Past, Present and Future: Japan-Australia Friendships in Queensland


Past, Present and Future: Japan-Australia Friendships in Queensland


Migratory Birds connect Yatsu Higata and Boondall Wetlands

Narashino and Brisbane City have signed a long term plan for the Affiliation Agreement in relation to the preservation of their respective wetlands (the 40ha Yatsu Higata Tidelands in Narashino and the 1000ha Boondall Wetlands) and the protection of migratory birds. It was based on an already existing partnership agreement that was concluded in 1998.

A signing ceremony was held at the Boondall Wetlands Centre on February 13th, with the Mayor of Narashino City, Mr Taisuke Miyamoto, and Brisbane City’s Lord Mayor Graham Quirk, both signing the memorandum in witness of the Consul-General of Japan, Mr Hidehiro Hosaka. The memorandum was signed to continue the current agreement and to agree on a long-term implementation plan.

The implementation plan, which covers actions for the next three years, comprises of report exchanges every three years and relationship building between the two cities. It also included an information exchange on the protection of the migratory shorebirds and the conservation of both the Yatsu Higata Tidelands and the Boondall Wetlands, support for staff, volunteers, regions and natural environment conservation.





JDS Takanami arrives in Brisbane

The Consul-General of Japan in Brisbane, Mr Hosaka, and the Commanding Officer of the JDS Takanami Mr Kiichiro Sakai invited Australia’s Ambassador-designate to Japan Mr Richard Court AC, Assistant Minister Ms Jennifer Howard MP, Commanding Officer of HMAS Moreton Commander Mark McConnell, Air Force Commander Guy Burton, Lieutenant Colonel Gavin Stanford, Brisbane City Councillor Ryan Murphy and Deputy Police Commissioner Peter Martin for an onboard luncheon on the 28th November, 2016.

JDS Takanami was recently in New Zealand for the NZ International Naval Review and also participated in maritime security training at the ADMM Plus before making port at Brisbane’s Hamilton as part of the return journey.





Toowoomba’s Nihon Matsuri in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the sister city relationship between Toowoomba and Takatsuki, Japan

On 12 November, Consul-General Hosaka officially opened Toowoomba’s Nihon Matsuri in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the sister city relationship between Toowoomba and Takatsuki, Japan. Around 30 citizens of Takatsuki, including Deputy Mayor of Takatsuki Mr Inui, visited Toowoomba and performed Takatsuki Taiko Drums, Shamisen and Noh. The people of Toowoomba displayed Japanese cultural stalls like Bonsai, Ikebana and Origami etc. at the festival.
Around 400 people including the Mayor of Toowoomba Cr Antonio and Deputy Mayor Mr Inui enjoyed the international exchange between Australia and Japan while the children danced and the audience clapped along to the Takatsuki Taiko performance.


Japanese Cutural Day Japanese Cutural Day
Opening Speech by Consul-General Mr Hosaka The Mayor of Toowoomba Cr Antonio(center) and Deputy Mayor of Takatsuki Mr Inui(right)
Japanese Cutural Day Japanese Cutural Day
Takatsuki Taiko and Shamisen performance Audience enjoying the cultural performances
Japanese Cutural Day Japanese Cutural Day
Traditional “Noh” performance Japanese cultural display stalls

Washoku Trial Program held by Japanese Ministry of Agriculture

The Japanese Ministry of Agriculture held the Washoku Trial Program at TAFE Queensland on Thursday, 10 November. Approximately 60 people attended the event, including 50 culinary students.
While explaining basic washoku cooking methods, Melbourne chef Ikuei Arakane gave a cooking demonstration of a traditional Japanese dish consisting of one main dish, two side dishes, rice, and miso soup. Those in attendance at the event were very impressed with chef Arakane’s knife-handling skills, and were treated to a taste of the dish.



On line cultural exchange between Pullenvale State School and Baika Elementary School, Osaka

On 28 October, Consul-General Hosaka visited Pullenvale State School to see an online cultural exchange held by the Year 5 and Year 6 students with fifth year students from Baika Elementary School in Osaka via Skype.

