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)

Senior Tech2Go Update!




Tonari Gumi is reaching out to help Japanese Canadian seniors throughout the Lower Mainland learn how to use the popular tablet computers through its new “Senior Tech2Go” (Technology to Go) program. Under this program seniors (55+) are trained to help other seniors to use tablet computers. Senior volunteers will learn how to teach others to connect to the internet, take pictures, send and receive emails.

A log of our activities and information on our tablet classes are available at

Tech2Go-1Senior Tech2Go Volunteer Workshops

We held our first Tech2Go volunteer workshops at Tonari Gumi on May 27 – June 10 (4times). We had a total of eight seniors who participated, learning the basics usage of the tablet (photography, mail sending and receiving, app downloads, printer settings, etc.).

Our participants appeared to have had a really fun time at the workshop! Most of them already knew the basics of tablet use, but we reviewed each step to bring them all up to speed. All of them indicated that they had Tech2Go-2learned new things in the workshops! After the workshops, the participants will become Senior Tech2go volunteer teachers and assistants to share their knowledge. Teaching others is a good form of brain training. If you have a tablet, are using it, and are willing to learn more, you are exactly who we need! We need senior volunteers who are willing to help others!

Our next Senior Tech2Go volunteer workshops are going to held at Nikkei Place in Burnaby, and at the Steveston Community Center in Steveston.

Tech2Go-3In Burnaby:
Place:the Nikkei Home

Date&time:July 7, 14, 21, 27(Tuesdays, 4-times)2:00pm – 3:30pm (1.5hours)

In Richmond:
Place : Steveston Community Center

Date:August 19, 26 (Wendsday, 2-times) 9:30pm – 11:30am (2 hours)

After the workshops, each community center will be able to hold a tablet class or a tablet club. If you want to learn more about how to use a tablet and are willing to teach other fellow seniors, this is your chance! Please check for updates on our website

Anyone interested in building on their own basic skills on using either an Android tablet or an Apple iPad and who are willing to help, please contact Izumi at (604) 687-2172 or e-mail

This program is partially funded by the Government of Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors Program.

New Faces at Tonari Gumi!

Many of you have probably noticed some new faces among Tonari Gumi’s staff over the past couple of months, but haven’t introduced them to everyone. For that, we apologize and hope to make amends for this oversight.

DSC_0385First, we should introduce Kumi Kakinuma who is our new Office Administrative Assistant, who in March of this year, replaced our long-time office assistant, Junko Takashima. Originally, Kumi comes from Chiba Prefecture but has lived in Canada for some 26 years. She originally volunteered for Tonari Gumi helping to prepare meals for the seniors at Cooper Place many years ago, but now that her children have more or less grown up, she has decided to come back to Tonari Gumi as a staff member. Her hobbies include tennis, circuit training, yoga, etc. Kumi is motivated and loves to interact with the seniors. Make sure that you say hi the next time you come by the office.

Second, Izumi Tagawa Kafetzis is our newest staff member, having started at Tonari Gumi in April of this year, to serve as a part-time coordinator for Tonari Gumi’s new “Senior Tech2Go Program” where Izumi is teaching seniors to help other seniors to use tablet computers.DSC_0384 Izumi is already known to many within Tonari Gumi as she has been teaching seniors how to use tablet computer as a volunteer. Now, she is going to be able to take that teaching to another level as a staff member. Izumi is from Mie Prefecture and has been in Canada since 2004. She loves working with our seniors and will now have a chance to work with seniors in other parts of the Japanese Canadian community as the “Senior Tech2Go Program” expands to Nikkei Place and the Steveston Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre later this year.

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