On the first Sunday of every April, we hold the Inari Festival at all our works in Japan, celebrating the anniversary of our founding. This year, the first Sunday fell on April 7, and I attended the ceremony held at the Itami Works. I guess it is usual that cherry trees have already shed their blossoms around this time every year. But strangely, I was able to attend the ceremony this year again in fine weather and with excellent, full blooms, making the event even more impressive. I was probably very lucky.
By the way, I hear that the leaves of many cherry trees contain the toxic substance coumarin. When such leaves fall to the ground on rainy days, the moderate toxicity spreads there, preventing weeds from growing. In fact, there are few weeds under cherry trees.
We can say that cherry trees have their own strategy to survive for many years. Although I don't mean to say that we need the toxicity, we would like to be like cherry trees and establish a strategy to continue operating for many more generations to come.
On the day of the event, from 9:00 a.m., a Shinto ritual was held at Takakura Inari Shinto Shrine, located at the Itami Works. It was attended by board members and managers working at the works, labor union members and staff members from subcontracting companies. A Shinto priest read aloud a prayer in hopes for the further prosperity of Sumitomo Electric and the safety of all our staff members.
After the Shinto ritual, I strolled around the Itami Works, where a wide variety of events were being held that day, such as a charity bazaar and refreshment booths, an exhibition of fire engines to raise public awareness of disaster prevention, musical performances by the wind-instrument music club of the local Itami City Nishi Junior High School and by the Itami Drum Association, and a cheerleading performance by children. All of these served as a very good opportunity for me to interact with local communities and employees' families.