Japan and FSM celebrate Japan week with ribbon cuttings and other celebrations

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By Bill Jaynes
The Kaselehlie Press
February 18, 2017
Pohnpei, FSM—This week the Embassy of Japan to the FSM celebrated Japan week in the FSM with a variety of events including two celebrations of recently completed projects in Pohnpei that were funded by the government of Japan. The week culminated with the 5th Japan Festival held this year for the second time at the Our Lady of Mercy Catholic School gymnasium that the Japanese government provided the funds to build.
On Thursday, February 16, Ambassador Ryoiche Horie joined college and government officials for the ribbon cutting ceremony at the College of Micronesia. The grass has grown in on the soccer field that the Japanese government funded during the 8th Micro Games in Pohnpei in 2014 and it is now ready for use. The project for prevention of non-communicable diseases provided $120,569 for the development of the field under the Grant Assistance for Grass-roots Human Security Projects. The field will be open to local residents for sporting purposes.


After the ribbon cutting, an exhibition soccer match was held. Ambassador Horie kicked out the ceremonial first ball.
That evening, began a two day run of Japanese movies at the Pohnpei Center Cinemas that were very well attended.
On Friday, February 17, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held for a new preschool building for the United Church of Christ, also funded under the Grant Assistance Grassroots Human Security Projects funded by the Japanese government. “The objectives of the project are to promote children’s welfare and to improve the environment for early childhood education through expansion of a preschool building,” a Japanese spokesperson said.japan 03
In his address, Ambassador Horie emphasized Japan’s support of the people of the FSM and expressed “his delight” at the completion of the new and impressive building. He said that he hoped that the children who will support the FSM’s future would grow up well in the new building.
According to a press release, FSM founding father, the Reverend Bethwel Henry and Samson Pretrick, Deputy Secretary of the FSM’s Department of Foreign Affairs also spoke saying that they both thought the new project would “enhance the education and the bright future for the preschool students.
The building was built by ABCOR construction for a cost of $176,277.
Beginning at 12:30 on Saturday afternoon, the Japan Week celebration culminated with the Japan Festival at OLMCHS gym in Kolonia.
Mika Okamura and Mio Kamiyanagi served as masters of ceremonies for what turned out to be yet another stellar program put on by the Japanese Embassy for Japan week.
It began with students of Pohnpei Catholic School performing Taiso exercise which they do every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings on their campus. On the sideline, Ambassador Horie and other Japan residents of Japan joined the students in their exercise routine.
Kosrae citizens residing in Pohnpei sang a song students in Kosrae had written in the Japanese language translated roughly as “never give up”. They also performed traditional Kosraen songs and dances and demonstrations of traditional chants that they believe helped them to lift the heavy loads required for what is now the Lelu ruins, similar to the Nan Madol World Heritage site.

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Nett Elementary School followed with a stunning rendition of a Japanese song “Until the World is One” featuring tear jerking vocal performances by the students along with recorder, melodica, and hand bells. I personally had a hard time holding back tears during their performance, it was so amazing.
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Their performance was followed by a thrilling performance by students of Kolonia Elementary School. They performed a dramatic skit followed by an acrobatic dance performance.
After the performance closed, booths were opened where those present could play with traditional Japanese toys, learn to do origami (Japanese paper folding), take photos in traditional Japanese dress, or have their names or other words written in Japanese calligraphy.