Consulate-General of Japan in Houston


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Remarks by Consul-General Nozomu Takaoka
at Tiger Ball Underwriter Reception
on February 5, 2014

February 5, 2014

Thank you all for joining us here tonight and for giving me this chance to publically acknowledge the gracious contributions for Tiger Ball 2014. 

As I was kindly introduced, my name is Nozomu Takaoka and I have only been here in Houston as the new Japanese Consul General for less than four months. But this short period was enough for me to recognize and appreciate what makes Houston a great and proud city. It is certainly as international and diverse a city as everyone says.

But I have found that the real strength of the city lies in the fact that Houston’s economic and financial prosperity goes hand in hand with its cultural beauty and intellectual strength. And I think this happy combination is made possible by business leaders and financial cheerleaders in Houston, many of whom are in this room now, who understand and appreciate the importance of culture and intellectual exchange.  In this context, I wish to thank the leadership of Houston City here tonight- Pro-Tem Mayor The Honorable Ed Gonzalez ,The Honorable Ellen Cohen, The Honorable  Oliver Pennington and The Honorable David Robinson.  Their attendance here tonight is a shining testament to this city’s commitment and support to its cultural strength.

The prime evidence of this cultural understanding by Houstonian leaders is that this year’s Tiger Ball will be held at the Asia Society featuring Japan.  I thank everyone who has made this possible. I recognize Ms. Donna Cole, President and CEO of Cole Chemical and Mr. Glen Gondo, CEO of Gondo Company Incorporated, for their role as chairpersons of the Tiger Ball. I am extremely grateful to Asia Society for their wonderful job administered by its Chairman Mr. Charles Foster and its new Executive Director Ms. Bonna Kol.

And I am particularly happy that this event on Japan will take place in the authentic yet elegant setting of the Asia Society, which was designed by renowned Japanese architect, Yoshio Taniguchi, and for which we are extremely thankful to Ms. Nancy Allen for her exquisite taste and strong determination in bringing such marvelous art to Houston, surpassing the Museum of Modern Art of New York. 

Not the least, I would like to thank United Airlines represented tonight by Vice Chairman Mr. Bill Compton, for not only providing the only direct flight for the past fifteen years between Houston and Tokyo, which will double in the number of flights next month, but also for his co-organization of this reception tonight.  And I would finally like to thank each and every sponsor, as this event would not be possible without your dedicated support.

Bilateral friendship and exchange thrives on a sound financial basis.  Japanese people living in Houston are so fortunate to be based in this great city of dynamism and diversity. At the same time, everyone needs food and this healthy bilateral exchange requires some food for living and business, as well as food for thought.  And I am sure that the Japanese Ambassador to the United States, Kenichiro Sasae, is very much qualified to provide that food at the end of this month, as there are many issues about Japan that are of great importance to Texas and indeed the whole United States.  I am entirely confident that this year’s Tiger Ball will be witness to many great successes with this combination of good speakers, good organization, good venues and good participants.

Following the remarks by our distinguished sponsors, I invite you to enjoy the catering, which was kindly paid for by United Airlines, as well as the delicious sushi that was provided by Mr. Glen Gondo. I would like to thank you all once again for your interest in Japan, your involvement, and your support in this very important bilateral relationship between Japan and the United States.