Pullenvale State School students study Japanese language from Prep to Year 6 throughout the academic year. Using Skype, the students participated in an exercise where Baika Elementary students asked their Australian counterparts “I like such-and-such, who am I?” in English for Pullenvale State School students to raise their hands and respond with “Are you so-and-so? (so-and-so-san desu ka?)” in Japanese. In addition, Pullenvale State School students also gave an Australia-related quiz and Baika Elementary students presented a song in return.



プレンベール小学校ではPrep (幼稚園年長に相当)から小6まで全学年で日本語を勉強しています。Skype を使って、梅香小の生徒が英語で「I like ○○, Who am I?」と質問すると、プレンベール小の生徒が手を上げて、「○○さんですか?」と日本語で回答しました。また、プレンベール小はオーストラリアについてのクイズを出したり、梅香小は歌を歌ってくれました。


2016 MLTAQ Speech Competition at Griffith University - Gold Coast Campus

The 2016 MLTAQ Speech Competition was held on Sunday 14th August at Griffith University on the Gold Coast. The MLTAQ Speech Competition is in its 37th year and saw approximately 1000 students across many year levels speaking in languages from French and German to Indonesian and Japanese.

Approximately 550 of this year’s entrants were in the Japanese language category. The Consul-General of Japan, Mr Hosaka, attended the awards ceremony to give an encouraging speech to participants and to help present medals to the winners of the Japanese language category.

Toowoomba Grammar School Intercultural Program

Every year, Toowoomba Grammar School provides both its students and those visiting from Japan with a variety of opportunities to exchange language and culture.

A contingent of students from Mishima High School, located in Takatsuki near Osaka, visit Toowoomba annually. Takatsuki is Toowoomba’s sister city and Toowoomba Grammar offers school day visits as part of their program. This relationship has existed since 2008 and similarly, our students have had day visits to their school during our Japan Trip.

In partnership with the University of Southern Queensland, the School, together with many other schools in the district host Kyoto’s Murasakino High School in April and provide classroom experiences to both these students as well as those from Ritsumeikan University each year.

Every year since 2006, the Toowoomba Languages and Cultures Festival has been held in August and the Year 9 and 10 students learning Japanese participate in this by creating personalised ‘hachimaki’ for the public, improving their writing skills in the process.

A “brother school” partnership also has been established with Keio Shiki Boys High School in Saitama. We have had an unofficial arrangement since 2012 by which each school provides a 5-day exchange and hosting program. As requested by the students themselves, the schools also offer each other the opportunity for 2 of those students to extend their stay to 3 weeks to hone their language skills and experience each other’s countries in greater depth.

One of these students, Junpei Aida, 17, reflected on his experiences. “At first, it was difficult to communicate. Sometimes I could hear what people said but I couldn’t grasp what they meant. But at Toowoomba Grammar, there are also many opportunities to speak and listen to Japanese. I think I have gotten used to English to some extent, but I still need to keep studying hard”. When asked about Toowoomba, he said, “I like it because it is very quiet. I want to live here when I am older”. He said he also enjoyed meat pies, lamingtons, golf and playing basketball at school.


5 years on…The Great Eastern Japan Tohoku Earthquake & Tsunami

Friday 11 March 2011 started out as a typical day in Japan, but life changed forever at 2.46 pm (Japan Standard Time) when a 9.0-magnitude earthquake showed its mighty force off the Pacific coast of Tohoku.

Almost 5 years on we reflect on some of the outstanding generosity that the people and organisations of Australia have shown in what can only be described as the Tohoku regions most devastating and challenging time.

One such great project was the mobile library ‘Koala-Go’ launched on the 31st January 2013.

Initiated by the Australia Japan Society (AJS), Queensland and supported by the Australia Japan Foundation (AJF) Koala-Go travelled around the communities of Iino City and provided those living in temporary housing with library and information services. This wonderful project has provided citizens with a welcoming distraction and a new sense of community for those directly affected by the disaster. A copy of this publication is at the following link.pdf

Today the mobile library continues to be a great success and travels to 22 locations in Iitate-mura, delivering books with the support of volunteers and retired school bus drivers. More than 1500 residents use the library and borrowed 2386 books in the 2014-2015 period.

Partial funding was also provided by Queensland’s Ironside State School who undertook extensive fund-raising activities to help support the Koala-Go project. Ironside State School has a long-term student exchange program with Japan and the students outstanding fundraising efforts have certainly helped contribute to such an important cause.


