For Immediate Release
February 26, 2019
Japanese community concerned with Victoria’s cherry tree removal
Victoria – The Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society is worried the City of Victoria’s urban forest plan could threaten the future of the culturally and historically significant cherry trees lining many streets in Victoria and beloved by the entire community.
Victoria’s first blossoming cherry trees were purchased and donated by the Japanese community more than eight decades ago after their float won first place and $300 in prize money in the Victoria’s 75th anniversary parade in 1937.
“It’s disappointing that City Hall has failed to consult with Victoria’s Japanese community and the wider community about council’s plans that could uproot history,” said VNCS President Tsugio Kurushima. “It’s ironic that the history of Victoria’s cherry trees has been ignored at the same time VNCS is working with the Township of Esquimalt to right the historical wrong of the destruction of the Japanese tea house during the Second World War.”
Kurushima pointed out the cherry trees were selected by Victoria’s parks superintendent in the 1930s because native trees like firs and maples were buckling sidewalks. Cherry trees are also easier to maintain, require less watering, and prove hardier than many native trees.
“Sakura, or cherry blossoms, are a sign spring has arrived in Victoria and so many people love to celebrate the beauty they bring to our community,” Kurushima added. “For more than 80 years these trees have survived and thrived, and it’s clear that they can continue to spark joy for people many more decades.”
Kurushima noted that the points being made that climate change and drought resistance being the reasons to replace cherry trees has been debunked by University of Victoria forest biologist Dr. Patrick von Aderkas.
“Rather than climate change, it’s old age that is impacting the health of some of these 80-year-old trees. In fact, that time span is an incredible accomplishment for an ornamental tree,” Dr. von Aderkas said. “The reality of these cherry trees is the exact opposite of claims being made – they have an excellent adaptation in the face of climate change due to the superior water-seeking abilities of their roots. They are tough urban trees that are low on maintenance.”
Kurushima encouraged Victoria residents who share the Japanese community’s love of the cherry trees and their annual blossoming to share their concerns directly with the mayor and city councillors.
Tsugio Kurushima, President, Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society
2019 MOCHI-TSUKI KAI and POTLUCK DINNER
Presented by the Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society, the Japanese Friendship Society and the Victoria Japanese Heritage Language School Society
Sunday, January 20, 2019
Esquimalt Rec Centre
2:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
MEMBERS ONLY EVENT
Please join us for a potluck dinner, entertainment and interactive participation which includes mochi-pounding and traditional games to celebrate this New Year.
As this is a popular community event for all ages, there are a few guidelines that will be in place:
- Attendees must be Active Members of the Host Organizations
- Admission with a Main Course Dish to share: Please bring sufficient food to feed your family plus 2 (two) other people.
- As well, please LABEL your serving dish and utensils with your name and your food item with an ingredient list.
Drinks and Dessert will be provided for guests.
Fudo Gift Certificates available on Go-Bid
As a part of the Japanese Cultural Falll Fair (coming up in October), select items are being auctioned via Go Bid.
We currently have gift certificates from Fudo…Victoria’s newest sushi bar available for bidding.
To visit Go-Bid and make your own bid click here: http://www.gobid.ca/auction/882
The auction is active right now…until August 24th! Please bid and share the link with others so more folks know about it too.
VNCS Membership Renewal
It’s a small amount, but collectively it helps pay for the operation of the VNCS.
We were hoping to have the online membership payment facility available by now, but it is taking a bit longer so you will have to pay the old way by writing a cheque payable to VNCS and mailing it to:
Membership – Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society
4401 Tremblay Drive
Victoria BC, V8N 4W6
If you are new to the VNCS then please include a membership form which can be obtained at http://www.vncs.ca/resources/VNCS_Membership_Brochure.pdf.
30th Anniversary Celebration of Sister Cities
May 16th to May 19th 2015
Victoria, Canada & Morioka, Japan
To Celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the twinning of our Cities, our
friends from Morioka are coming to Victoria.
Invitation to Three Events:
Welcome our visitors from Morioka when they arrive!
When – Saturday May 16th, 2015 at 4:00 pm
Where Hotel Grand Pacific on Belleville Street
Join our celebration reception on Sunday evening.
When – Sunday May 17th, 2015, 6 to 8:00 pm.
Where – Hotel Grand Pacific
Price $ 75.00 per person on Belleville Street
(Price includes appetizers, beer or wine, and non-alcoholic beverages)
Special Entertainment includes Miss Misaki Usuzawa
Misaki is an 18 year old Japanese folk singer from Ootsuchi, an area in Iwate
Prefecture close to Morioka that suffered serious damage in the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011.
Join us for the Bell of Friendship Ceremony (30th Anniversary)
When – Tuesday, May 19th, 2015, 8:30AM
Where – Centennial Park, Victoria Inner Harbour
(Located off Belleville Street between Admirals Hotel & Laurel Point Inn)
If you plan on attending, RSVP to
Bill McCreadie at firstname.lastname@example.org
VICTORIA-MORIOKA FRIENDSHIP SOCIETY
#300 – 818 Douglas Street, Victoria, B.C. V8W 2B6
Phone (250) 388-7043 Fax (250) 388-7501
Email – email@example.com
Some of the highlights from previous anniversaries include:
1985 (Beginning): Matching monuments erected in Victoria (along Dallas Road) and Morioka (in Iwate Park) to dedicate the sister city relationship).
1990 (5th): Azumaya erected along the sea well, near Laurel Point, in Victoria
1995 (10th): Native Totem Pole erected in Morioka, in Iwate Park
2000 (15th): Victoria – Morioka Friendship Clock installed on the tower of the Tourist Information Centre in downtown Victoria
2005 (20th): Dr. Inazo Nitobe Memorial Garden constructed at the Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria, BC
2010 (25th): Victoria-Morioka Mural, a joint project with the Creative Peace Mural Society, constructed in Victoria & Morioka, and donated to City of Morioka.
2015 (30th): Friendship Bell, a gift from Morioka, to be unveiled in Victoria (on Tues., May 19th)
Recruitment for the 2014 Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme is currently underway. For Canadian citizens, the application forms and guide are available online at jetprogramme.ca. The deadline to apply is November 29, 2013.
The JET Programme offers a minimum, one-year opportunity to experience Japan as an Assistant Language Teacher (ALT) or Coordinator for International Relations (CIR) through an official Government of Japan program. ALTs work alongside Japanese teachers of English in the public school system, while CIRs are employed in local government offices. Participants gain valuable overseas work experience, learn about Japanese culture, and meet participants from around the world, while contributing to language education and international understanding.
Further information about the JET Programme can be found on the Consulate General of Japan’s website: http://www.vancouver.ca.emb-japan.go.jp/en/jet/overview.htm. In general, applicants are required to hold a bachelor’s degree (any discipline) by July 2014 and be a Canadian citizen, to apply through the Embassy of Japan in Canada. As the JET Programme involves 40 countries, non-Canadians can follow the link on our website as to how to apply as a citizen of another country. If their home country is listed, they can click on the country to find out how to apply through the Embassy of Japan in that country. (Available positions and eligibility requirements may differ.)
We hope you will consider forwarding this message to your friends, colleagues or others who might be interested in this opportunity to live and work in Japan. Thank you again for supporting our program.
Culture and Information Assistant
Consulate General of Japan
900-1177 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC V6E 2K9