Tonari Gumi’s New Executive Director and Director of Development

As a busy 2015 draws to a close, we say farewell and happy retirement to David Iwaasa. We deeply thank David for his six years of tremendous hard work and wish him well in his next adventure. Finding a successor for such a key person is not easy, but Tonari Gumi has been fortunate to find a new leader who has the right experience and most importantly, the passion for Tonari Gumi, to take us to the next level.

Les Fugeta

Les Fugeta

The Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Les Fugeta will join us as the new Executive Director, starting November 1. And, we are equally excited to welcome Josh Coward as the Director of Fundraising, a new role that will help us create a strategy and structure to the critical area of fundraising.

This new structure is possible only because both of these fine candidates are working part time with specific responsibilities. Les will use his management skills to modernize how Tonari Gumi operates so that we can maximize our wonderful centre. You may remember him as a previous Director or from when he helped with the building renovations.

Josh Coward

Josh Coward

Josh will bring his expertise and experience in the Nikkei community to establish a set of fundraising programs that will boost Tonari Gumi towards financial independence.

This organizational structure is new for Tonari Gumi, but we feel it is the right arrangement for this point in time. In its 40 year history, Tonari Gumi has always demonstrated its adaptability and resilience. Indeed, Tonari Gumi has become a pioneer in providing innovative programs to address a wider range of needs for a wider range of people. With the skills that Les and Josh each bring, we are excited about the potential for Tonari Gumi to become even stronger. We are confident that Tonari Gumi’s evolution is on the right path, and we look forward to the exciting things to come.

I hope all of our members and supporters will join us in warmly welcoming Les and Josh to the team. They are eager to meet everyone and excited to help Tonari Gumi in its mission to help the community. If you have questions or suggestions for Les or Josh, or for the Board, please contact Tonari Gumi at any time.

On behalf of the Tonari Gumi Board of Directors,

K.C. Sato
Chair

Tonari Gumi’s 14th Annual Premium Sake Tasting Night & Silent Auction Another Success!

IMG_0673On Saturday, October 10, 2015, some 300 sake aficionados gathered in the beautiful grand ballroom of the Coast Coal Harbour Hotel at 1180 West Hastings to enjoy another evening of sake, plum wines, delicious appetizers and an amazing silent auction.  Hosted by the charming Margaret Gallagher from CBC Radio, the event enveloped its participants into a work of Japanese sake, from the soothing sounds of the koto played by kimono clad musicians during the exclusive VIP tasting period to the jarring beat of the taiko drums as the main event began, this was an event to be remembered.    Thanks to the IMG_0778cooperation of the Sake Association of BC and the 13 different sake distributors and sake producers who presented their wares at this event, this was a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn about and taste nearly 60 different sakes and plum wines. In addition, award winning restaurants and food suppliers such as Azuma Foods, Forage, Hapa Izakaya, Minami and Octopus Gardens provided an array of tasty appetizers to accompany the many sake offerings.  We wish to thank the Sake Association of BC, the Coast Coal Harbour Hotel,  Deputy Consul General of Japan Mr. Akira Uchida, Ms. Margaret Gallagher, Ms. Yuriko Nariya & Ms. Komoda, the senior members of Chibi Taiko,  Tetsuomi and our many sponsors, donors and volunteers for everything they have done to make this event a success.

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Tonari Gumi’s Fall Bazaar on Saturday, November 7th!

DSCF3629If you crave authentic Japanese food (especially  those items you are not likely to find at Japanese restaurants) – like a wide variety of different kinds of tsukemono (such as fukujinzuke and takuan), mochi manju and yaki manju, sakara mochi, hako-zushi, matsutake tsukudani, various baked goods, etc. or want to find used Japanese decorator items or used kimono’s, Tonari Gumi’s Annual Fall Bazaar is the event for you.  We usually have people lined up around the block waiting to come in to make their annual purchases.DSC_0268

Date:  Saturday, November 7th

Time:  11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Place:  Tonari Gumi at 42 West 8th Avenue, Vancouver

Don’t miss out on this amazing event.  See you there!

P.S. If you have old kimono or Japanese items collecting dust at home, why not donate these items to Tonari Gumi?  We can find good homes for these items while earning much needed funds for our programs and services to help the isolated and vulnerable in our community.  Call us at (604) 687-2172 ext. 101.

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