An International Rotary Friendship (as at 2013)
A chance meeting at a Kimono show in Adelaide has led to a 19 year friendship between the Rotary Club of Usa, Japan and the Rotary Club of Morialta, which has seen the clubs participate in bi-annual exchange visits.
30 May 2014 a delegation of Usa Rotarians will visit Adelaide before heading to the International Convention in Sydney, for a signing celebration reaffirming the Friendship Agreement signed November 1995, with both clubs looking forward to further reciprocal visits.
2009 The Rotary Club of Morialta had a visit from the Rotary Club of Usa, from Oita Prefecture in Japan to help celebrate the Club’s 25th Anniversary. It was a short but eventful visit with members joining for a tour of the Adelaide Hills before the special anniversary dinner.
Over the past 14 years there have been 9 visits by club delegations and the friendship between the two clubs has flourished. The friendship between these two Rotary clubs started through a chance meeting.
Usa Rotarian, Mr Okamoto, was visiting Adelaide for a special Kimono Show, and asked about Rotary makeup opportunities. Morialta Rotarian, Emiko Mayer happened to be an interpreter for this event, and was able to take him to the Thebarton Rotary Club, as Morialta’s meeting time did not fit his tight schedule.
They exchanged letters after this and Emiko discovered that Usa had a very rich history. Emiko and her husband Peter, decided to visit Usa in May 1994 and arranged to attend the Usa Rotary meeting. On arrival at the meeting Emiko discovered that she was the guest speaker. They soon realised that Usa had a wonderful community spirit and that the club had a lot in common with Morialta.
Coincidentally, the following month, President Ken Robson attended the Rotary World Conference in Taiwan and was very impressed with the strong contingent from Japan. He asked Emiko to find a suitable Japanese club as a Sister Club to foster international friendship and understanding.
The Usa Club already had a Sister Club in Korea but was interested in the idea of a Friendship Club relationship. Much correspondence followed (this was before email or Skype) and finally the first Usa Delegation visited Adelaide to sign a friendship agreement with Morialta on the 15th November 1995.
Since then they have had bi-annual visits, alternating Morialta visits to Usa and vice versa. They have shared some wonderful events including Usa’s 30th and 40th anniversaries. They have formed some lasting friendships both as a group and as individuals; sharing happiness as well as sadness from time to time.
Those members of Morialta that have visited Usa gained a totally new perspective about Japan, one which they could never have experienced through reading, films or even business trips to the main cities.
Sharing our common interest in Rotary with such warm hearted people and seeing the rich and diverse countryside around Usa, with its beautifully preserved historic shrines and temples is something that has to be experienced to be understood.
They have also shared some wonderful lighthearted moments, cruising on the Murray River for a long lunch, or partying at Mr Kaneda’s famous BBQ restaurant in Usa. Members of both clubs have learned that they share the same sense of fun and that surely must contribute to international understanding.
Morialta really enjoyed hosting friendship exchange students Chihiro Iwai and Yui Fujibayashi. It is great to follow their progress and obvious success; their parents have every reason to proud of them.
Morialta also greatly appreciate the generous support that Usa Rotary Club has given over the years to their Safe Motherhood program in East Timor, IMOG.