|Good evening, Ladies and Gentlemen. My name is
Hiroshi Takada. I am from Atsugi City, Kanagawa, Japan. Atsugi
is located 60km south from Tokyo. It is a great honor to be here
tonight. Last October, I happened to discover the 2006 Australia-Japan
Year of Exchange on internet. I thought I would like to plan
something. Then I thought of a Koto group, which is based in
Atsugi, and suggested to their leader they should perform the
Koto in Australia. Her response was positive. As the result,
performance in Australia was our dream came true as you saw tonight.
||Tonight, I am pleased to have an opportunity
to present a ceramic incense container to your Mayor Frank Pangallo.
There is a reason I have brought it. It was produced by Mrs Mutsuko
Miki. Her husband the late Takeo Miki was Japanese Prime Minister
in 1976. So the 1976 Basic Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation
between Australia and Japan was signed by Prime Minister Takeo
Miki.I hesitate to mention lady`s age. However, Mrs Mutsuko Miki
who lives in Tokyo is now 89 years old. She has started to produce
ceramic pottery after she turned to be 60 years old.I have known
Mrs Mutsuko Miki for more than ten years. I used to be an Atsugi
city councilor for eight years. Since 1995 when I challenged
city council election for the first time, she has been one of
my supporters. In Japan, one term of city councilor is four years
Because I did not succeed in my third election in 2003, I
am not an Atsugi city councilor now.
The next election will be held by the middle of next July. So
in July 2007, I hope you remember my name Hiroshi Takada.
I let you know the reason why the 2006 Australia-Japan Year
of Exchange was a stimulus to me. When I was a university student,
I have traveled around Australia clockwise on a motorcycle back
in 1985 to 1986 for six months. It was a 31,500km trip in total.
So I have been Queanbeyan on the way between Canberra and Batesmans
Bay. During that six months, I met quite a few nice people here
in your country. I stayed with seventeen families during those
days. Some of them from Canberra are here in the audience tonight.
Actually, the lady from Canberra had her first baby when I
stayed with her. The baby boy was only less than six months old,
I think. Since I now have two kids of my own, I understand much
more than before how hard she was when I stayed with them. Also
one of my host families came from Sydney tonight. I would like
to express my appreciation to them. Thank you very much.
I also would like to say thank you to Claire Marlow , Cultural
Development Officer, Queanbeyan City, and Mrs Moko Eade who has
been such a great facilitator for our visit to Canberra and Queanbeyan.
The ex-Number two in the Australian Embassy in Tokyo, Trevor
Wilson. You are such a nice organizer. You are the reason this
concert tonight come true.
I also appreciate many other people who made efforts for this
Finally, I hope this concert tonight is a stimulating for
you and will strengthen the friendship between our two countries.