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It is already in the middle of September, and another season of active recruiting students for the Japan Adventure has begun. The next year's program will be the twentieth year, and sixteen students and two supervisors will participate in the program. It will not be a big surprise to see that some of the next year's students were born after this program started in 1982.
Twenty long years! Indeed, we have come a long way. During the past nineteen years four hundred sixteen students and over thirty faculty members have participated in the Japan Adventure program. For the Japan Horizon program, from 1988 through 1995, one hundred fifty six students and fifteen faculty advisors successfully completed the program. During these long years, I have witnessed many of your successful accomplishments in schools, professional careers, and also in family life. Many have become successful businesspersons, teachers, lawyers, school administrators, as well as parents. Unfortunately, however, we also had our share of sadness, the death of Mr. Sigematsu, a former president of BKC and KFW, and the deaths of four alumni, two former students and two faculty advisors.
I must say that I have learned a great deal from working closely with you and the faculty advisors under various circumstances. I have been fortunate to have received strong support from the top administrators at LCC, Keihan, BKC, and KFW. I have gone through four LCC presidents; four Keihan presidents; three BKC presidents; and two KFW presidents. You may say that I have survived fairly well in the program for nineteen years.
Today, I am very glad to report to you that the Japan Adventure program remains healthy and that it is progressing well. Let me give you some information on the current status of LCC, Keihan, Biwako Kisen, Keihan Fishrman's Wharf, Otsu City, and Sakaide City. LCC has been a fine educational institution with strong commitment to international education. For a brief period last spring, the college had gone through a difficult time surrounding the abrupt resignation of president Anderton. He resigned in May, after serving for only eleven months. The Board appointed Ms. Paula Cunningham as an interim president. Ms. Cunnighhan was a 1988 Japan Adventure faculty advisor and has been a strong supporter of our program.
My office, the international programs office, is always busy. I am supervising three areas of programs: student study abroad programs, including the Japan Adventure; exchange programs with our sister colleges; and ESL program for international students. Five years ago, we opened English Language and Culture Center (ELCC) to offer intensive English programs to international students. We started the ELCC program with four Japanese students and one part-time faculty member. Today, we have over eighty students enrolled, and seven part-time instructors are teaching. Dr. Mieko Philip has been my right hand person in our office, and Ms. Donna Clingersmith (a 1983 Japan Adventure alumna) works in our office as the lead support staff.
Not much change has taken place at Keihan. Mr. Miyashita is still the chairman and Dr. Kimba is the president. Our good friends Mr. Takai and Mr. Nishimura are no longer the members of the Board of Directors, the powerful governing body at Keihan. Mr. Takai is president of Kyoto Tower and Hotel, and Mr. Nishimura is president of Keihan Bus Co. Mr. Shimizu, a former executive director of Biwako Hotel when the Japan Adventure started in 1982, has been an influential member of the Board. Unfortunately to us, he is being on his way out of the Board. Mr. Hasegawa, a former president of BKC and Hotel Keihan Kyoto, retired from Keihan last year.
At Biwako Kisen, Mr. Nakano has been the president since 1996, who succeeded Mr. Hasegawa. His chief lieutenants are two executive directors, Mr. Iwasada and Mr. Miyake. Both of them are "Keihanmen," in other words, they are from the Keihan HQ in Osaka. Mr. Kenzo Yamamoto with whom the 1982 and 83 alimni worked closely was promoted to an executive director in June this year. With this promotion he hit the apex of the BKC organization for the "non-Keihanmen." This is the highest position the "non-Keihanmen" can reach at BKC. There is no higher place to go for them. Mr. Morita, whom all of the recent years' students know well, was promoted to president of Biwako Kisen Taxi Co last year, and was again promoted this year to assume the presidency of Biwako Kisen Bus Co. This bus company has been in a serious financial difficulty for many years with little prospect for a quick revival. Still, Mr. Morita shows his rare smiles with his three hats on: two presidencies and director of General Affairs Section of BKC. Mr. Kawato was promoted one rank higher this year and transferred to Biwako Kisen Restaurant Co. as a director. He is no longer associated with the business operation of the Michigan. Mr. Matsumoto remains the same, but he is very happy.
Mayor Yamada of Otsu, who was the mayor when we started our program in 1983, was re-elected as the mayor in May this year. This is his 6th term as the mayor, and he is 78 years old. As you know, he has been a strong supporter of our program.
