Tonari Gumi is Looking for a New Executive Director

As some of you may have noticed, there are advertisements in the Bulletin, the Vancouver Shinpo and other community publications indicating that Tonari Gumi is searching for a new Executive Director.

After having served for nearly six years, almost twice as long as he had originally planned, our current Executive Director, David Iwaasa, has decided to really “retire” this time around. After having first retired from the federal civil service in 2006, David then went on to serve his church for three years, retiring again in 2009. In 2010, his wife saw an ad in the Bulletin for the executive director position at Tonari Gumi. Thinking that it might be a relaxing way to contribute to the community, David submitted his application and found himself on an extremely busy roller coaster. Thanks to the generosity of the Kusumoto Family and many hundreds more donors and volunteers, David found himself in the midst of a major fundraising and building program, which culminated in November 2013 with the dedication of Tonari Gumi’s new $3.6 million Seniors’ Drop-In and Community Outreach Centre at 42 West 8th Ave. in Vancouver. Having promised to stay-on until the new facilities were completed, David now feels that he can once again “retire”. Other than maybe getting to play a few more rounds of golf and spending more time with his grandchildren, David doesn’t intend to stop contributing to the community. He hopes, now, to be able to help Tonari Gumi as a volunteer.

This does, however, open up an opportunity for someone new to take on the reins of Tonari Gumi and to continue its growth towards its 50th year as an organization in 2024. Anyone interested in a rewarding opportunity to help build a caring and compassionate community, needs to apply now. The intention is for the new Executive Director to be chosen in the month of September with a view to allowing David to “retire” in late October of this year. Please check out the following link for more detailed information: Tonari Gumi ED.

Tonari Gumi is at the Powell Street Festival for the 39th Year!

In other words, Tonari Gumi has been at the Powell Street Festival ever since it started in 1977.PSFS15_Tonari_Gumi_01 This year is no exception and we’re excited to join with the rest of the community in helping to deliver a wonderful summer tradition. Now that Oppenheimer park is available to the community again, Tonari Gumi’s booth locations are back to their traditional locations on Dunlevy Avenue and along Cordova Street.DSC_0211 Tonari Gumi’s food booth on Dunlevy is always a summer treat with our ever-favourite items: hiyashi chuuka salad (cold ramen salad); sushi bento box, inari zushi (some people call them ‘rice bags’), yummy mochi manju (sweet sticky rice cakes), ice cold barley tea and similarly cold iced coffee. The prices are great and the smiles you receive when you are served are free.

Tonari Gumi’s Community Craft Tent is just off Dunlevy along Cordova Street and th004ere you will find the amazing crafts created by our seniors just for your gift giving—to yourself and to all of your friends and relatives.012 We also have used kimonos, used Japanese dolls and other Japanese gift items. A perennial favourite is our “New To You” table where hundreds of used jewelry items are on sale to enhance your summer wardrobe. You can also find copies of Tonari Gumi’s best-selling Japanese cookbook, our durable and re-usable eco-bags, and the fashionable Tonari Gumi t-shirts available for sale. This year, we also have tickets on sale for Tonari Gumi’s 14th Annual Premium Sake Tasting Night.008 As we nearly always sell out, this is your chance to get an early-bird discount and make sure that you have your tickets for this not-to-be-missed event. 013Make sure that you come to this year’s Powell Street Festival and while there, get your food and gift items at the Tonari Gumi food booth and Community Craft Tent. See you there!

All Aboard for a Vancouver Harbour Cruise!

FullSizeRender (2)On July 23rd some 10 Tonari Gumi seniors and two staff members were able to gather for an enjoyable cruise around Vancouver Harbour.  The weather was at its Vancouver best with largely clear blue skies and a slight breeze to make the experience even more memorable.  After what had been a very hot July, the temperature and weather was ideal for our seniors.

Several commented that they had always wanted to take this cruise but hadn’t wanted to do it alone.  IMG_0173 (2)Another said that while she had been on a similar cruise before it was a special treat to be able to do it with other seniors and for the staff to be available to help them when needed.

After the cruise, everyone stopped at the nearby Rio Restaurant which is an all-you-can-eat Brazilian grill.FullSizeRender (8)  While the fresh salads were much enjoyed, the younger ones were surprised at the healthy appetites of their seniors.  Grilled beef, chicken, pork and sausages were freely available and our seniors did their best to get good value for their money.

It’s great to be able to get out and to enjoy the ocean breezes, but it’s even better to be able to do it with friends and those whom you feel comfortable.  Many thanks to Atsuko Ichijo for organizing this outing and Utako Ueki for helping with the transport for everyone who participated.FullSizeRender (10) FullSizeRender (5)

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