Proserpine State High School & Asaka-Nishi High School, Saitama- 19 years in the making

Proserpine State High School in the Whitsundays has proudly coordinated their 19th annual inbound sister-school visit with Asaka-Nishi Senior High school this August.

Since 1996 Asaka-Nishi High School students have visited the Whitsunday school on an annual basis, participating in language exchange programs, experiencing Australian home life while staying with host families, visiting local tourist destinations including museums, experienced ocean rafting on Whitsunday’s beautiful beaches and participated in crocodile safari tours. Students interviewed on their trip have expressed how the trip has allowed them to experience what Australia has to offer while enhancing their English language ability and creating an opportunity to make life-long friendships. For some students one trip to Australia was not enough and they have visited Proserpine State High School on the school tour more than once.

Reciprocating Asaka-Nishi’s annual trip to Australia, Proserpine State High School has also organised outbound trips to Japan where students have had the opportunity to experience Japanese life first hand. In January this year, students experienced the Japanese homestay environment with Asaka-Nishi Senior High School students, visited famous touristic sites and participated on ski trips with some students seeing snow for the very first time.

With 2016 marking an incredible 20 year relationship for both Proserpine State High School and Asaka-Nishi High School we hope that all students and staff involved in this relationship celebrate not only their sister-school long standing relationship but also the impact this remarkable relationship and the time and dedication involved in creating it has had on the Australia-Japan relationship on a much wider scale.


Cleveland District State High and Kani Technical High Sister-City Relationship

In September 2013 a group of teachers and students from Cleveland District State High School travelled to Kani City, Japan. This trip marked a significant occasion in the history of Cleveland State High as Principal Mr Paul Bancroft signed a Sister School agreement with the Principal of Kani Technical High School. Students from Kani Technical High School and Cleveland High have been video conferencing with each other for 4 years with the support of Dr Tetsuo Mizuno. Kani City and Redland City have a sister city relationship which is a great support for both schools. Following this, Cleveland District State High School sent 20 students and three teachers for a cultural exchange tour to Japan in November 2014. The majority of this trip was spent in Kani City, visiting the local area, integrating with students at Kani Technical High School, enjoying time with homestay families and meeting Mayor Tomida. The sister school agreement between these two schools was cemented in August 2015 when 10 students and 2 teachers visited Cleveland District State High School for the first time. During their visit, Principal Paul Bancroft and Deputy Principal Mr Wakao laid a plaque in the school’s Japanese garden to commemorate the sister school agreement. The two schools also planted a Japanese Maple in the school ground to signify the growing relationship this two schools will enjoy for many years. Before departing from Brisbane the visiting students and teachers from Kani Technical High School were invited to meet with Deputy Consul-General, Mr Takahiko Watabe, at the Japanese Consulate in Brisbane City. The visiting students and teachers were joined by Cleveland High Students and Principal Mr Paul Bancroft to meet with the Deputy Consul-General. This was a fitting end to a special visit that has paved the way for future cultural visits from both schools.


JENESYS 2.0 Program Scholarship Winners Travel to Japan!
Written by: Madeline Lilly-Howe – Year 10 Cleveland District SHS

