Consulate-General of Japan in Houston


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Remarks by Consul-General Jota Yamamoto
before the City Council of Fort Worth
on Cherry Blossom Centennial & the Grassroots Summit
in North Texas at the Council Chamber on March 5, 2013

March 5, 2013

I thank the Honorable W. B. Zimmerman, Mayor Pro Tempore,  & the Honorable Council Members for giving me the privilege to join the proceedings in this City Council Chamber. 

The Honorable Council Member Dennis Shingleton kindly blessed the ceremony on November 17 last year, where I passed 20 cherry blossom saplings to Mr. Henry Painter, Director of the Fort Worth Botanic Garden.  They are now cherished by Ms. Erdie Allsup and other members of the Botanical Society, and will be blooming in 5-10 years.  To commemorate it & share blessings to small saplings, I would like to pass this plaque through Mayor Pro Tempore to Mayor Betsy Price.

With your permission, I would also like to touch on another subject: the Japan-America Grassroots Summit in North Texas.  Since our first meeting in November 2011, the Honorable Mayor Betsy Price has always extended her reassuring & encouraging support.  In the opening of the Summit of August 29 last year, held at Billy Bob’s Texas, Mayor Price spoke on behalf of 11 Mayors out of 15 host cities, and kicked off one of the best ever Grassroots Summits.

Now six months have passed, and time is right to recall the memories on the Summit, renew the excitement and strengthen our conviction for the value of Japan-Texas collaboration as proven through the Summit.  The agenda deserves the constant, never withering attention from the people in Japan, from the people in Texas.

My thanks therefore go to the Honorable Mayor & Council Members, and the City Hall of Fort Worth.  I would like to synchronize special thanks to the Fort Worth Sister Cities International, the Fort Worth Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, and the Friendship Force of Fort Worth. 

My constant applaud will go to the Fort Worth Japanese Society, too.  I salute President Harvey Yamagata, Ms. Jean Caddell who was the Fort Worth Local Coordinator for the Summit as well, and other members of the Society.

Indeed, I have so many people whom I need salute and commend.  If Mayor Pro Tempore would kindly represents those people in Fort Worth and accepts this certificate of commendation, I would be most obliged.  Obviously, I shall not forget many other people such as Ambassador Thomas Schiffer for example, who is from Fort Worth, former Ambassador to Japan and the Chair of the Summit Steering Committee, and I will commend these people later on separate occasions.  I believe that it will make sense and is necessary to first commend the City of Fort Worth.  The commendation reads:

“Consul-General of Japan extends his deepest regards to: Honorable Ms. Betsy Price, Mayor of Fort Worth, in recognition of her distinguished service in contributing to the deepening of mutual understanding and friendship between Japan and North Texas.”

My experience in Texas has given me a clearer image of America: respect for different values, cultural diversities, inter-ethnic face-to-face collaboration, and so forth.  Recalling the Grassroots Summit, recalling blessings to cherry blossom saplings, I now have more confidence whenever I say what America is, what Americans are.

To keep my convictions in America as represented by you and your people, I have worked out these baseball-shaped key chains.  It reads in the small letters “Japan Tejas America Tejas”, which I like to share with you. 

I was so lucky to have so many Tejas in my jurisdiction Texas & Oklahoma.  This Honorary Consul-General of Japan John Stich is my precious Tejas and navigator in North Texas.  I believe that he will try his best to further expand the human network of cross cultural collaboration, which prevailed through the Grassroots Summit, which sustained the blessings to cherry blossom saplings, and which will reason the message Japan Tejas America Tejas.