Consulate-General of Japan in Houston


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Remarks by Consul-General Nozomu Takaoka
at Reception to Celebrate Ms. Nancy Allen,
Board Member of Asia Society Texas Center,
Recipient of the Foreign Minister’s Commendation
on October 15, 2015

October 15, 2015

Good evening and thank you very much for joining me on this happy occasion to celebrate the great things Ms. Nancy Allen has done as she receives the Certificate of Commendation from the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan in recognition of her contribution to Japan-U.S. relations, particularly through her support of Asia Society Texas Center.

For years, Asia Society has been a leader of cultural exchange involving the Asian community.  In 2011 both Houston and the Japanese community were very happy to see Asia Society Texas Center find a magnificent permanent home, modern yet traditionally Japanese and designed by the renowned Yoshio Taniguchi. 

As many of you might know, this incredible piece of work is the brainchild of Ms. Allen, which was conceived as she was walking in New York City and came across the unique remodel Mr. Taniguchi gave to the Museum of Modern Art. Instantly she realized that Mr. Taniguchi’s work would be a perfect fit for Houston.  It is also incredible that Ms. Allen not only gave birth to the exciting concept of this project, but also followed through with fundraising which would never have been possible without her grace, charm, and generosity.

I am sure that I am speaking for all Japanese, Asians, and Houstonians when I say thank you to Ms. Allen, and everyone who has been involved in this great project since.  Asia Society Texas Center has become one of the gems of the city as an architectural landmark, tourist attraction, and center of valuable performances, exhibitions, and activities offered to Houston and its visitors.

Since my arrival exactly two years ago, I have said over and over that Houston is a great city that represents the happy marriage of economic prosperity, cultural beauty, and international diversity.  And when I said that, I was greatly inspired by Ms. Allen, whose gracious demeanor and cheerleading attitude has enormously encouraged good will among all people involved in cultural and international exchange, especially including Japan and Asia. I vividly remember that within our first few months of arrival, Ms. Allen was kind enough to invite me and my wife to her most charming home, where we were introduced to prominent members of Asia Society leadership and where we developed such strong cooperative ties, which we have enjoyed ever since. 

It has recently been announced that I will soon reach the end of my tenure as Consul General of Japan in Houston.  This December I will return to Japan in order to receive a new post.  It is a sad duty for me and my wife to leave all the wonderful friends I have made here.  But, I am happy to know, Ms. Allen, that your contributions have been recognized during my time here.  I wish you every happiness and continued prosperity. It is also my wish that Asia Society continues to prosper, continues to build cultural bridges, and continues to enrich the lives of Houstonians with Japanese and Asian culture.

Now, before presenting you this Certificate of Commendation from the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, I would like to read what is written in the original Japanese and then Emily will provide the translated English.