Keihan Fisherman's Wharf has been hit hard in its business for many years and is still facing an uphill battle. Under the direct supervision of the Keihan HQ and the leadership of Mr. Masuda, president of KFW, the company has gone through an extensive restructuring in its organization and business. Mr. Akeda, now a father of two or three(?), is still at KFW. Our good old friend Mr. Hibi is in good health and enjoying his busy life as CEO of a small but prosperous real estate managing firm in Kobe.
We maintain periodic contacts with the city hall of Skaide for our student exchange program. Mr. Matsuura is still in the mayor's office, and our contact person is Mr. Tsutsui whom you, all the Horizon alumni, know well. This summer was our turn to send a group of students to Sakaide for a short-term visit, but our recruitment effort ended in a failure. I felt profoundly embarrassed.
Now, let me turn to the 20th anniversary events in Otsu next year. In
past few months, the representatives of BKC and I have been involved in
planning the ceremonial activities for the anniversary in Otsu. . The
for the official ceremony in Otsu is set for Thursday, May 18, 2001, as
shown in the tentative itinerary below. We would also like to have
ceremonial event in Lansing some time in September or October next
No definite date has been set for this in Lansing.
Airlines - There are a variety of discount airfares available to us. You should search for the most appropriate fare for you via the Internet or a travel agency. For those who will leave from Lansing/Detroit, we may try to organize a group and negotiate the fare with the airlines.
In-country transportation - You have to take a train or an airport bus from Osaka Kansai airport to Otsu. I would recommend the train "Haruka" from the airport to Kyoto and a JR train from Kyoto to Otsu. The fare is about $30 one way. We will probably charter a bus from Kansai airport to Otsu on May 16, leaving at about 5:30pm. If you can make it, you will be welcome to use this bus for $15.
If you plan to travel extensively while in Japan, I would suggest that you purchase a JR pass that is good for seven consecutive days, or for two weeks, with unlimited ride on any JR train, not Keihan. The JR trains include Shinkansen, both local and express "Hikari" but not including super express "Nozomi." It costs about $250 for the one-week pass. To give you some estimates:
Biwako Hotel - Old Biwako Hotel in Yanagasaki is no longer in existence. The old edifice with blue bronze top is still standing, but all other part of the hotel was demolished. I think, the City of Otsu purchased the land to build a park or something. A new modern luxurious Biwako Hotel opened two years ago in Hamaotsu, in the area they used to call the Keihan Lake Center. You remember Otsu Bowl, swimming pool, gift shops, and our favorite Joyful restaurant. They are all gone. The room charges at Biwako Hotel at 20% discount are over $100 per person for a double occupancy and over $70 per person for a triple occupancy. These charges include a very good buffet breakfast. The tax is extra.
Otsu Prince Hotel- A thirty plus story high five-star hotel in Otsu. It is much fancier than Biwako Hotel. If you can afford it, you will certainly enjoy staying there. Sorry, but I have not checked what it cost to stay there.
Business hotels- There are several business hotels in Otsu and many in Kyoto. The room charges at these business hotels range from 6,000 yen to 8,000 yen for a single occupancy.
Michigan House- A limited number of rooms will be available for our use. We are going to ask the next year's Japan Adventure students and supervisors to share their rooms with you for four or five days. I am sure that they will cooperate with us. In doing so, we will be able to allocate the rooms as follows:
For the former faculty advisors: Three units, each has two rooms- three couples. The faculty room - one couple. For the former students: Two units, each has two rooms - two couples or four people. Two supervisors' rooms - two couples or four people Eight students' rooms - More than ten people It will be extremely tight, but we can all endure it for several days. To rent bedding and pay for the utilities, we will charge $10 per person a night. The room reservation in Michigan House will be accepted only through my office on a first come-first served basis. You will not get rooms reserved in Michigan House through any other channel. Home stay- You may arrange your own home stays through your friends in Japan. If you need an assistance from us, we will certainly try to find a family for you.
Enclosed you find a preliminary survey form. If you wish to make this trip to Otsu, please fill it out and send it back to my office:
If you write a personal note to me, in addition to the survey form, please write my name on the envelope so that it will not be opened by others. If you like to send me a note by e-mail, please do so. My e-mail address is: email@example.com
Looking forward to hearing from you soon
Tai Sung Kim