As evening set in, it did not take long for Daimyo’s Roots Lounge to swell with eager excitement and anticipation as members of Fukuoka’s international business community arrived for the 10th annual Kokusai Shinnenkai.
With welcoming drinks in hand, Luis Matos kicked off the Shinnenkai by introducing the audience to Mr. Kimota Yuichiro, CEO of Kyodai Remittance, the evening's main speaker. Recognizing Fukuoka's Oyafuko-dori as the hub of the international community in Kyushu, Mr. Kimota announced his company will open new offices in Fukuoka in March to add to their growing nationwide network. Kyodai Remittance provides discounted transaction services for members of the foreign community who wish to send money to family and friends back in their respective home countries. With foreign nationals from 14 nations on hand, he was undoubtedly speaking to an attentive audience. Mr. Kimoto explained the details of his service fluently in English, Spanish and Portuguese.
Other prominent guests included officials from Fukuoka City, a delegation from John Robert Powers group along with local businesses of all sizes and representing many market segments. A delegation from Scrum Japan, who participated in the event for the first time, was particularly successful while actively networking with many guests, cementing positive future business relations.
As is the tradition of the event, all the excellent speakers were concise with their concluding comments. Soon the crowd was given cups of “Aojiro”, the widely popular grass green health drink. Mr. Momota, Chairman of Scrum Japan confidently took the mic in one hand and with the green elixir in the other proclaimed; "A strong economy is worth little if you are unable to count on good health to enjoy it." Kampai! echoed through the room in unanimous agreement.
The sound of glasses clinking cheerfully echoed in the room and the guests headed to the inviting hot buffet. Groups of friends and colleague posed for photos and enthusiastically conversed. The New Year had surely arrived for this annual gathering with all its excitement, well wishes and renewed hope for the future.
Luis Matos took the stage to say words of thanks to longtime supporter and friend Mr. Murahashi who will retire from his post as Secretary General of Fukuoka’s Japan-America Society in the coming year. As Mr. Murahashi took a bow at center stage, Luis presented him with an impressive bouquet of flowers in sincere appreciation for his long-time friendship and his many contributions to this annual event.
As the clock struck half past eight, the MC expressed sincere appreciation on behalf of the FEPC, to supporters and guests of the Kokusai Shinnenkai for their long and mutually fruitful relationship. As the lights turned up in the famed Roots Lounge, it was time for everyone to reunite at a nearby popular lounge for extended conversation and enjoyment.