During the 2014 September holidays, 3 students from Cleveland High School: Madeline, Matthew and Lucas, participated on a trip to Japan run through the Jenesys 2.0 program. To begin the trip, the 3 of us (anxious but excited) headed to the Brisbane domestic airport bound for Sydney. Here in Sydney, we met the rest of the group we were travelling with. There were students in this group from all over Australia, ranging from grades 9 to 12, but we all shared a collective excitement for our upcoming trip. After a 9 hour flight and many debates concerning which state is better (clearly Queensland), we arrived in Japan. As we flew in, we were greeted by a magnificent view of the sun beginning to set behind Mount Fuji. For the first few days, we explored Tokyo and were immersed in Japan’s vast history and culture. We visited the Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa, which is renowned for being the oldest and most impressive Buddhist temple in Tokyo, and it definitely didn’t fail to impress. Visits to the Imperial Palace and Tokyo Tower were also highlights of the city. I was fascinated by how many bikes there were in Tokyo (it seemed uncommon to drive a car), the amount of vending machines on every corner and that the city was literally litter less (there was no rubbish!). After exploring Tokyo for a few days, we travelled by bullet train all the way to the rural Toyama Prefecture. It was quite clear to distinguish between the city and country, moving from many tall apartment blocks to a mountainous landscape and rice fields. When we arrived in Toyama, we were treated to an experience of making masuno sushi and experiencing school life at Toyama University of International Studies High School. Not only did we interact with Japanese school students, but we also experienced a session of traditional flower arranging and tea ceremony. After this, we were all placed with host families and stayed for 2 nights in their homes. This was a very popular part of the entire trip, as we were directly involved in the everyday culture of a Japanese family. After an amazing weekend spent with our host families exploring the wonderful prefecture of Toyama, we sadly had to say farewell our new best friends. After another day in Toyama tasting some unusual ice cream flavours (I had green tea flavour which was delicious, but there was even a sweet potato flavoured ice cream!) and a typhoon hitting, we headed back to the grand city of Tokyo. We fitted in a few last minute shopping trips to the upmarket Ginza and very popular Harajuku, before it was time to pack our bags and head home. The food was certainly one of the main clear differences between Japan and Australia. Using chopsticks to eat rice and even fish for every meal (including breakfast) was interesting, but won me over after a couple days. It was wonderful to continuously try new foods with delicious layered flavours. Some of my favourite dishes were sashimi (yes, raw fish), tempura prawns, pocky (snack), udon noodles, okonomiyaki…it’s so hard to choose just a few, because everything we tried was so tasty and part of the great experience! The time had raced by way too fast and our trip had sadly come to an end. So with very heavy hearts we all said goodbye to Japan, and promised that we would visit again soon. After 10 days away from home and a few flight delays, the three of us were back in the Brisbane airport excited to share our wonderful experience with everyone. This was such a fantastic opportunity to be immersed in the Japanese culture and language. Japan is definitely a recommended travel destination for everyone! It’s really just an amazing place to visit. One thing’s for sure, the three of us are all very eager to go back to Japan!



22 students and 3 students from Years 10-12 have just returned from the school’s biennial tour of Japan. The tour included Tokyo, Saitama, Hiroshima, Miyajima Island, Osaka and Kyoto. One of the many highlights for the students was visiting our sister school, Wako International High School in Saitama. We spent the day there and were lucky enough to see the spectacle that is a Japanese sports carnival. Students in Japan spend countless hours preparing for their sports carnival, which includes amazing team banners, team dance competitions, cheering competitions and highly competitive relays and races. After the sports carnival, our students spent two nights with a homestay family. While in Tokyo, students were also fortunate enough to see a sumo tournament and visit Tokyo Disney Sea. The next stop was Hiroshima and a visit to the Peace Memorial Park. The park commemorates the lives lost when the world’s first atomic bomb to be used in combat was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. As a gesture of peace, our students laid almost over 900 origami cranes they had made before the trip. The Japan tour concluded with three days in Kyoto. Kyoto is the ancient capital of Japan and has some really fascinating sites. We visited the Golden Temple, Nijo Castle (Tokugawa Ieyasu’s Kyoto residence), Sanjuusangendo (a temple containing 1000 carved buddahs) and Heian Jingu (a shrine where the closing scenes of Memoirs of a Geisha was filmed). Other highlights included a visit to the beautiful Miyajima Island, karaoke, shopping, eating delicious food and a trip to Universal Studios in Osaka. All students are to be congratulated on their conduct and attitude throughout the tour. They were excellent ambassadors for Yeppoon SHS and for Queensland.

JETAA Hanami in New Farm Park

A wonderful day was had by all JET alumni, their friends and families at the annual Hanami in New Farm Park under the Jacaranda trees on October 26th. Thank you to all who attended and brought guests along to enjoy a picnic lunch and conversation beneath the purple blooms. It was great to see some aspiring future JET participants from Griffith University come along to meet us and learn about JET life in Japan. A big thank you to the JETAA president Richard Wilding for not only organising the event but also bringing a bit of nostalgia to the day by testing our Japan-related trivia knowledge with a few rounds of the “maru batsu” game! This year’s Hanami event incorporated a book swap for the very first time and proved to be a great success and will surely become a new tradition in coming years.


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