Consulate-General of Japan in Houston


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Consul General's News Letter From Houston

Remarks by Consul-General Jota Yamamoto
at the Cherry Blossom Tree Planting Ceremony
at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden on November 17, 2012

November 17, 2012

I would like to applaud Dondoko Taiko Drummers.  We are so lucky to have this team’s performance in Fort Worth.  I know that Mr. John Stich is a competent honorary consul-general, but I did not know that he is a professor of cherry blossom’s history.  His lecture is the most comprehensive one I have ever heard.

One year ago, I first met with the Honorable Mayor Betsy Price and asked for her cooperation with the Japan-America Grassroots Summit in North Texas.  On August 29 of this year, I thanked Mayor Price, as her favorable consideration led to the successful opening of the Summit.

Today, I would like to convey my sincerest thanks to Mayor Price, through the Honorable Councilman Dennis Shingleton representing the Mayor & City of Fort Worth today, and to Mayors of the other 14 host cities, as their enormous support led to the greatest and most successful Summit ever.

One year ago, I first met with Ms. Erdie Allsup and Mr. Scott Brooks of the Botanical Society and asked for their cooperation with the possible planting of cherry blossom saplings, if any at all.  There was some uncertainty, thus at that time I only said that I would try my best for Fort Worth to be included as one of the cities to receive new cherry blossoms. 

Today, I am pleased to tell you that 20 baby trees have already reached us and have been blessed by the Botanical Society.

These saplings will commemorate the centennial of Japan’s first gift of cherry blossom trees to America.  For the past 100 years, Japan and America have witnessed many things.  But cherry blossoms have bloomed faithfully every year, and the friendship of the two countries has now bloomed into a steadfast alliance.

These saplings will also orient us in the furtherance of ties between Japan and Fort Worth.  In five years, they will grow to 10 feet high.  In ten years, they will start blooming and add further color to the Botanic Garden.  Did you know that some cherry blossom trees can live over one thousand years?  Our ties will be the same: ties between Japan and Fort Worth, ties between your sister-city Nagaoka and Fort Worth.

Honorable Councilman Dennis Shingleton, Distinguished Guests, Dear Colleagues of Fort Worth,

Fort Worth and its surrounding North Texas have always energized and reassured me, because of the best & most capable Honorary Consul-General, because of the best & powerful Japan-America Society, and because of the best & solid network of Japanese, Americans & Japanese Americans in this area.  To name only a few of iconic figures, these are: Mr. Don Casey, Mr. Harvey Yamagata, Ms. Anna McFarland, and Mr. John Stich, now professor of cherry blossoms.  I thank them for celebrating this day together.

We have so many bests of all, thus let us keep them working.  Keep them working to ensure the eventful months, to promote mutual appreciation, and to further expand face-to-face confidence.  That is after all the very engine of the Japan-US alliance, and I believe that Fort Worth and North Texas will be in the best position in the States to fuel the engine. 

I would like to conclude my remarks by quoting a couple of my favorite statements by a couple of my favorite dignitaries.  The first is Admiral Patrick Walsh, the former commander of US Pacific Fleet, who is from Dallas, carried out operation Tomodachi after the earthquake in Japan, and has now come back to Dallas. 

Admiral Walsh said that as long as we make commitments to each other, and resolve to stand for each other, our friendship will endure, and the spirit embodied in that friendship will never wither and die.  I believe that this spirit is also embodied in 20 cherry blossom saplings.

The second is the former US Ambassador to Japan, Ambassador Thomas Schieffer, who is from Fort Worth, served in Japan for many years, and has now come back to Fort Worth. 

Ambassador Schieffer said that he likes to see more people understand that the Americans appreciate the Japanese people, and the Japanese love the Americans.  I believe that this will continue to be the key concept for our two nations.

I thank you all for joining us, and I hope that you all will enjoy and have a very good Saturday.