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The Donnington Grove Japan Society celebrates ten years
25 November 2003

The Donnington Grove Japan Society celebrated its tenth anniversary on Saturday, November 8. The event also provided the occasion for His Excellency Masaki Orita to present the Ambassador's Commendation to Lady Knill, in recognition of the leading role she has played in organising the Society's extensive activities.

After a recital of Koto music by Hiroko Sue, 60 members and guests sat down to a sumptuous Japanese meal, prepared by the Parasampia Country Club's resident Japanese chef. The tables were decorated in red and white and adorned with sweet-filled origami boxes, specially designed by the Society's Artist-in-Residence Miwa Takabayashi. After dinner, Ambassador Orita presented the Commendation to Lady Knill and paid tribute to her tireless efforts as the Society's Secretary and, in addition, to the many events she had organised during Japan 2001. Later on, the participants were introduced to Okinawan music performed by a group led by Dr. Hughs of SOAS.

Established in 1993, Donnington Grove Japan Society is based at Parasampia Country Club near Newbury. The Society offers British and Japanese members an insight into each other's cultures through the enjoyment of history, music, dance, theatre and visual arts. For further details, contact Lady Knill at: Parasampia, Newbury, Berks RG14 2LA, tel: 01635 40542, fax: 01635 36826.

Speech made by Ambassador Orita on the occasion of the Bestowal of the Ambassador's Commendation on Lady Knill at the Donnington Grove Society in Newbury, Berkshire

Professor Nish, Lady Knill, Mrs. Lee, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am very pleased to be here with all of you tonight at this auspicious occasion celebrating 10th anniversary of the Donnington Grove Japan Society. First of all, I'd like to thank Ms. Hiroko Sue for wonderful performance of Koto. You must have enjoyed beautiful music. Koto is an important part of Japanese culture. Listening to Koto music tonight, evening showers come beautifully and romantically in London and wind blows passionately and strongly in Spain. I applaud Ms. Hiroko Sue.

This is my third visit to Newbury. First I was invited to see horse races. My wife made a little bit of profits, but I made a little bit of contribution to local economy. Perhaps you may not have noticed it. Second time, I visited the headquarters of Vodafone. It is your huge local company which operates world-over. Now Vodafone operate a good part of mobile-phone network in Japan, using Japanese technology. In Japan, you can not only talk with your friends over mobiles but also send pictures to your friends immediately.

Today I am really happy to take advantage of this auspicious occasion to give what we call "Ambassador's Commendation" to Lady Knill tonight for her leading role in organising the extensive activities of the Society.

The Donnington Grove Japan Society was established 10 years ago and has contributed greatly to fostering friendship and promoting better understanding between peoples of Japan and the UK. This society has developed under the very able leadership of Professor Nish, Mr. Bodin and Mrs. Lee. But tonight I want to focus on Lady Knill. As the Secretary of the Society, she has made tremendous, tireless efforts to the activities of the Society. Especially I want to mention Japan 2001. She organized so many events such as concerts, Matsuri, lectures. Without her efforts, these events wound not have succeeded. May I pay my great respect to Lady Knill and applaud her great contribution?

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