2017 Kokusai Shinnenkai
"Thirteen" was full of fortune for the Foreign Entrepreneur Promotion Committee as it held its thirteenth annual Kokusai Shinenkai on January 27th at restaurant and bar OneDrop in Fukuoka’s stylish Daimyo district.
After a soft commencement, allowing early guests to mingle and greet, the MC introduced the honored guest Mr. Steven Liew and his wife Devin who explained through a video assisted presentation just how they came to know about, visit and resettle in Fukuoka. The power couple have wasted no time in finding accommodation, registering a company and increasing their network of people, “friends and startups”. They look to both seek out and provide opportunities in a city that is fertile ground for young energetic start ups, Liew Said.
Toast honors belonged to the diplomats this year. Specifically Mr. Ian Brazier of the Australian Consulate (and Austrade) in Fukuoka. Reassigned from Sapporo, Mr. Brazier is no stranger to Japan, having studied in Tokyo & worked in Nagoya before participating in relief operations for Fukushima organized through the Australian embassy. Ian closed his bilingual introduction by raising a glass to the audience and uttering a humble “kampai”.
That was enough to set the room a buzz with activity as guests turned to each other to clink glasses and begin the informal part of the night.
With the evening’s formalities concluded and the crowd eager to converse, the room filled with laughter and the echo of 16 languages representing all corners of the world and making up the fabric of Fukuoka’s international business community. Also evident was a particular calm as people took real time to converse and exchange ideas. An air of professionalism was also prevalent accented by the number of formal wear donned by both men and women. The crowd flowed to and from the front and back of the long venue. Some stopping to taste samples of waffles and imported beer while making their way to the main buffet where restaurant staff were busy bringing and replacing the night's culinary selections.
Always too short a time, the MC announced the end of the event and lead the guests in joyous applause to close the event for 2017.