After last year’s 50 th Anniversary milestone celebration, 2017-18 has been a quieter year in the life of AJA. Financial membership in the past year was 47, although many more attend quite regularly, and we plan to encourage more to join in the coming year. As usual we have maintained our program of two conversation meetings a month at the Caffé Amore. These gatherings still attract an average of 20-30 people with special nights like Setsubun, Coming of Age Day, Melbourne Cup and Pizza Nights.
The Burnside Japanese Cultural Day was our only major public event this year, as the Matsuri on Mobara Festival was again deferred, this time until 2020. The 10 th Cultural Day at the Burnside Library, however, now organised and run by the AJA committee instead of Library staff, was one of our best.
Again supporting the activities of AJA, Consul-General, Mr Kazuyoshi Matsunaga, opened the Cultural Day with a Ninja attack upon himself, to the amusement and delight of all present. We thank the Japanese Consulate for its ongoing interest in our Association and we are pleased to welcome Mr Yoshimitsu Kawata, Deputy Japanese Consul-General, and Ms Moemi Nakamura here tonight.
Back in Adelaide we have again participated in other multicultural community events, such as the Moon Lantern Festival with OzAsia and the Australia Day Parade with Multicultural SA. All of these events help raise the profile of Japan and its culture in Adelaide, and the AJA Committee sincerely appreciates all that our volunteers have done on these occasions.
While all these events are an important part of our year, I believe that the AJA Kaiwa Club meetings are the cornerstone of our Association. They provide the opportunity for Australia Japan social support and interaction, developing friendships between us and allowing us to participate more effectively with our volunteers in outside events.
The Caffé Amore is a big factor in our success, and we appreciate the ongoing support of owner, Rob DelDuca. I also thank the management and staff of the Ginza Miyako Japanese Restaurant for their support and service. For the 5 th year we held our AGM at the Miyako, and they have always looked after us well.
At the AGM I stepped down as President of AJA. Over the years I have got more out of it than I have put in, and I again thank the AJA committee and our friends and volunteers, without whose support I could not have achieved much at all. I will remain on the Committee but, after 13 years, it is time for someone else to take over, and I am sure that Jason Davies will do a great job as your next President.
The AJA of SA Committee elected for 2018-19 is, in alphabetical order, Mia Chamberlain, Jason Davies, Kyoko Katayama, Ian Loxton, Stuart McClure, Kanoko Oura, Sergio Palacio, Jim Stewart and Sue Treloar. All committee members will share various roles, such as membership, event coordinating, and communication, but the Executive will be President Jason, Vice-President: Kyoko; Secretary Jim; Treasurer, Sue, and Public Officer Stuart.
We also presented Kyoko Katayama with Life membership and Sue Treloar with an Outstanding Service Award. Tatsuhiko Sakai, now retired from the committee, will be presented an award on his return from Japan.
Finally, thank you, all of our guests, for your attendance at this 51 st AJA AGM.