NEXT MEETING: September 4, 2015
Nobuhiro Watanabe, Deputy Consul General at the Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco, will speak to Richmond Rotary about Japan-California relations.
Deputy Consul General Watanabe joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1982 and has been involved in the foreign service for nearly thirty years. His assignments overseas have included postings in Australia, India, Austria, and the Philippines. His domestic assignments in Tokyo have included work at the Treaties Bureau and the Economic Affairs Bureau.
Prior to moving to San Francisco in November 2012, Mr. Watanabe’s work focused mainly on international trade law (Economic Partnership Agreements and the World Trade Organization) with the Economic Affairs Bureau of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs where he served for about ten years, except for a period of overseas assignment in the Philippines.
- Mark your calendars for a BARSHEEP Chili Cook-Off on October 24. The San Pablo Rotary Club is sponsoring. More info to follow.
- Alan Blavins reminded everyone about his recent email and the flyer describing a Rotary West Africa Project Fair (click on link) coming up in November 2015. Note that polio eradication activities are included. Anyone interested should sign up according to instructions in the flyer.
- Rotary Foundation Day at the Vallejo Six Flags Theme Park will be October 3. Tickets are $40 each. The purchase of four tickets includes free parking. Talk with Alan Baer for more information.
- Joe Bagley said he spoke with Charlie Wong, who said he’d welcome a home visit this week. Joe is coordinating with other Rotarians interested to go.
MEETING OF August 28, 2015
Club President Alan Blavins called the meeting to order at the Richmond Country Club and Don Lau led the pledge of allegiance. Alan asked for a moment of silence for freedom, peace, and justice on earth. Herb Cole, helping Sid out once again with door duty (which will apparently cost Sid at least two Bloody Marys upon his return), provided this thought for the day: “The older I get the more I believe in the hereafter because when I go into another room, I wonder what in the hell I came in here after.”
Visiting Rotarians and Guests
- Bill Moy from Dublin Rotary joined us for lunch along with his guest, Mey Saechao. Both are colleagues at a CPA firm in Oakland.
- Josh Surowitz introduced his guest, Erik Husby, a member of Josh’s law firm.
President Alan Blavins provided Josh Surowitz with the President-elect Rotary pin for his upcoming year as Rotary President, which begins next July 1.
Recognitions and Happy and Sad Dollars
- Erle Brown and his wife Phyllis celebrated their 56th wedding anniversary on Saturday. Erle stated unequivocally that he “married the most wonderful person in the world.” That ought to be worth a few points on the home front! Erle went on to say that he grew up in San Leandro surrounded by lovely Portuguese neighbors but he found the most beautiful one of all when he moved to Richmond and discovered his bride to be.
- Jim Young was recognized for his 13 years with Richmond Rotary. He counts among his best memories the closing night of a successful run of performances of “The Lost Secrets” play at the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts.
- Jim Young also provided happy dollars for the Mark Howe newlyweds, who are honeymooning on a South Asian island hopefully with not too much “smoke getting in their eyes” from wild fires in Sumatra (based on a local report from Jim’s daughter who lives in nearby Singapore).
- George Egan offered some happy dollars for spectacular whale watching recently experienced on Monterey Bay south of Santa Cruz (over 70 whale sightings).
- Josh Genser offered mixed dollars for David Brown. The good news is that David’s ok except for being a bit stiff and sore. The bad news he crashed his newly purchased airplane. The story was on the local TV news and, sure enough, crash-site video shows the nose of the aircraft pointing straight down, firmly embedded in the ground. The incident apparently occurred just after take-off so speed and altitude were helpfully low. Can’t wait to hear more from David! Separately, Josh also announced that he’s planning an encore to his recent Christmas auction-related whiskey tasting. Because of schedule conflicts, only a few people were able to make the tasting so Josh is currently planning another one on November 6, probably at Salute restaurant. Talk with Josh if you’re interested. Lastly, while getting his full money’s worth from the big wad of happy dollars, Josh also informed everyone about why a chicken coop only has two doors. The answer is so obvious – if there were four doors, it would be a chicken sedan.
- Hank Covell mustered up some happy dollars for an upcoming trip to Scottsdale, Arizona to briefly see family and then dog sit for eight days.
- Don Lau had happy dollars for seeing Dan Tanita on TV talking about the new dental clinic opening at Coronado Elementary School. Don was also happy to have just spent ten days in Hawaii with his 98-year old father who turns 99 in November.
- Pam Jones was happy about a recent trip to Montreal, Canada, to see her granddaughter. While there, she and Neville had lunch with Jon Lawlis and Darlene, who are summering nearby on the St. Lawrence River.
- Herb Cole is happy about his granddaughter who is a college junior this year in Hawaii.
- Joe Bagley was happy about a recent visit from a very long-time friend that he’s not seen for many years.
Junior Achievement: Program Overview
Stacey Street introduced Stacey Martin-Bonaduce, who is the Director for Junior Achievement (JA) in West Contra Costa and Oakland.
JA was founded in Massachusetts in 1919 by a group of senior business executives who declared that “the future of our country depends upon making every individual fully realize the obligations and responsibilities belonging to citizenship.” Through echoes of the founders, today’s JA has the purpose of “inspiring and preparing young people to succeed in a global economy.”
JA accomplishes its mission through volunteer-delivered K-12 programs that involve training, materials, and support in school classrooms throughout the world.
Every year, about 4 million students in the United States are reached through JA programs that emphasize business know-how and entrepreneurship, financial literacy, and workforce readiness. There’s even a sister organization called “JA Worldwide”, which touches nearly 10 million students each year in almost 120 countries.
Last year in the local West Contra Costa Unified School District, about 9300 students (almost a third of total enrollment) participated in a JA program. One of the highlights of local JA efforts is the Social Innovation Program sponsored by Chevron. Some high school students select societal issues to be tackled with proposed solutions that require planning, preparation, and presentations to panels of engineer judges.
During Q&A, it came out that some Richmond Rotarians have in the past been involved as volunteers to deliver JA programs. We learned from Stacey that the ABCs of business startup and operation are still taught in some of the lower grade levels through a bakery case study, which includes making “paper donuts”. Yum!
- Tom Waller, Rotating Scribe