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 Reception to Honor the Friends
of the Hermann Park Japanese Garden
on the occasion of Unveiling of the Dedication
of Terunobu Nakai Memorial Stone on March 8, 2013

March 8, 2013

My office recently worked out baseball-shaped key chains, I wonder whether you all have received them as today’s token at the reception desk.  It reads on its face in small letters “Japan Tejas America Tejas.”  Today’s agenda is Tejas from Japan, Mrs. Toyoko Nakai, Mr. Hiroshi Iwasaki & his family, who all the way came around to Houston as awaited by many Tejas in Houston, Mr. Kunio Minami, Mr. JJ Naoki & so forth.

This morning, we unveiled the Dedication of Terunobu Nakai Memorial Stone, having the privilege to pay tribute, with his wife Mrs. Nakai, to a Japanese gentleman who dedicated his life to the Hermann Park Japanese Garden.

The Hermann Park Japanese Garden always reminds us of the bright & steadfast friendship between Japan and America.  The Garden, however, implies much more than a simple context of Japan-America, as it is a precious achievement of cross-cultural face-to-face collaboration, and as such is the common asset in Houston embodying our faith to the cultural diversities of Houston. 

I am very honored to welcome today so many precious guests & colleagues from the Asian and various communities in Houston as the Friends, Tejas of the Hermann Park Japanese Garden.  Your kind attendance has strengthened my conviction that the Japanese Garden can truly be a common asset among us.

For the past 21 years, the Japanese Garden has enhanced its values.  It was made possible by active engagement of people like the late Terunobu Nakai, and facilitated through collaboration with many Houstonians.  I salute the Houston Parks & Recreation Department, Hermann Park Conservancy, and the City of Houston.

I wonder whether it is relevant to announce that I will leave Houston very soon to assume a new mission in Tokyo: but it is surely relevant & fitting to today’s agenda to say that I have learnt a lot in Houston about the respect for different values, face-to-face collaborations, wisdom & know-how to accommodate inter-ethnic agenda, cross-cultural exchange, and after all my beloved magic word “cultural diversities”.  As all those factors must have been the very basic tenet of the original of America, I now have a clearer image of America.  I now have more confidence whenever I say what America is, by simply recalling to my mind you & your people in Houston. 

I really cherish and appreciate the value of cultural diversities of Houston.  I know that this is not an easy concept which can be taken for granted.  This can only be sustained through enormous efforts by enormous number of people.  I believe that the Hermann Park Japanese Garden will continue to be given a dignified place in Houston in this connection, and Mr. Terunobu Nakai & many people who engaged in the Garden will continue to be hailed and applauded in the same context. 

Did you know that October 27, 2011 was Terunobu Nakai Day, June 19, 2012 the Hermann Park Japanese Garden Day, as proclaimed by the Honorable Mayor Annise Parker?  This day today March 8, 2013 is the day to commemorate the Dedication of Terunobu Nakai Memorial Stone.  I believe that these dates March 8, June 19 & October 27 will every year remind us of the Japanese Garden & a Japanese gentleman who cherished it, and perhaps will give us another impetus to renew our commitment and allegiance to the cultural diversities of Houston.