Still, speeches spoken in Urdu motivate me and leave a strong impression. It is not a question of linguistic technique, but the exercise of conveying a message to demonstrate one’s sincerity.
Now I am in Houston. I still am not familiar with all of the many Texan accents and nuances of English in this region. But any Texan’s speech, given by Governor Rick Perry or anyone else, has the power to move me.
Speaking of Governor Rick Perry, I met with him two days ago, and can tell you that he has the gift of speech and of casual conversation too.
I believe in the value of speech. Thus I admire this contest all the more and I have to thank all the people who made it possible.
I thank Dr. Toshimatsu Matsumoto, Chair of the Contest. With your experience and guidance, this year’s contest has once again been a success.
I thank Mr. JJ Naoki, President-elect, Ms. Shree Kurlekar, Executive Director, and other members of the Japan-America Society of Houston. You have nicely kicked off a series of events under the new management.
My thanks also go out to the Japanese Association of Greater Houston, the Japanese Business Association of Houston and the Japanese Teachers Association of Texas for their valuable cooperation.
This contest was made possible with the generous support of so many. I thank in particular Mitsubishi International Corporation, Gondo Company, JTB USA, and Rice University. You always encourage and enable us to do many things which are so important for both the Japanese and American communities.
JTB, the parent company of JTB USA, will mark its 100 years anniversary next week. Congratulations and let us work together to promote tourism into Japan. Indeed, tourists from abroad are most welcome and necessary. Visit us, visit Japan.
Today is March 10. In a few hours, at 11:46 pm it will be 2:46 pm, March 11, in Japan, which is the moment when the great earthquake struck my country last year.
At that very moment, there will be a memorial ceremony in Japan and we in Japan will observe a minute of silence to pray for the victims.
At 11:46 pm today, US Central Time, we will observe a minute of silence to thank all the people from Texas, from the United States, and from many other countries, who have extended to us an enormous amount of support and encouragement.
At 2:46 pm on March 11, Japan Standard Time, we will observe a minute of silence to renew our determination to step forward and secure revitalization of Japan. With thanks to all of you, Japan is blossoming again.
I request you to pray, at 11:46 pm today, Houston Time, at your home, in your bed, I ask you to pray for my country. In solidarity with all of you, Japan is blossoming again.