▲ Premises covered with moss phlox in full bloom
This is a report from the north island of Hokkaido. Nice to meet you all!! I’m Saito, of the General Affairs Department at Hokkaido Sumiden Precision Co., Ltd. (^o^)
We are well into spring, and summer is just around the corner, but it still gets chilly here every once in a while.
But today I bring you some “hot” news.
On May 22 (Sun), we held an annual Moss Phlox Festival, jointly with our neighboring company, Hokkaido Electric Co., Ltd. This event was started in 1990 to celebrate our 10th anniversary and express our gratitude to the local communities. This year marked the festival’s 21st anniversary. !(^^)!
About 50,000 moss phlox plants are planted on the premises. This year blossoming was delayed due to the long cold spell, and on the day of the festival, the moss phlox was 70% in bloom. It was a little chilly at the beginning, but (thanks to my magical power to bring good weather!?) around 11 o’clock the sun peeked out from behind the clouds and the temperature warmed up, bringing perfect weather for the festival.
The festival attracted over 1,500 visitors, and the parking lot was overflowing—a so-called full house. A number of food stalls were set up, offering yakitori (skewed grilled chicken), jingiskan (Mongolian mutton barbecue, one of Hokkaido’s local specialties), takoyaki (octopus dumplings) and fried potatoes, satisfying visitors’ palates. I myself enjoyed beer. (^^)
The festival opened with a taiko drum performance by kids from Hokkai Warabe Taiko. The dynamic and exciting sounds of taiko drums resounded throughout the venue.
Yosakoi Dance Team fascinated the audience with their energetic yet graceful dance performances. Clouds of dust kicked up by the stomping feet of the dancers were impressive.
▲ Members of Hokkai Warabe Taiko
▲ Sunagawa Emishi members dancing the Yosakoi dance
▲ Brass band performance by junior high school students from Naie Town
The dance was followed by a brass band performance by junior high school students from Naie Town. The brass band played seven pieces of music, mainly traditional Japanese music. Some of the music was accompanied by dancing by new students. When I heard enthusiastic chants for an encore, I felt the warmth of the local residents, and I was very happy to see junior high students playing happily in response to the audience’s request.
In addition to dance and musical performances, various fun events were held where visitors could participate. One such event was a customary rice cake throwing. Raffle tickets were put in each rice cake sack for some special prizes, including luxury items and moss phlox seedlings.
So men and women were all desperate to catch rice cakes thrown down from the stage.
▲ Rice cake throwers on stage
▲ From left: President Chudo, Senior Managing Director Mori, and Mr. Kita, Mayor of Naie Town
Special events for children were held as well, including a Janken tournament and a treasure-hunting game. The prize for the winner of the treasure-hunting was, believe it or not, a mobile game console.
Hearing that the prize would be a popular game console, children got excited. Their exuberant shouts of “Wow!!!” and “That’s cool!” echoed around the venue.
Trying to get a prize, children were frantically running around the venue in search of hidden treasures. A desperate look on their faces scared me. (^ ^ ;
After the treasure-hunting game, the winning child was awarded a mobile game console. He was jubilant!!! All other children were presented with a bag of snacks for their participation.
When they received the present and said thank you, they had big, innocent smiles on their faces. (#^.^#)
The festival culminated with an exciting lottery. This year, the first prize was a 32-inch liquid crystal television and a Blu-ray player. In all, over 100 wonderful prizes were given away, including a mobile game console, a cyclone vacuum cleaner and a folding bicycle.
Mr. Ushijima, Executive Officer (and Hardmetal Division General Manager) of Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd., came a long way to participate in our festival, and presented a travel voucher as the Sumitomo Electric Hardmetal Prize. m(_ _)m
▲ Hardmetal Division General Manager Ushijima drawing lots for the Sumitomo Electric Hardmetal Prize
▲ President Chudo presenting the Grand Prize to the winner of the lucky draw
The festival closed at 2:00 pm. This year’s festival was also a great success, attended by many local residents. People who drew a prize in the lottery, people enjoying with their families, guys who got drunk with beer... everyone looked happy and were having fun. It was such a joy to interact with local residents and see their bright smiles. By seeing many happy smiles, I felt that we could contribute to the local community, even if just a little.
We look forward to seeing the same smiling faces again next spring.
The Great Tohoku Earthquake, which struck on March 11, has caused unprecedented damage to Japan; it will take a long time for Japan to get back on its feet. Immediately after the earthquake, our company conducted a donation campaign, raising a total of 330,655 yen from employees. A matching amount was donated by the company. These donations were sent in early April for relief and recovery efforts in the affected regions.
▲ Donating receipts from sales of food and drink tickets (935,062 yen) to the Social Welfare Council
In the planning meeting for this year’s moss phlox festival, the Executive Committee members discussed “what we can do now” and decided to donate all receipts from food and drink sales during the festival. We at Hokkaido Sumiden Precision extend our heartfelt sympathies to all those affected by the earthquake and tsunami, and pray for quick recovery of all the affected areas and people.